June 24, 2019

It's Ironic 3

Educational VR: The Irony of it All

The stout and trendy presence of virtual reality these days leaves me with a hefty sense of irony. (Please look at the last two week's post for an introduction to this series.) I am struck by the incongruity of the past and the future colliding in an uncomfortable way. I am describing something we’ve seen before—when we were pushing for 3D visualization tools in the classroom from 2010 through 2015. Virtual reality is all the rage today, but in the past, things didn’t look quite so bright. Though the technologies are really quite similar, something has changed. Here's my third effort at ironic sentiment: 

Complaint: 3D makes some of my students sick.

Educator response to 3D (5 years ago): “How do you expect me to use a tool that makes students ill?” “How do we explain this to parents?” “My teachers are getting sick, too.” “We just can’t do this, sorry.”

Educator response to VR (today ), although VR makes even stronger visual demands on the student: “I don’t care, this is so transformational, i.e. really sexy!” “No, none of my children appear to be sick [even though I haven’t really asked them].” “Where can I buy this for my school and classroom?”

Ain't it ironic???

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