Isolation. Unreal. anti-social. Introverted. All words that you may have heard about virtual reality. The negative stigma of digital technology, especially immersion technology, can be hard to overcome. The introduction of how to emotionally and socially interact with technology didn’t really come with an instruction manual. Bad habits became mythology, such as screen time and violent gaming. But is there a way back for immersion technology to provide solutions to life’s problems instead of contributing to them?
The answer is absolutely. Virtual reality is a new way to collaborate with others despite geographic barriers---whether for education, or personal connection. Watching movies with a loved one deployed around the world, pairing two classrooms on opposites side of the country to tackle solutions to world problems, or attending virtual conferences with perspectives from all continents represented should be enough to put out the isolation myth. Though in an unreal environment relationship building, strong connections and real world impacts start inside of us. Virtual reality has become a facilitator of the impossible that ripples into the tangible.
In February of this year The New Yorker released an article entitled “Limiting Your Child’s Fire Time: A Guide for Concerned Paleolithic Parents.” Limiting fire time, having a set room in the cave where fire time occurs, and committing to non-fire family time, are all tongue-in-cheek criticisms that parallel the modern screen time debate, and being a newfangled technology, virtual reality also falls under this scrutiny.
However, virtual technologies are becoming more sophisticated everyday. The rules are changing. And the new rules are being forged by those willing to trailblaze through the fire and highlight the benefits, regardless of misplaced blanket statements of technology use without understanding the impact on each individual. Companies and educational entities are starting to realize the impact cutting edge technology can have not only on education, but society as a whole. Conferences such as ISTE are bringing together some of these trailblazers, from business and education.
In this episode we will provide guidance to be a trailblazer yourself by focusing on ISTE VR prometheans: educators, vendors, and companies that are coming together in one place to share ideas on immersion technology. Whether it is sessions, playgrounds, or social networking, we hope you find a recommendation to fan your immersive sparks into flames.