Students of the future might attend their classes in virtual reality


Virtual reality has the potential to revolutionize a number of fields and industries, not the least of which is education, and part of Matt Cook’s job is exploring how this revolution can be brought about. In a recent interview with Inverse, Cook went into detail about how he and his colleagues at the University of Oklahoma are using virtual reality as an educational tool, and how he envisions the technology being used in the future. According to him, what makes virtual reality such an amazing tool for education is that it allows people to communicate and interact no matter where they are, which means a teacher can hold a class in virtual reality that’s being attended by students from all across the country

Matt Cook is a philosopher-turned-emerging technologies librarian at the University of Oklahoma. His job entails bringing libraries and education into the future, dreaming up ways to meld the past with the future. He’s already developed a walking meditation tool, in use across the country, that lowers the stress levels of students as they study. He also pioneered a navigational app that can guide a new, intimidated student from their dorm room to a study room, or to a particular shelf in the library — and more — all while keeping them within the bounds of comfort (in the form of their smartphone). As a “side project,” he’s developing a secluded 10-acre plot of mesa in New Mexico with friends. Per Mr. Cook: “It’s raw, it’s rugged, it’s beautiful. Last time, there were rattlesnakes and we got flash-flooded on the property. It’s pretty dangerous, but it’s awesome. Gorgeous. If I may pontificate: I do this stuff that sounds cool, it’s fun to talk about. But it’s all constrained to the screen and the keyboard and the mouse. Your home life, especially in the winter, you’re surrounded by four walls, and you drive to work, theoretically, in a car, you know, a box — it’s like, there is no point in your day when your horizon is bigger than your fucking computer screen.”

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