Today’s educational thought leaders gathered for a recent panel, Evolution of Education: What Does the Future Hold?, in Virbela’s Open Campus to discuss how technology and teaching can create stronger educational institutions to serve all learners.
Here are a few takeaways from the discussion. You can watch the full video here, too.
Education holds a special place at Virbela. One of Virbela’s founders, Alex Howland, PhD, originated the idea for Virbela while working on his degree in organizational psychology (that’s what his PhD is all about).
- Cindy Hanson - Director, Strategic Innovation at UC San Diego
- Marineh Lalikian - Director, Stanford LEAD Online Business Program
- Dr. Sonny Magana - CEO, Author at Magana Education
- Sarah Segrest - Director of Strategy & Innovation, Douglas Stewart
There are so many ways that a virtual world can ease issues around scaling. For instance, classroom crowding is a common problem at today's schools. In a virtual world, campuses are fast and easy to scale, plus the interior of classrooms and offices are configurable to allow seating and presentation-board customization.
Onboarding is just as simple. This is largely because virtual worlds require a Wifi connection—and that’s it. In an era where most students have at least some experience gaming or interacting as first-person avatars, joining a campus is natural for most students. For educational staff who may be new to virtual worlds, a session or two is usually all it takes to feel at home.
One stand-out issue for the panel: How can schools challenge teachers to bring creative lessons to the forefront? It’s no longer enough to simply recite a lesson and hope everyone gets it in time for a test.
Education is valuable for multiple reasons, but one of its primary purposes is to prepare students for careers. That means using the technological tools and environmental opportunities available today to enhance learning.
Dr. Magana spoke of his own experiences as one of the first virtual school founders in the world. His take on the matter is that it is—and should be—a continuing challenge. As the world changes, so must educational institutions.
Each panelist was pretty clear on one point: teaching online can be really hard. If it’s not a sea of video screens (and the resulting eye and brain fatigue), it’s the weird lack of engagement. Is anyone listening?
One technique that’s becoming outdated is the idea of tell and practice. This method involves a teacher explaining something and telling students to memorize it. The diligent students do--at least until exam time.
But is it really serving anyone’s higher interests to just memorize? In an interactive environment, discussion becomes a key value proposition. The multilateral interactivity of a virtual world is perfect for driving conversations that go deeper, test theories, play with intellectual scope, and more.
Getting everyone in on these discussions matters, too. Lalikian describes a vision of a world where virtual education allows for diversity, inclusivity, and broad equality measures across all facets of learning—a dream she believes could extend to society as a whole when it happens regularly enough in classrooms.
The panelists also discussed their moral and political obligations to deliver as much accessibility as they could to their current or prospective students. Virtual worlds help to shape that vision with their rich environments and simplicity of use.
Watch the full discussion now: Evolution of Education: What Does the Future Hold?
Or get started designing your virtual campus now: firstname.lastname@example.org