The School of the future

This video on Twitter had quite an immediate visceral reaction, from its viewers. Perhaps with you as well. The responses on Twitter were very binary:

“No, just no”

“I haven’t seen a class of kids so engaged in my teaching life”

And there were a few left field responses:

“Why are the desks set up that way. (ed – It does seem incongruous having an old “chalk and talk” layout with the new disruptive tech)”

“Do they need to be at school, could they be doing this at home?”

Of course, the social web lacks nuance. This was most likely a one-off research study and not some state enforced Ludovico technique.

My experience with working with Virtual Reality in Education (and to a lesser extent 360 video) has been mainly positive. Here are my more rational pros and cons:


  • Provides a close-ish proxy to an experience that may be cost prohibitive (class trip to Machu Pichuu) or impossible (the Moon, The Pink and White Terraces).
  • Novelty value (I hate the use of new tech for this, but some people value it)
  • Has had success in giving people empathy. Some are even calling them empathy machines.
  • It can be very immersive. In traditional games, you would say “Last night I played a space game” after VR you say “Last night I flew in a spaceship”. Very different and helps create more concrete memories.
  • It’s a wild west right now, with so much creative experimentation.


  • It’s expensive, especially for a whole class.
  • It takes a long time to design and build an interactive experience. Though 360 video is very quick to make.
  • The earlier and the cheaper devices used to cause nausea.
  • Cables. So many cables.

Here is a nice video of VR and its use by those without any experience of VR.

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