Boston College professor Aaron E. Walsh has a vision of making state-of-the-art education freely available to anyone with a computer and Internet connectivity through a combination of interactive virtual reality technology, digital media, and collaborative online course environments. That vision helped nurture Walsh's brainchild, the nonprofit Media Grid — a public infrastructure for three-dimensional and virtual reality content.
Walsh says immersive education could ease the absorption of complex information, because it is more engaging. "We will develop a comprehensive and complete form of study so someone with access to a computer could take rich, compelling courses and learn at the same level as someone going to a university," he says. "With simulations and virtual environments, we'll have such a large body of information that it will be up to the individual to decide what they want to learn."
Walsh notes that the immersive education content in the Media Grid is generated by members, which could be teachers, students, administrators, or anyone else tied to education. "They can get access to the technology for free, they can access community groups, and they have the ability to get going right away," he says.
Walsh admits that immersive education will not raise test skills. "Right now, it's an engagement tool," he says. "You need to engage [students] before they can start to learn."
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