Over the past 1-2 years a lot of us have forced to adapt. I’ve been working from home since March, 2020 and likely won’t be going back to an office environment until January, 2022 (if ever). Students around the world were forced to abandon their classrooms and begin a virtual experience. My Oregon State University journey has always been online – so no changes there. The pandemic has proved that these things are possible without a physical location. Beyond the pandemic, why don’t we expand on this?
If you’ve read Ready Player One by Ernest Cline or seen the movie they basically take virtual reality to a whole new level. People all around the world live most of their lives in a virtual world called the Oasis. The book and movie has a bit of dystopian feel to it, but one thing I picked up on immediately is the huge improvement on education. Imagine a child born to a family constantly being evicted and on the move sitting in the same classroom with access to the same resources as Bill Gates’ child or even someone in New Delhi, India. Imagine there was a learning environment accessible to all that was budgeted the same no matter what the property tax base the students were born into. A robust, well-budgeted, interesting, evolving virtual environment could solve so many problems that face children around the world.
There are of course other issues to consider such as parents who work or families who don’t have access to even basic technology or internet connection. As time goes on and innovation drives competition hopefully we continue to make essential technology cheaper and cheaper (note: I’m well aware of the seemingly ever increasing prices of things like smart phones and computer parts). This is all a very idealistic view, but I think it could be a step in the right direction to giving students a chance to make the most of themselves.