XR for Crossover Podcast – Julie and Alan Smithson Chat About Education and Immersive Learning

After a short hiatus, Julie is back with a special episode, where she interviews (is interviewed by?) her partner in business and life, Alan Smithon, who you may know from our sister podcast, XR for Business.

Julie: Hi, my name is Julie Smithson.

Alan: And I’m Alan Smithson.

Julie: And this is the XR for Learning podcast.

Alan: Well… which podcast are we on? Is it mine or yours?

Julie: I think it’s mine.

Alan: Yours, so the XR for Learning podcast.

Julie: Yeah.

Alan: I’m going to interview you.

Julie: Yes.

Alan: OK, cool.

Julie: Hi, my name is Julie Smithson, and I am your XR for Learning podcast host. In all of my episodes, I talk about the way that we need to change the way that we learn and we teach, to adapt to the immersive technologies that are being implemented in enterprise and business today. So today, my guest — my special guest — is Alan Smithson.

Alan: Hello.

Julie: My partner and husband of almost 20 years. And we’re going to talk about education. So welcome. Thanks for being on *my* podcast.

Alan: Thank you so much for having me. I’m a little nervous, I’m not going to lie. This is an interesting podcast dynamic.

Julie: It really is. We’ve never done this before.

Alan: No, we have not. So I want to ask you questions, because you are the guru in immersive learning systems. So we’ll hopefully kind of dig up where this lies, and what we have to do as a society to really push the needle forward.

Julie: So what I like to do with all my podcasts is start with a baseline technology. Where are we today? Like, what’s going on today? Which is really good question, because it’s definitely different than it was six months ago.

Alan: I would say, in the industry– I’m coming from the business side of things. What we’ve seen is there’s been a hyper-acceleration of digitization. So in retail and e-com, it has been decimated. People couldn’t go to a store physically, and so everything moved online. And in e-commerce, we’re seeing shopping trends that would have existed in 2030 happen today. This is trickling down to everything, not only retail, but then also meetings. Everybody’s meeting on Zoom these days. Everybody. There’s just– we’re moving to digital and we’re moving to these things much faster than we had ever, ever hoped to do. Plans of digital transformation that would have taken five years are now happening today. So it’s an interesting time to revisit and relook at what does education look like in an exponential world of digital transformation.

Julie: And this is where the skillsets that are now needed — in enterprise, business, and organizations today to digitally transform — those skillsets are not being taught in the school system today. So COVID coming in and forcing people to virtually connect online, the education systems were forced to actually be online and rethink how they’re teaching things. But the unfortunate thing is, is that we didn’t get to the point of talking about what we were actually teaching. It was just more of a digital connection for the past six months.

Alan: Well, I think since this thing has hit, it’s been really just how do we make the technology work in a seamless way that is comfortable for both the teachers and the students? And to be honest, we’re not quite there yet. My kids are more tech savvy than–

Julie: Our kids.

Alan: Our kids. I’m sorry, oh my goodness! Wow, what a crazy dynamic! Our children! Obviously, we’re in a tech forward household, but our children are way more tech savvy than their teachers. And it almost feels like the teachers are not getting the resources they need to bring digital into the class, even though we have no choice right now. And in the fall, one of our daughters is going back to school full time and the other is going in some sort of part time rotation thing. That’s for now. That could change next week. The uncertainty, I think, is one of the biggest problems with everybody right now. So how can teachers right now leverage the tools that exist now? The Zooms, the VirBELAs, the ENGAGEs. How can they use these platforms on the devices that everybody has already, to just give a better experience right now with what we have in our hands right now?

Julie: Well, it’s a tricky situation, because you have different systems. And I don’t like to just think in Canadian terms, because you and I deal with very different things that are happening in the United States, that are dealing with Europe, that are countries like Uganda, all over the world. This is the first time that the world is faced with the same problem at the same time, in the same situation with COVID. And it has made everybody sit back and go, “Whoa, how do we now deal with education?” But what are we really teaching about education? And the point about teachers, they’re the actual key to everything right now, they hold that base knowledge that we need to transfer to students. The unfortunate thing right now is the content that they’re teaching is–

Alan: Here’s the interesting thing. There’s nothing wrong with the content. It really comes down to can we use this, instead of looking at it as a bad thing — where nobody can go back to school and everything’s digital — instead of looking that as a bad thing, can we leverage this unique opportunity to then say, “OK, this teacher is really, really the best teacher in math,” so instead of him teaching only 30 students here, he can have a reach or she can have a reach to thousands of students coming in and learning from the best. And how can we leverage these tools to give them more of a personalized learning experience to every student? Not every student wants to memorize everything, and not every student learns at the same speed. Our current system before COVID pushed everybody through at the exact same speed in every course. But it left some behind, when you graduate from grade 10 to grade 11, really you can’t read, but you got pushed through anyway. It didn’t really give the students that needed more time in certain things and less time in others to– it’s not flexible for the students. So maybe being digital, we can create this kind of flexible, personalized learning. What do you think?

Julie: Yeah, this is where the hybrid system comes in. And I should retract what I just recently said, because I said the content that they’re teaching right now is not for the future. And it’s really important that we understand and still learn about our history, where we came from, and how we’re digitizing moving forward. And this is where that hybrid system will come into play, to help us move forward and implement digitization into the lessons that we have. Our teachers [are] being pushed into managing multiple different courses with multiple different kids. How overwhelming is that, to manage 30 different personalities with a whole bunch of different subjects? We would never ask a store manager to do that same thing.

Alan: You wouldn’t ask any employee. “Here, you’re going to do five jobs.” I guess a startup would.

Julie: [laughs] “Welcome to entrepreneurship.” And you know what, that’s fine. But we’re talking about education right now. We’re talking about trying to give each student an individualized lesson plan, personalized to them. And that’s the way the system now needs to change, because every student needs to register online to access the portal — shall you call it — to connect with the education system, to connect with their teacher.

Alan: So do you see this as something that would be built from a school board level, or a local level? Is this a national level?

Julie: It’s going to have to be embedded into every level, I think. It always starts at home, it always starts in the local communities. But the voices of change need to come from the top. Governments need to support the change and understand that. I think there’s a lot of countries with unions, and I think unions really need to learn about how things are going to transition if they’re going to represent the teachers well, because there’s so much change for teachers there. Even I’m overwhelmed thinking about what they’re facing and the challenges of– even the personalities of the students, right down to the core of how they’re executing their documents, when the students aren’t even in front of them.

Alan: With our own daughter, one of the teachers was teaching using an antiquated version of Word, and the kids had to submit in this antiquated version of Word. And this was a 10 year old version of a software that nobody has access to anymore. And that one little thing–

Julie: She was so frustrated.

Alan: Everybody was frustrated, because the kids are like, “Well, we’re on Google Docs over here for everything else, and you’re using this thing.” So I think it’s– does it require more training of teachers in technical skills?

Julie: Absolutely, absolutely. They need to learn how to operate the system that they’re given, first of all. That’s on them. They’re going to have to, because the education systems, until they see or know or understand a better way of doing things, they’re going to force what’s in front of them. So they need to learn to digitally connect. They need to learn to constantly change themselves and understand that they’re going to have to–

Alan: It’s interesting you say that. And I really think this is an interesting point. If you look at pretty much everybody in the workforce right now, they’re constantly and consistently going for new trainings and learning, upgrading their skills, because as technology changes every other industry rapidly, people just have to learn. They’re going on Udacity, or Udemy, or LinkedIn learning and just finding and consuming this learning and getting these little certificates. But students in schools and even the teachers, they have ongoing learnings where they go to courses and stuff, and so there’s that. But it’s not encouraged in students to be finding what they’re passionate about, and going and learning it. Because it’s not even shown that they can learn anything they want.

Julie: No, it’s a very directive way.

Alan: It’s like “Here, you’re not going to learn this and only this, and we’re not going to tell you that–

Julie: So structured.

Alan: –a whole world of knowledge exists beyond just a few click strokes and going on Udemy and a free course,” and now you’re learning about AI, or you’re learning about robotics, or you’re learning about macramé. It doesn’t matter. But you’re learning, you’re learning about training dogs, whatever you’re passionate about. I think the school system needs to foster–

Julie: Creativity.

Alan: –creativity, but also innovation. And then how do you encourage people to try the myriad of things, and then really dive into the ones that encourage them for that? How do you do that?

Julie: So there obviously needs to be structure. Systems don’t work without systems. And this is where–

Alan: I’m going to take that quote. “Systems don’t work without systems.” It’s so true.

Julie: [laughs] They really don’t. And education teaches that structure system. It provides that daily: you have to be here at this time, and recess is at this time, lunch is at this time. Which we do that at home, but essentially kids spend more time at school with that type of structure, to teach them how to report in, how to handle things, and how to work in groups, and do all of those things. And they’ve done very well. But now how do we structure in a new way, to innovate and stir curiosity?

Alan: How do we leverage the massive amount of learning tools online for kids in a school system? That should be– maybe it’s just as simple as replacing one of the courses with one you just have to learn– you have to take a course on this, and it has to be a minimum of this. Anything you want, like the ultimate elective. How can we add functionality to the existing system, the education system globally, not just in Canada or US or Europe, but just globally, adding two very simple things: gratitude, mindfulness and deep breathing exercises, and then also financial planning and investing, and these kind of– those two things there aren’t taught really at any school level. And if we had them as a kind of a regular habitual thing right after the national anthem, you take three deep breaths. Here, let’s do that right now. Let’s do two breaths.

Julie: Yeah, okay. We’ll do that. Okay. And not just for the morning, just any time you feel stressed. And you know who also encourages this, is Caitlin Krause from MindWise. She’s great at creating that presence. And if everybody kind of takes that three breaths to heart, whenever you’re stressed, whenever you don’t know what to do, whenever you are just not sure of anything, or things are overwhelming.

Alan: Yeah, it’s really a physiologically and mentally stimulating exercise, that puts you in the right mindset. By hyper-oxygenating your blood, you can think clearly, obviously. It seems like an obvious thing, but we don’t teach it. And I think if we can build this into the morning ritual of every school. This was one thing that will give kids a tool to deal with the stresses as we enter into exponential growth in digital transformation.

Julie: Email a lot of them.

Alan: In six seconds. [inhales] Hold. Let it out really slow [exhales] really slow. Now, take a deep breath and hold it is deep as you can. [inhales] And out, really slow. [exhales] All the way out, push it out. And one deep, deep breath. [inhales] Hold it. And let it slow. [exhales] Now, just take a second to feel the clarity.

Julie: Yeah, feels good. Your body just automatically feels like there’s more air. And you can breath better.

Alan: And you’re kind of forced to sit up. You can’t take any breath slouched over, so it forces you to sit up. So anyway, that’s one thing. And then the second thing that I think we can build right into, that’s, what, 30 seconds of a school day. And the other one would be a simple gratitude journal. So write three things you’re grateful for, put your book away. And those two things will set every kid’s day up right. Beyond that, there’s things like yoga–

Julie: You can get into that.

Alan: You can get all into that. But I think those two things could be added to every school system with the stroke of a pen. “There, we’ve just now improved our school system.” Second thing is once a week we get together as a class and we look at our finances. Here’s where I am, here’s where you are. Oh, I spent money here and balancing your financial world.

Julie: Which has never been taught. And I think it’s a huge key to that piece within you to go about your daily lives unstressed about not being able to pay for things, and as a huge part of our life is paying for things.

Alan: Well, it’s uncertainty. In no level of school do we make it a habit to look at these things. If you’re just going to have it every Friday at 3 PM, I look at my finances and go, “OK, cool, this is where I am. This is my my assets. Oh, look, my investment over here and a little bit better.”

Julie: And even little kids.

Alan: We could even create some real money for each child. Start with a $100 investment fund in grade one, and they’re not allowed to touch it until they’re in grade eight, and every kid gets to pick their own stocks.

Julie: This is where banking institutions need to play up. So in social responsibility for their own economic.

Alan: And as long as they do it when we are basically you’re graded on it. And if as long as you check in once a week and check all your balances and it’s done on your phone, any device. Or most kids have a phone or access to some sort of computer, and you could do it. Banks could then start to have a relationship with children earlier, but in a much more healthy relationships around saving, investing, learning where the money comes from. Personal financial management is essential. So those two things right there, combined with adding all these digital aspects of personalized learning, how do you think we can implement that at a global level?

Julie: Yeah, so this is where– before we did all those great things, this is where I want to talk about gaming. How many kids around the world have joined Fortnite working in teams? Our daughter’s been working with our niece, two hours away in their teams–

Alan: It’s funny, because Epic Games has gone from this game engine to this global phenomenon with millions of kids playing this. And Tomorrowland just partnered with Epic Game’ Unreal Engine, and did the Tomorrowland concert.

Julie: Yeah.

Alan: Like last week. And they had something like 150 percent more attendees than the physical one.

Julie: Yeah.

Alan: People are getting used to these worlds that they can move around with. What is next, and how do we incorporate education into that?

Julie: Yeah. So coming back to the gamification and how kids are going to transform from being in Fortnite for the last six months in COVID times to the classroom, because they’re used to gaming all day.

Alan: Can we make the classroom into Fortnite?

Julie: [laughs] It comes back to the gaming motivation model. It’s something that I learned from the conference GDC this year, why kids– and how kids are so intrigued in the gaming world, and the challenges that they need to do to get where they need to be. And it incorporates everything from fantasy, from working with others, to having admission, and then being able to accomplish that. Now, when you think about gaming, what do you think about?

Alan: Mostly shooting.

Julie: Bombs, you should think about shooting, and who wants to think about that? There’s no system in the world that wants to engage a student through education with a gun in their hand.

Alan: Basically what you’re saying is, Fortnite minus the guns plus some educational content.

Julie: Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. So we need to focus on gaming without guns. Games for Change is doing some great stuff. And OK, so now you think about gaming, but what if you can game with Lego? What if you could create a solution out of gaming, and creating that mastery class out of admission? Kids loved it and they wanted to be a part of it. The biggest thing about gaming is that once you do all of those steps, once you have that excitement, you create a team, you have a challenge, and you think about all the things that you can do and have that fantasy level, then it goes into “I want more, I want to do another level, I want to play another game.” That’s where the “I love to learn” comes in. Can you imagine if kids wanted to know more, and they could engage on a daily basis–

And they could make a real difference? This is, I think, the problem that we don’t teach people that they can make a difference, they teach them to get a job. What job do you want? What do you want to do in work? What job do you want? And that is the wrong question. The right question is what probably do you want to solve? What challenge do you want to tackle? We’re not– we don’t get presented the challenges. But if we started systematically presenting the world’s challenges. “Here’s the problem in a global level. Here’s the problem at a national level. Here’s the problem at the provincial or state level. Here’s a problem at a local community level.”

Julie: And it starts in community.

Alan: So I’m reading a book by Marc Prensky, called “Education to Better Their World: Unleashing the Power of 21st Century Kids.” And one of the main things is, what if we then incorporated one class, one hour a day devoted to solve a challenge or problem in the world? It could be global. It could be local. It could be as simple as planting a vegetable garden for your community. It could be anything. Imagine if every class did that and then we had awards for this and then we can inspire the next year to think even bigger. Imagine the good that would come of our communities, in one hour for every class. Could be one hour a week, really.

Julie: Yeah, yeah. And I think that we need to also try and do this in a digital way.

Alan: Of course. We have bigger scale.

Julie: And this is where the hybrid system comes to play. And a lot of people ask me, “OK, Julie, what do we need to do?” Then I think the students are a big part of the solution. They’re so smart, they’re so ready to be a part of things. They’re ready to change. But they need our leadership. They need to know what they need to solve. And this is where one of the things I’m working on is, is that big play between enterprise and education systems to build partnerships to solve their problems. Take a look at what classroom subjects can be taught digitally online best, what subjects can be solved to teach in different ways, using this technology to extend that out.

Alan: What I think we need is we need to approach innovation in education the same way we approach innovation in enterprise.

Julie: Yeah.

Alan: And one of the major hurdles that we’re running into as a company — a startup ourselves with MetaVRse — is the time it takes to go through procurement with large companies. They’re actually hindering themselves now, because technology is moving so fast. By the time their slow procurement process takes place, the innovation’s already onto the next iteration and their competitors — if they have a tight procurement process — they’re already all using that technology. And technology’s moving so fast and iterating so quickly now that you need it immediately. Now, to put that in perspective, all three branches of the US military have gone to a quick procurement system for technology. They have a six week window. You apply and you’re either– they buy it or they don’t within six weeks. It’s a– your maximum ten page submission with a maximum ten slide pitch deck. So they’ve completely got rid of these five hundred page things. It’s like you have an innovation? Because the innovations are getting smaller too. They’re becoming more niche. Their software is really solving these things. AI is solving predictive maintenance problems, predicting all sorts of things. So in order to have the best innovation — and we’re not doing this with education at all — in order to have the best innovation, you must simplify and shorten the procurement process. And so that has to happen as well. So enterprise is already starting to work on this and they’re shortening the procurement process. It’s getting there. But in education, we haven’t changed our procurement processes in… ever. For 20 years.

Julie: Yeah. So I think it really comes down to what does a school year mean? The one thing that it comes down to with school is that we only reward the kids once a year for passing a grade. And 365 days is actually a lifetime in a company. There’s so many things that can happen in one year now. We’re on that exponential growth stage.

Alan: It’s crazy. And we don’t apply any of this innovation directly to education. And I keep thinking of this one– I can’t remember who said it, I think it was Rita Hoffman. “If it doesn’t scale, it doesn’t matter.” We have to think locally and engage our students in their local communities, but again, we also need to let them know that they can create a piece of software that goes viral around the world. They already have the mindset of that because they see TikToks that go viral and go around the world. But instead of a little dance, maybe you solve a problem that makes you rich.

Julie: Yeah.

Alan: Because right now AI is making people rich on a daily basis. You saw one small problem for a factory that saves some $50-million, you’re rich.

Julie: Yeah.

Alan: So and these are algorithms that, once you solve that one, change the algorithm. China’s training their grade five students on AI algorithms now.

Julie: Yeah. Let’s circle back to what we can do today, because that’s what everybody’s most stressed about. We’re stressed about that. That’s 30 days away. And these kids are going back to school. Or they’re not. There are certain places around the world where they’re not.

Alan: Ok, so what are some resources that we can talk about right now that people can use outside of the school system? Because the school systems right now, they need love. If you’re part of a school system, you’re part of the executive, and you want to introduce us, we’re happy to meet with school boards, governments. We’re really happy to help. Julie’s world leader on this, obviously. So reach out to us, julie@metavrse.com. With that said, what do we do in the fall? So, one thing that I think — and I want to start doing with our kids, as well — is as part of their– our curriculum, not schools’ curriculum, but our curriculum. They’re going to have to take an online course on something. University of Michigan, for example, they have something like 200 courses available for free online now. So it’s just a matter of going through and saying, “You know what, I like that.” But how do we motivate them? And I think it has to be forced on them for now. I don’t know. If anybody has another way, carrot versus stick, I don’t know yet.

Julie: Yeah, the whole inspiration part is, I think, going to be the trickiest to try and literally reach into that computer and get the kids attention on the other end. And also being that teacher to be able to manage that. And it’s really important that school systems support the teachers right now.

Alan: Yeah, they really do.

Julie: A lot of technology information sessions, just what tools can be in place that make that little bit of difference to manage a student on the other end of that connection? Because we’re not going back to– well, except for our kids, but we need to look at that virtual online setup. What does that look like? That looks like my child being able to connect with a human, first thing–

Alan: And then how do we make sure that every student has access to technology and the Internet? That’s a whole other problem. I mean–

Julie: Well, let’s start there. I actually think there’s a huge mandate now for corporate responsibility. And it also comes from the sustainability factor to recycle some of this gear that flips over every six months, and being able to use that and recycle that through the systems. There’s a responsibility for corporations to also sponsor and donate schools with the most up to date stuff so that they can stay innovative.

Alan: But how do we make that universally accessible? So that may be great in Silicon Valley, where a tech company donates a million dollars to a local school, that’s great for that local school. How do we make that accessible in the inner city in south Chicago?

Julie: Yeah, it’s going to come down to budgets and that’s a hard thing to swallow.

Alan: Well–

Julie: There needs to be money put towards that.

Alan: Governments have printed over $5-trillion for the last four months. Maybe we could trickle some of that down to education.

Julie: Yeah, I think that we’ll start to see family companies of investment start to–

Alan: Family offices

Julie: Family offices, and it’ll–

Alan: Ed-tech’s hot.

Julie: Yeah.

Alan: Ed-tech is one of the fastest growing tech segments in the world. It’s estimated to go from about six — is it trillion? It *is* trillion, isn’t it? — six trillion globally. So the global education industry right now is around six trillion, and it’s estimated to go to 10 trillion by 2030. That’s all education and training. So enterprise training, schools, universities, everything, the whole budget.

Julie: So the big factor here is corporate responsibility, because if corporations don’t invest–

Alan: You either invest early in the kids education or you invest when they become employees of yours and they don’t know anything that you need them to know.

Julie: That’s right. And that’s why we need to start to implement this into an elementary school, into every single school, secondary schools, colleges, universities. Because if enterprise doesn’t have the talent, they’re not going to be able to be in business.

Alan: You’re absolutely right. And you have groups like TKS — The Knowledge Society — they’re kind of taking the top one percent of students, and then really giving them a personalized “Hey, you’re into artificial intelligence? Perfect. Let’s go meet with the profs at UFT who invented it.” Talk about proper immersion into a subject. But can we then still bring a 360 camera for that meeting where that kid meets the inventor of AI captured, so every kid who’s interested can out on a VR headset and experience that same meeting? So can we start to use these technologies to grab these personalized moments of learning?

Julie: Sure, we can do it all. And that’s the thing, there’s so many resources out there right now that are starting to put these pieces together to be able to do that. We’re just not quite there yet. In the meantime, let’s talk about just quickly, what can can schools do in the next 30 days? What can teachers do, parents and students? What can everybody do today? So the first thing that I always tell a school is create your tech team. Every school needs a tech team. It needs have to have both teachers and students on it.

Alan: You need two geeky teachers and 10 geeky students.

Julie: Yeah, yeah. But not even geeky. And I think this is another perception of this technology–

Alan: Yeah, but it’s cool to be geeky, though.

Julie: For sure. But it’s not just about technology. There’s so many other facets. And the other week I spoke with Girls Inc and MasterCard to inspire the next generation. And different skillsets that are coming out, they’re different project management roles, and graphic designers, 3D modelers. There’s so many different jobs that are out there. But our school system isn’t teaching any of them.

Alan: And showing it.

Julie: Yeah. So that’s why I talk a lot about 3D learning, and trying to introduce augmented reality more into the lessons. And augmented reality seems like a really freaky thing, but it’s Snapchat and Instagram face filters, essentially.

Alan: Snapchat has something like 125 million AR filters a day.

Julie: Yeah.

Alan: And over the next, I would say three to five, maybe six years, we’re going to go from the phone to a pair of glasses that you put on your head and now your whole world is a computer. So spatial learning will be something that is just available to everybody because the glasses are cheap. So how do we then get people to start creating in 3D?

Julie: This is where,, I guess enter the MetaVRse 3D Engine.

Alan: I mean, this is the whole reason we made this thing is to make it easy for people to make 3D. But I mean, beyond just us, there’s got to be people making 3D objects. But one of the things that’s coming faster than we anticipated was the phones now have Lidar scanners or infrared scanners on them, so they can scan rooms, or people, or places and convert them into 3D instantly. I made a 3D bust of my brother by walking around in a circle. It was crazy. So the tools to create 3D assets are getting easier to use. And then the tools to make experiences with those three sets are getting easier to use, like MetaVRse and Unity and Unreal. I think the tool boxes are getting better. But how do we expose kids to those toolboxes?

Julie: Yeah, so it’s going to take still a lot of time to be able to introduce this technology. It’s going to be really important for school systems and teachers to lead the way to educate. But it’s also going to play a huge role on parents to introduce resources for their kids, because [it’s] every parent’s responsibility to teach their kids as well. We can’t completely depend on our education systems to catch up in time. And for us, we have unions in our system and to be able to flip over and change any kind of content has been has been years of change. We don’t have that time. And that’s what’s really scary right now. So this is where a system of innovation from students, being able to give them a mission and a goal, something to inspire them. Inspiration is going to be so important in a school system right now. Having a teacher, the teacher’s role, acceptance from the students is going to be key.

Alan: They have to also have– it has to be a bidirectional learning. Teachers are not the stage anymore. They– trust me, your students know more than you. If you’re a teacher and you think you know more than your students, you don’t. They have access to the world’s knowledge. Ask them any fact and give them their phone for 30 seconds and they will find it. They probably won’t even type. They will just ask it into–

Julie: The voice text thing.

Alan: –into Siri, Google, whatever, Amazon.

Julie: Our kids amaze us and teach us every day. And I think it’s really important for families, too. And we’ve had this time with our families the last couple of months. But to really open up that communication and listen to how kids approach technology, because that’s how it needs to change, because they’re building the communications. And even for me, just keeping up with TikTok right now, and the acceptance and communication between Snapchat and what’s important to them. And even through the little kids — just the other day we talked about this, the little girl who we know that was so upset, losing a pet in Roblox — and the social impact these games are playing right now. The kids are already connected. They’re there already, so for them to move over to a system online, it’s going to be no big deal for them, at all.

Alan: These are digital native kids, they were raised with a cell phone in their hand and a soother.

Julie: And they already have emotions and connections to that digital technology. So now it’s going to be the responsibility of the systems to build out the right processes, systems, implementing this new mindfulness technique, to be able to handle the digitization of their world, because nobody’s used to being this connected. And it’s only going to be more and more. So it’s so important that we take the time to breathe and we take a day off. We do celebration Saturdays, but we try to do sleepy Sundays and we plan to do that tomorrow. Sleepy Sundays is our try to [dis]connect for at least 24 hour period.

Alan: Try to disconnect and just try to turn your phone off, and all your technology once a week. It’s very difficult, but it’s a worthwhile endeavor, and go for a hike and enjoy nature. I think this is comes down to the parents as well. You know, we have to get back to nature a little bit, as much as the digital world is going to drive our economy and drive our daily lives. We also have to retreat into the solace of nature and get back to the basics of the earth. And if we don’t do that, if people only see the inner walls of a building in a city, they don’t understand why we need to protect the environment. In order to realize why you need to protect the environment, you have to enjoy the environment, enjoy nature. So whenever possible, schools should also take children on trips just to walk in the forest, just to go and enjoy nature. This should be part of our lives. On that note, Julie, this has been a really amazing experience.

Julie: We should do it again sometime. It’s fun. And thank you for joining me. There’s a lot of pieces to the puzzle. There’s a lot to learn. It’s important that everybody continues to learn, and not just my podcast or Alan’s podcast, but listen to the voices out there that are sharing ways to change, to build efficiencies in your life using the digital technologies that are out there and take it upon yourself to to help others.

Alan: Thank you for listening. If you want to learn more, you can go to xrforlearning.io. My podcast will be on there as well, xrforbusiness.io.

Julie: We also have a great resource at XR Collaboration.

Alan: XRcollaboration.com. And there’s also XR Ignite, which is our community. And you can go to xrignite.com, as well.

Julie: And lastly, just MetaVRse. MetaVRse.com, you can’t forget that.

Alan: Oh, of course. [laughs] What funds all of this is metavrse.com. And if you’re a developer and you want to just skip all the marketing stuff and go straight into it, it’s engine.metavrse.com. It’s free to join, check it out. And…

Julie: That’s it.

Alan: Thank you so much, everyone.

Julie: Thanks very much. And thanks for joining, everyone.

Alan: Bye!

Looking for more insights on XR and the future of learning? Subscribe to our podcast on iTunes, Google Play, or Spotify. You can also follow us on Twitter @XRLearningPod and connect with Julie on LinkedIn.

1 comment

  1. Thank you, Julie and Alan, for the informative podcast on Education and Immersive Learning. Indeed, Education and Training are important means of informing our world’s future leaders on these timely, trending topics and it is wonderful that companies like MasterCard, LinkedIn, Games for Change, Epic Games and MindWise are contributing support, expertise and needed investment to this evolving sector. The fact that XR for Learning profiles innovative new developments is quite helpful – especially since Ed-Tech is one of the fastest growing global tech segments as a $6 trillion industry on track to expand to $10 trillion by 2030.

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