As we’ve built the concept for RealityNext and our One World Initiative, we’ve come across a large number of figures who have provided inspiration for our direction. Some of these experts in the fields of education, technology and philosophy may have inspired us through a single quote, others through their large bodies of work. Here are but a few whose shoes we can only hope to try to fill.
Our curriculum provides diverse modalities for learning, as outlined by education technology pioneer Howard Gardner, whose work at Harvard University starting in the 1940s has sought to revolutionize the student-teacher relationship. He developed the theory of multiple intelligences, which he sees manifested as:
visual-spatial • logical-mathematical • verbal-linguistic • musical-rhythmic • intrapersonal • interpersonal • bodily-kinesthetic • naturalistic • existential and moral.
Gardner’s theory has advanced pedagogy because “we are all able to know the world through language, logical-mathematical analysis, spatial representation, musical thinking, the use of the body to solve problems or to make things, an understanding of other individuals, and an understanding of ourselves. Where individuals differ is in the strength of these intelligences—the so-called profile of intelligences—and in the ways in which such intelligences are invoked and combined to carry out different tasks, solve diverse problems, and progress in various domains.”
As Director of Edutainment at Carnegie Mellon University’s Entertainment Technology Center, Trybus has made a career of understanding the relationship between gaming and learning.
“The ideal of interactive, highly engaging training and education is ancient,” she says. “A Chinese proverb says: ‘Tell me, and I’ll forget. Show me, and I may remember. Involve me, and I’ll understand.’ However, the gap continues to grow between antiquated, passive training methods and a workforce that lives an ever more interactive, multimedia, user-controlled lifestyle. With game-based learning tools to bridge that gap comes the promise of vastly more productive and engaged students and workers—ones who embrace learning rather than view it as a disruptive burden.”
This self-taught creator in the virtual and extended reality fields has made a name for himself in both the applications he’s developed and his well-researched opinions on how these technologies can and should benefit society. We found his two-part series on education and VR to be a particularly relevant guide for us.
“Immersive technologies are inherently experiential, built from the ground up to convince humans that what they see is real,” he writes. ”At the same time, immersive content is not bound by the laws of physics, meaning that creators can orchestrate ‘impossible experiences’ at relatively low costs — be it taking the viewer to the moon, to a beach in California, or a castle 500 years in the past, all costs about the same to create. For education, this could be everything.”
Sir Ken Robinson
Known as one of the world’s foremost minds in education reform, Sir Robinson’s TED talks inspired us in our quest to make the One World Initiative both fun and relevant.
Yuval Noah Harari
This historian who uses our past to predict our future sees promise and peril in what will likely be a highly automated future. His work is particularly interesting when it comes to myths and storytelling. From his book Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind (Vintage Books, London, 2014):
“We can weave common myths such as the biblical creation story, the Dreamtime myths of Aboriginal Australians, and the nationalist myths of modern states. Such myths give Sapiens the unprecedented ability to cooperate flexibly in large numbers. Ants and bees can also work together in huge numbers, but they do so in a very rigid manner and only with close relatives.” (p. 41)
“Cooperation between very large numbers of strangers [leads to] the ability to transmit information about things that do not really exist, such as tribal spirits, nations, limited liability companies and human rights.” (p. 28)
This French-born author and futurist’s book Us, Gods (Nous les Deux) from 2004 is almost a manual for how we designed the structure and interactions of our virtual classrooms. Sadly, his book has never been translated into English. Fortunately it has been translated into Russian, one of our co-founder Alex’s native languages.
You can find many more resources on our Inspirations page.