School curriculums the world over aim to promote entrepreneurship. These programs empower students to develop skills such as creativity, leadership, collaborative problem solving, communication, budgeting and design while creating their own business.
Considering the rapid progress of automation, machine learning and artificial intelligence, these skills will be more valuable than ever before. The workforce our youngest students will enter will be alien compared to the one today. The most common job in the US right now is truck driving. It doesn’t take much for one to come to the conclusion that this job, along with driving a taxi or a delivery van, will soon be handed over to automated vehicles. This is an excellent thing. With fewer humans behind the wheel, there will be fewer deaths. As educators, it is important to think about this change and what we will do to help prepare our students for the unknown.
Virtual reality is a tool that educators can use to prepare their students for the future. The ways in which virtual reality will impact education are not yet clear. However, waiting for virtual reality developers to create VR Edu apps is unlikely to be the most effective path. Just as iPad app developers took a long time to deliver high quality apps for the classroom, it seems hard to believe there will be many high quality VR Edu apps on the market in the near future. Instead, educators should look to improve their practice with existing VR apps outside of the VR Edu app category.
For example, the e-commerce platform Shopify recently released Thread Studio, which could provide teachers with a new way to engage students in entrepreneurship. It also highlights the capabilities of virtual reality and how it can unintentionally impact education. The promotional video released this week demonstrates the process of interactive t-shirt design, a process perfect for integrating entrepreneurship into the curriculum. A VR developer may not see how this type of app is relevant to the educational setting, but many teachers will recognise its potential. An app like this would allow students to easily iterate their designs, testing out what looks and works best as they go. All in a virtual space. On top of that, they would be able to explore photographic composition, merchandising options and finally make the all-important step of bringing the product to market.
It’s important that educators begin having these conversations. We must refine our thinking around this new technology and share our knowledge and understanding with the VR development community to ensure tomorrow's leaders can get the best out of today’s technology.
 We plan to explore this idea further in another post.
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