This is a transcribed version of my talk at the Coursera Conference 2017. It has been edited slightly for readability.
When I was at a seminar a few weeks ago, someone asked me why on Earth I was working on 360 videos, because ‘it’s so 2016’. And you know what? He was right. The gimmicky nature of 360 video is wearing off. By now, many of us have seen 360 videos on YouTube or Facebook. It’s becoming more and more mainstream. And in my opinion, this is a good thing. Now we get to explore the exciting possibilities of this new medium. When cinema arrived at the end of the nineteenth century, it was a blank slate for which new narrative techniques and storytelling conventions had to be developed. The same is true for 360 video.
And there is huge potential here. Already, NGOs, YouTubers and artists are churning out interesting experiments every day. And it’s not surprising. Virtual reality in the form of 360 video has become very accessible. If you have the YouTube or Facebook app on your smartphone, you can start watching 360 videos right now. But one of its major potential uses remains relatively untouched: education. Can we use 360 video for online education, and if so, how?