E23 Learning in VR, Ready Player One and the Origins of “Avatar” (feat. Dr. Edward Downs)

In this episode, Dr. Edward Downs describes his research applying the MAIN (Modality, Agency, Interactivity, & Navigation) Model to learning in virtual reality, connects these concepts to themes from "Ready Player One," discusses some concerns about using “moral panic” too loosely, asks host Robby Ratan a question about the origins of digital avatars (and then shares an interesting anecdote that predates Robby’s example) and then grapples with the idea of merging NFTS, avatars and the Metaverse.


Downs is a professor in the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences at the University of Minnesota Duluth. His research focuses on the intersection of media and cognition. More specifically, how new technologies can be used in learning environments.


This episode contains spoilers of the books "Ready Player One" and "Ready Player Two."