What does virtual reality (VR) have in common with Shakespeare and Hemingway?

“Many of today’s VR experiences parallel history’s greatest literature, with an added immersive experience,” says John Misak, D.A., assistant professor, English at New York Institute of Technology (NYIT). “In fact, it may revive students’ interest in storytelling by allowing them to experience immersion, comparable to the way written works transport readers to their environments.”

While some believe technological advances like VR pose a danger to traditional literature, as he mentions in the journal Computers and Composition, Misak contends that wearable technology serves as a new frontier for learning—one that could improve the education landscape in a big way.

He’s not alone. According to a survey by market research institute GFK, 84 percent of K-12 teachers believe VR could provide classrooms with the thing they’ve been missing for years: student motivation.

“Today’s students want to connect with stories personally; it’s often a matter of ‘don’t tell me, show me’,” says Misak, who argues that immersive technology could spark a passion for reading and writing in a generation of digital natives and gamers.

Misak, who also incorporates video games in his lessons, contends that VR exercises allow students to develop an understanding of narrative skills that transfers across the curriculum.

“Experiencing stories in VR allows them to analyze and evaluate morality, actions and consequences, and relationships. The realistic VR environment also helps illustrate to student writers the importance of detail for sense of place. In turn, their writing composition also becomes immersive, inviting the reader to feel them as if they’re actually there. It’s a total game-changer.”

Misak is available for comment/interview. Contact Kim Tucker at [email protected].