PhD Candidate, MIT Media Lab
Scott is a final-year PhD student working on learning and education in virtual reality. He is investigating how spatial knowledge and intuition in areas of science such as physics, biology, and chemistry can be acquired through room-scale, motion-tracked virtual interaction. This includes exploring methods for directly integrating technical knowledge into the virtual space — which is vital to maximizing the potential of VR for learning experiences. At the same time, taking advantage of virtual reality also means breaking from the textbook knowledge paradigm so that learning can be exploratory rather pre-baked and linear. An approach Scott is exploring is to leave it up to people — that is, by leveraging virtual copresence to allow teachers, learners, and peers to interact in real-time in a shared virtual space. Finally, he is developing methods for capturing and taking knowledge from experiences in VR “to-go” using tools for note-taking and documentation. All of this work is being developed while building open source tools, and with a conviction that educational tools and content should be open-access. Another facet of Scott’s work is quantifying the experience of virtual reality using physiological signals such as eye tracking and EEG. This is relevant to understanding the cognitive and affective aspects of the learning process, as well as the more general process of consuming content in virtual reality. Scott’s work has been featured by Games for Change at the Tribeca Film Festival, the New York Times and the Augmented World Expo. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Mathematics and German from Northwestern University, a master’s in Scientific Computing from the Free University of Berlin, and a master’s in Media Arts and Sciences from the Center for Bits and Atoms at MIT. He is originally from Fort Collins, Colorado. He speaks German and considers Germany his second home. He’s an advanced snowboarder, and sings a mean “Rockin’ in the Free World” with his guitar. You can find Scott on Twitter.