How VR Could Change Education & Entertainment for the Next Generation

Virtual reality experiences designed for kids is a swiftly growing area. The next generation could be the first to truly embrace VR as it transforms the way they learn and more. 

Virtual reality is poised to become a multi-industry game-changer for this generation—but the technology is already being used by many to transform education and entertainment for the next generation as well. Virtual reality projects and products designed for the pre-teen set are being launched at a quick pace—and today’s kids could be the first to get hooked on VR.

A 2015 survey on virtual reality conducted by Greenlight VR found that younger consumers are more excited about the technology than the older generations, with “Gen Z” the most passionate about it. Parents might want to prepare: 70% of teens and tweens interviewed would "definitely” or “probably” ask for a VR device. Since then, we’ve seen The New York Time’s Google Cardboard giveaway inspire parents to hand headsets over to their children, McDonald’s turn the Happy Meal into a kid-sized virtual reality experience, and Mark Zuckerberg publicly declare that he will “absolutely” let his own kid play VR games. While virtual reality might still be in the early stages of mainstreaming, it’s becoming clear that VR could be the norm for the next generation.

In our Q&A with VR leader Framestore, Executive Producer Christine Cattano told us that virtual reality has major potential to impact the next generation. She explained, “Obviously the initial players [in VR] are going to be gaming and entertainment, but I think there's lots of really interesting value to be added to areas like healthcare and education. Education, to me, is probably the most exciting. I’m excited to see how VR changes how kids are interested in certain places, and how we can…

 
 

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The Newsfeed

“As a graphic designer, without the arts being available to me in school I would have been lost as a child and where to take my career path. The fact that schools are cutting art programs is heartbreaking.”—Female, 24, NJ

Applebee’s is putting down the sriracha and giving up on trying to appeal to Millennials. The brand has decided their newer menu items—like a “triple pork bonanza” sandwich—and attempt at a “modern bar and grill” reinvention has “alienate[d]” Boomers and Gen Xers. They’re shutting down more than 130 restaurants and bringing back initiatives from before their attempted “pendulum swing towards millennials,” all-you-can-eat specials and 2-for-$20 deals. Other brands are creating new spin off chains to appeal to fast-casual lovingMillennials, that “[lack] the associated baggage of the old.” (Inc, NPR)

Adults-only ball pits, bouncy houses, and giant slides are sweeping the U.K. Millennials seeking a break from adulthood are flocking to places like Wacky World’s “massive bouncy-castle obstacle course,” which started out as a children’s event. The founder received so many requests that now every event has an 18-and-over slot, and has expanded to 19 cities. This “trend for arrested development activities” is caused by nostalgia, but the influx of marketing and branding leveraging the emotion could be popularizing these playgrounds for adults. (The Guardian)

Facebook is responding to the trend of asking for birthday charitable donations by integrating it right into the platform. Users in the U.S. can now trade in all the “HBD”s they get on Facebook for donations to the cause of their choice: well-wishers will be notified of the birthday along with the selected non-profit, and get the chance to donate. Facebook will ask users which charity they wish to dedicate their day to two weeks in advance, allowing them to choose from 750,000 organizations. (TNW)

Appear Here is the Airbnb of pop-up shops, giving brands their perfect temporary store for the new era of retail. The company finds short term retail space, and has worked with big-name brands like Nike and Net-a-Porter to open “experimental activations” or “test new products.” As brick-and-mortar continues to suffer and long-term stores close, Appear Here says physical retail is still needed, but to “tell a story.” The pop-up industry was valued at $50 billion in 2015, and provides a more low-risk, flexible option to avoid the retail wasteland. (Glossy)

Millennials & Gen Z are turning a profit online and on mobile by re-selling their retail. Thredup, Poshmark, and Depop are just a few of the most popular brands cashing in on the resale economy’s $18 billion market, and some shoppers say they are making $300 a week on the platforms. Some are also using social to sell, often in conjunction with apps or sites, including Snapchat, Facebook Groups, and Instagram. College students on a budget are reportedly especially drawn to resale, thanks to convenience, value, and access to luxury at a lower price. (FN)

“Adult means being entirely independent. I pay my own bills, make all decisions in my life, and feel very in control.”—Male, 20, NY

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