Elizabeth Strickler – Director of Media Innovation at Georgia State University: University & Education In The Open Metaverse, Creating A Virtual Curriculum, Friction And Frustration, AR Tools, Diversity, MetaHuman, Community Space, Blender, TedX, Avatars, The Industrial Metaverse And Much More…

"I teach in order to learn."

“Instead of using Metahuman to sculpt your face you'll just be able to take your phone, Lidar scan your face and create your Avatar, the perfect representation, if you want, of yourself.”

"I always feel guilty that I'm not doing as much as I possibly could."

"You know one of the great things about education is that interactive experiences and peer review and peer-to-peer learning has been proven to be one of the best ways to learn."

Links and Resources From Elizabeth Strickler


Elizabeth Strickler 

Ted talk – NFTS, the metaverse and the future of digital art.

LiDar Scan



Ready Player Me 





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About Elizabeth Strickler

Elizabeth Strickler is Director of Media Entrepreneurship and Innovation at the Creative Media Industries Institute at Georgia State University.  She teaches undergraduate and graduate students to build web3, blockchain, and virtual production strategies. 

As a TED speaker and metaverse thought leader Elizabeth Strickler is leading the evolution of higher education, AI and virtual worlds. 

Regarded as a luminary in the NFT/Metaverse/AI space, Elizabeth has been at the forefront of the digital revolution, shaping the metaverse narrative through her groundbreaking research and curriculum at Georgia State University.

“In this new frontier, we require effective communication between humans and machines (AI), a flourishing virtual economy anchored by digital ledger tech, and a shared culture to nurture a sense of belonging. It is each of our responsibilities to ensure our virtual worlds are inclusive and meaningful, as we work towards the creation of an Open Metaverse.”

Please enjoy the show.

Quotes From Elizabeth Strickler

“You know one of the great things about education is that interactive experiences and peer review and peer-to-peer learning has been proven to be one of the best ways to learn.”

“I teach in order to learn.”

“Your imagination is so much better than your capabilities are. That’s where there’s certainly a lot of frustration. I think that’s where the frustration with the metaverse is in general right now.”

“AI that are the power tools to the metaverse.”

“Instead of using Metahuman to sculpt your face you’ll just be able to take your phone, Lidar scan your face and create your Avatar, the perfect representation, if you want, of yourself.”

“You know one of the great things about education is that interactive experiences and peer review and peer-to-peer learning has been proven to be one of the best ways to learn.”

“I mean curiosity is sort of what drives me, so that’s why I embrace all the different things that inspire me to keep learning and going down rabbit holes.”

“But that was just trial by fire. I learned so much about technology and the internet and that honestly, that base layer, I think, has been what’s enabled me to just learn new things so quickly and just have a super strong technical background so that I can understand things.”

“Creating those spaces was the next step in the class. For that we used Spatial, spatial.io.”

“One of the things that is so irksome to me is that what other industry do you let one person determine all of the content, and then privately, on their own, just with the users, deliver the content.”

“I think most of us want to teach and learn from each other. It’s like, I think that’s really what most of us sort of want to do.”

Elizabeth Strickler: Show Transcript

Jeremy Gilbertson: Disruptors and curious minds, welcome to another episode of Thinking on Paper. My name is Jeremy Gilbertson. With me is Mark Fielding. Mark, good day to you, sir. How are things in your world?

Mark Fielding: Hello. Good, in a very un-emerging tech development, a combine harvester has just pulled up outside my window and started…I don’t know, doing what. So if you can hear a lot of noise, it’s a combine harvester. I’m very well. I’ve had a very…um…painful week actually. That’s what I heard. Yeah, um…I’ve…I’ve um…the physical…

Jeremy Gilbertson: The physical world is dangerous. We’ll be talking about the digital one today, but tell me, what happened?

Mark Fielding: Well, no, I’ve totally muscle in my chest and I’m…I’m under a sea of um…painkillers and muscle relaxants, so if I’m incoherent, it’s the drugs.

Jeremy Gilbertson: Oh, so maybe it’s not an internet lag, maybe it’s like a…maybe it’s a medical induced lag. Yeah, a slow…uh…am I…am I on a delay still? Is it echoing…uh…there’s no echo in it. Just like the void. I think the voice is ahead of the video but no worries, dude, we got you. Um, well let’s…let’s do this. So I hope…I hope your…uh…your…your physical ailments…uh…start to…start to get better. Um…just got…got to stop doing those weighted pull-ups and that…that will keep your chest from…uh…from tearing.

So, I want to introduce Mark. You know we don’t do this very often and we do have…we do a terrible job of telling our own stories. I’ll be perfectly candid, even though we’re both writers and creators and all of that, but…uh…Mark is…Mark is a…is a very talented writer and…um…a guy that can kind of pull together technical things in a really interesting and fun way. He’s actually got a book out there called um…Apocalypse Daddy. Right, if I’m…if I’m correct, is that the right name?

Mark Fielding: Correct.

Jeremy Gilbertson: Yeah, uh…you know, so he’s…he’s got…um…got a very interesting point of view on…on raising kids and translating things to that regard. But Mark’s been a great partner of mine to kind of unpack and make sense of all the tech that’s coming out and how it applies to…we…how it applies to all of us as humans. So he’s been a great partner and innovator…um…and he writes for a lot of outlets. And if you were in need of a writer who synthesizes some amazing things, I would highly encourage you checking out Mr. Fielding. Mark, super glad to have you. Um, thank you.

Mark Fielding: Is this…so it’s my turn to introduce Jeremy, my…my co-host of Thinking on Paper and for the second week in a row, Jeremy is putting me on the spot. So, the man, the myth, the legend that is Jeremy Gilbertson. Um, a builder and futurist, specializing in, as far as I’m aware, specializing in music and tech and the intersection of culture, which you’re…you use that to guide brand strategy on embracing with specific…um…musical specialty on emerging tech. Um, if I’m correct on that, but he’s also a writer like me who’s…your work…so you say I work for a lot of outlets…your works appeared in Variety and Forbes. I…I can’t get anywhere near that. So, um…yeah, he’s a writer and you’re the…the founder and CEO of Write to Know You. You use writing to help people find their inner self. Is that the right way to describe Write to Know?

Jeremy Gilbertson: You know, we…we might be able to put Elizabeth on the spot because she has…uh…she has good experience with…uh…with Write to Know You, but…um…that is…that is definitely a part of it. Well…um…with that, we now have another introduction we need to make. And I also want to welcome again, one of our new streaming platforms, Kik. Uh, hello out there on Kik if you’re listening. It’s an amazing new streaming platform where…um…where creators are…actually, they’re reinventing the monetization for creators on that platform as well, too, which is why we’re excited to be there. So hello, Kik, and…uh…good morning, if you’re on the…if you’re in the states.

So, our guest today, super excited, we’re talking about digital experiences, dare we say metaverse. You know, metaverse is kind of coming in and out. I think even Roblox is trying to shed…uh…their metaverse nomenclature…uh…but we can even call it digital experiences. So our guest…uh…Elizabeth Strickler, who I’ve known for…for quite a long time and has been a…another partner in crime to unpack technology and…and figure out how it applies. We’ve…uh…we’ve riffed together on a bunch of different things. But she’s the director of media and entrepreneurship at the Creative Media Industries Institute at Georgia State University. She has a very interesting background in philosophy, computer science, and filmmaking which is amazing…uh…interdisciplinary expert here. And you may recognize her face from a famous April 2021 Ted Talk when this whole web 3 stuff started coming out. It was a great way to help people tiptoe into what the hell all this stuff is. So, without further ado, I’m gonna bring on our amazing guest. Elizabeth, how are you?

Elizabeth Strickler: “Great, hi, uh, hi Mark and Jeremy. Thank you all for letting me come on and just have this, I hope, engaging conversation. I’d just like to follow on with the ‘Write To Know You’ yes, and that and education, and immersive education.

I’ll just follow on, I did do the ‘Write To Know You’ program with Jeremy, which is where you write physically. And I think it’s very interesting because we’re talking about digital and physical, and this is a good way to sort of kick it off. He asked that you write for 10 minutes a day and then take a photo of that and post it on Discord to show that you did that every day. But I pushed him a little bit and asked if I could write using my iPad but using Nebo, which is like a handwriting app.

And that actually really pushed me into a new format of writing because I could write in script but on this giant kind of digital whiteboard and then draw and mix it all together. And I’m not a writer, I mostly do speaking. I mean I write, but I prefer kind of speaking and video and live conversations.

And so, it was incredibly helpful to me because after, at the end of the week, you put together what you have written on a Sunday, you just, you know, put it together. And, um, I had some fun things that I read, one of which was called ‘Are We Metafucked?’ Sorry, I’m not sure but…”

Mark Fielding: “We encourage swearing.”

Elizabeth Strickler: “Okay, well, because I was just like, so one of my sayings is ‘everything in the real world will be recreated in the virtual world’ and I feel like I mean just even having to dress my avatar is like a whole nother body that I gotta take care of.

You know one of the great things about education is that interactive experiences and peer review and peer-to-peer learning has been proven to be one of the best ways to learn, and Jeremy really embraced that. He embraces that in his ‘Write To Know You’ program. Yeah, thank you so much for that.

Shayna, welcome! Good to see you in the chat. I’m sure we’ll get some good knowledge nuggets from Elizabeth on this. But Elizabeth, let’s start with this interesting thread of philosophy, computer science, and filmmaking. Because I think the world as it sits right now almost rewards specialists, especially if you’re trying to get into something, into a system that needs a particular specialist. Now, that sounds extremely interdisciplinary. How have you been able to weave a through line between those three things to the awesome stuff you’re doing today?”

Elizabeth Strickler: “Well, it… I really don’t exactly know. I mean, curiosity is sort of what drives me, so that’s why I just sort of, you know, embrace all the different things that inspire me to keep learning and going down rabbit holes. But you know, a lot of times people talk about the T, which is the broad sort of knowledge versus the deep knowledge. And I think that if you’ve got deep knowledge in one thing, it’s a lot easier to go broad and kind of apply some of that depth to whatever new thing that you learn.

When I reflect on my journey, one thing that I think was super valuable to me was that I got an undergraduate degree in philosophy. I mean, that was okay then, it was good. I was a curious young person, but I went into social work and that was super hard. Then I wanted to be a teacher and when I came back to teach in math, I got into computer science. Well, and the internet, and I got my first job as an internet service provider at Mindspring, which was way back in the day.

But that was just trial by fire. I learned so much about technology and the internet and that honestly, that base layer, I think, has been what’s enabled me to just learn new things so quickly and just have a super strong technical background so that I can understand things. But still, I’ve got that humanities approach to life, so I’m not a tech bro, partially because I’m not a bro but also because I have the humanities component to the whole thing. So, I don’t know if that answers the question.”

Jeremy Gilberston: “I think that’s an important piece of the whole puzzle, not only the humanity side but how tech applies to humanities and how humanity, how the human condition can benefit and also be hurt by technology. That’s super interesting as a foundation.

Really quickly, I want to welcome Pico Velasquez in the chat, our guest from last week, that was amazing. Pico, hope all is well in Tulum, thanks for joining us. Dixie’s in the chat, hi Dixie, welcome.

Elizabeth, when we were talking in our little pre-pro chat, you mentioned a recent course that you took, speaking of the intersection between the human condition and technology. I think it would be really interesting for our listeners to hear and understand some of the outputs and how you structured it. So tell us about that course.”

Elizabeth Strickler: “Yeah, it’s not a course I took, it’s a course I taught. But I took it too because it was basically whenever I teach, I don’t teach in order to learn. That’s the beauty of teaching. So I had this idea. I teach in the Creative Media Industries Institute but I also teach in the business school at Georgia State. So they asked for me to put together a combo class that is innovative.

So this one I did was called ‘Self and Community in the Metaverse’. And I got 24 very outrageous students who had no prerequisites whatsoever, so they didn’t have to have any technical skills or even interest in the metaverse or anything. We also did it as a research project to understand if learning emerging technologies, in this case particularly augmented and virtual reality with some AI thrown in, would give you more agency in your own life and also have more hope for your community in the future.

So that was the research question. But basically, what we did was we broke the class down into first of all, what is ‘self’? And then so we did avatars. Now I would like to talk about how we did, you know, reflecting on what ‘self’ is and what it means to represent yourself.

And then we did ‘what is personal space or private space?’ And then we looked at ‘what is community in a virtual world or in a metaverse and how might we approach that?’

So that’s what we did in the class and it was very, very interesting. We had some great learnings and a lot of frustration. And I think that this is the trajectory that many people have when they’re trying to create digital experiences or virtual experiences, where some of the resonances, which is the good stuff, and where some of the really hard friction is, and the bad stuff.”

Mark Fielding: “Could you expand on that friction and frustration?”

Elizabeth Strickler: “Yeah, well you know so like you know when we did the avatars, that was… so we did this whole thing where first I just gave the students a pencil and a paper and I said ‘create’, I didn’t want to say ‘self’ because whenever you say like ‘draw yourself’ you know just all sorts of ego and fear and whatever, so we just said ‘create a character that you would like to navigate virtual worlds’.

So they drew it then we gave them ‘Ready Player Me’ and we said ‘create a character that would you know travel through virtual worlds’. Then we got ‘MetaHuman’. And if you’ve ever used MetaHuman by Unreal, it’s everything had to be web-based or you know pretty easy to use because we didn’t… this was not going to be a tools learning, a deep tools class.

So then they used MetaHuman and then we reflected on what it means to represent yourself and are you representing your outer self or your inner self. Well, and then we used ‘Midjourney’ to kind of create aspirational sort of avatars. So we reflected on all of that, like what does it mean to take your human self in flesh and blood and then represent it as a digital entity.”

Mark Fielding: “Was there a preference for the… I don’t know how this worked but for the Ready Player Me avatar which is a more animated avatar and the MetaHuman which is like a photorealistic representation of a human face? Did that affect the students at all?”

Elizabeth Strickler: “Oh yeah, I mean we had huge long conversations about it. One of the things that you all might not know about Georgia State University is that we’re one of the most diverse universities in the United States. So, at least 50… I don’t know the percentage precisely but over 50% of my students are black.

And so immediately you get into the hairstyles and the choices of colors versus representation of your skin, the choices of clothing that you can wear. But we also, one of the things that I got the students to talk about was not just as a user, but assuming that many of these students will actually be creators and maybe even creators of companies at some point in time. So you can’t just give infinite choice if you’re going to have the rigging work properly, if you’re going to be able to go on to the different platforms.

So people loved messing with MetaHuman but the frustration and the friction there is that it’s really hard to get to get the image to look really like yourself. But second of all, you know, ‘Ready Player B’ you could create an avatar and jump into 40 different applications with that ready to go and so the usability of it was tremendous.”

Jeremy Gilbertson: “Yeah, I wanna… I wanna peel, I want to kind of go back a little bit to this, to this group of 24 amazing students and I want to understand what their level of familiarity with digital experiences, web 3, the metaverse, if you could put like percentages and say like 20 percent were super familiar, 20 percent were not, you know what, how would you break that down just from a high level? I’m curious.”

Elizabeth Strickler: “Yeah, um, I would say that I had some students who were, you know, had used some game engine stuff before, or done some animations before or made films before. And I had probably two to three students who had dealt with cryptocurrency to some degree or another. But their understanding of web 3 or decentralized web or the term ‘metaverse’ was super minimal, which was really surprising to me.”

Jeremy Gilberston: “Would you say the level of frustration due to just how to use the tech and the pieces and the parts, was that part of it? Were they, were they struggling?”

Elizabeth Strickler: “No, not so much, because one thing I’d like to do a shout out is, I had a whole team of people at Georgia State helping me design the course, so it was well designed. I mean, we had, when we said to use ‘Ready Player Me’, we were in the classroom at hot computers with step-by-step instructions on every single thing that they were to do. So to the degree that their level of frustration, I mean to get on to MetaHuman and play with it, they knew how to do all the things.

To get a person to look like yourself, that takes an incredible amount of artistry and time. But they had all the access. The tech was not a problem, we made sure of that.”

Jeremy Gilberston: “How did they navigate the initial experiences with avatars? And the reason why I ask this question, I remember a long time ago, I can’t even remember how far along ago but it was back when you know Alt Space was kind of one of the first, outside of Second Life and a bunch of other things, right.

I jumped into Alt Space and went in and I noticed like people were interacting very differently than like if the three of us were in a room. Because if the three of us were in Alt Space and I didn’t know you, I was like there were people literally walking right up in my face and like you’re just like, there are very different ways to navigate… I guess people, I guess because there’s less repercussions.”

Mark Fielding: “For people who are listening, they should watch the last week’s episode with Pico because that cultural interaction was part of what she was saying about building these virtual worlds and how do you build for that interaction.”

Elizabeth Strickler: “So that is a great segue because, like I told you, we did ‘self’, then ‘personal private space’ and then ‘community space’. So one of the things that we anticipated was exactly what you’re talking about, Jeremy.

When you spawn, which means when you just suddenly appear into a new world, you need a gradation. You need to do your makeup, or whatever, you need to brush your hair, like check the mirror, you know, whatever. So, one of the things we did was, we had each of them create spaces, kind of like a private space, a personal space, a room, that would be their space that they would invite other people into. But it was their private, personal, comfortable space to put their avatar in.

So, you know, great segue for that. So that’s what that was the next step in the class was just creating those spaces. And for that we did, we used Spatial, spatial.io if y’all have ever played with that. And so they went into spatial.io and used a lot of the pre-made stuff but we also taught them, the ones that were a little bit more excited and advanced, how to use polycan lidar scan so you could Lidar scan some place, some things, or some places and pull that into Spatial.

Now, you know, that’s where you get into the technical, you know, this is all of this, your imagination is so much better than what your capabilities are. And so that’s where there’s certainly a lot of frustration. I think that’s where the frustration with the metaverse is in general right now.”

Jeremy Gilbertson: “So, real quick clarification for the listeners and viewers that aren’t familiar with lidar scanning and all of that. It’s just, simply put and correct me if I’m wrong, is a way of capturing a kind of a real-life asset and translating that from data points into a digital asset or a likeness, right?”

Elizabeth Strickler: Yeah, yeah, I mean, you know, as this class is happening– and this is the case for all teaching nowadays, for all learning– whatever is that you pick, you know, you have the months before the class starts, you kind of need to start picking your tools and picking how you’re going to teach it and, you know, getting familiar with it yourself. And this stuff is just coming out and changing like every minute, and then A Plus on top of that, you know, AI was coming out, that, an AI that are the power tools to the metaverse, in my opinion, you know.

Because instead of having to, just you know, very soon, instead of having to use uh-oh, where did y’all go?

“We’re here, we’re here,” I’m sorry, my screen just, this, so instead of using meta human to sculpt, you know, the face, you’ll just be able to take your phone, lidar scan your face, and create, you know, the Avatar, you know, the perfect representation if you want to represent yourself in a totally, you know, photo real kind of kind of thing. So, so anyway. Yeah, the fresh, that was a huge frustration, and it continues to be.

And, and like so, so then I just, I think to sort of kind of riff on that, again next, we created community. And, you know, Mark, you were talking about how Pico talked about sort of the culture of the space, one of the things that we wanted to do with community was write out kind of like a constitution or a Rules of Engagement that were agreed upon with these 24 students because you know this, creating worlds is like is like God, you know, in, in, you know, you’re all of a sudden like new groups of people trying to align like what is the behavior that is desired.

So, what the context within which we used was the university, so we decided, “How might we recreate the university experience, not the university, right?” Because it’s so ridiculous when you see people who want to recreate a university and then they’ve got these like brick buildings with white columns and, you know, really super boring rooms with rows of seats.

Jeremy Gilberston: You know, big, big oak lecterns with like brass lights on the top. If you’re old enough, the overhead projectors with the sheets, yeah, right. Now I’m just kidding.

Mark Fielding: You don’t need seats when you’re studying astrology. You don’t need to be in a building. You need to be in space.

Elizabeth Strickler: You’ve got to have something that’s familiar enough to know what to do and what’s the purpose and the point. But also that doesn’t have all the physical constraints. You know, you don’t have gravity, and you don’t have materials that can’t be duplicated and replicated all over the place. So that was a really interesting… And I, I would have spent more time on this, which was we went through, we just did these like massive design thinking sprints where we were thinking, “What happens in a university?” So they wrote down, you know, having coffee, having lunch, you know, uh, sitting in classes, studying, being on a computer, one-on-ones with your teacher. We just wrote down all of this, and then as in groups, they picked six different experiences to recreate in a virtual world. But that was the experience and not the physicality.

Jeremy Gilberston: It’s really, it’s really interesting. The two things that I’m, I, my mind goes to, and I love the thoughtful process that you put together for this, right. And the gradated experience of, of getting into something, right. And, and I think about this like, you know, for those of us that work from home, it’s really difficult to go from work mode into, like, if you have kids, parent mode, right. And I always found ways to get, you know, find six or seven minutes to have that little decompression before I got in to change states, right. So when we’re going from physical to digital, there’s a bit of a state change. And I think having that landing zone is really interesting and seeing how that expands, but then also having these overall community guidelines and rules to govern the overall experience. I have a question related to the second piece of that. And how did you, did you ever get into a situation where you or the community was put in a position to enforce one of the rules? And how did that go?

Elizabeth Strickler: So, well, we did a little bit, which is on our first um, try with, uh, with a group of students. What we did was we got one of our learning management, or our learning team, to create the first sort of, you know, lobby, or what, how, you know, we wanted to have sort of a central point where everybody would spawn, and then they would go off into these different worlds that were made by the students. And so when our learning management team kind of built that world in Spatial, I was like, well, you know, they need something to do. That’s the biggest problem when you get, you know, into these virtual worlds, especially, like, what do you do? So they had a little, go find all of the panther, um, sculptures. They had hidden some sculptures. So it was a little bit of a, you know, just go find those panthers. And he did not close, make the world private. And so all sorts of new people started spawning in there and doing crazy stuff. And it was, it was a first of all, it was weighing down the system. But they were, you know, speaking in foreign languages and, you know, also, they were drawing and messing with stuff that he didn’t realize he had to lock down. So they were like making things so, um, we kind of had to, you know, talk about that and what was, you know, appropriate. But we really never got to the point where we had to enforce stuff because we just didn’t use the worlds. And there was too much, there wasn’t enough time. I could imagine that we would get to that point. Because in class, we did have to have plenty of those kinds of things where I have to say, “This is, you know, this is a time where you’re not to be talking about politics,” or, “This is actually, would you please stay until the end of class,” or, “Would you please not have private conversations while we’re having a group conversation so we can all hear each other.” So, you know, same kinds of things happen in virtual worlds.

Mark Fielding: I was just wondering if you’d finish that train of thought. What your goal was for ‘self and community’ in the metaverse, like what was… Yeah, what was your goal when you set out and did you achieve what you wanted to set out? Was it a success?

Elizabeth Strickler: Yeah, well, so the final part of it was that, that when they went to go build their worlds, uh, so another thing is we taught them Blender, a little bit of Blender because Blender is a, like Blender has all the ethos that I love about web3 and decentralized. It’s an open source, uh, you know, 3D modeling and world-building tool. So, uh, we taught them that. They loved that and we used a lot of online tutorials and all that sort of thing. Um, but then the final part was we wanted to decide whether to build in Spatial, but it’s not a decentralized platform. So you all might know Stu Richards, AKA Metamite, came and, and he and I back and forth, back and forth. We decided to create their, their final worlds in Hyperfi. So the thing about Hyperfi is that it is a fully web3 platform where you have to have, um, a MetaMask wallet and, but you don’t have to. So, uh, he loaned us his world. So we rented the space. So he loaned us those because there are $150, uh, around $150 dollars per, per space.

Jeremy Gimberston: Real quick, did a smart contract govern that agreement?

Elizabeth Strickler: Yeah, I mean, totally amazing. Totally, the whole thing. So, so it was they learned, they learned just enough about owning your own data, creating these, and they were like, “Why do you have to pay for a platform, you know, pay for a piece of property?” And I’m like, “Because otherwise, Spatial owns everything of yours, you know.” So we talked, we had a great community, you know, conversation around all of that. Um, so they used, we used Hyperfi. It’s still, you know, emerging product, um, and it, and it was hard and there was lots of difficulties and all of that. But it still was great, great learning and all of that. And so Mark, to your point, was it a success? Well, they all got a class, I think they learned a lot, and they got A’s, B’s, or C’s. And I mean, so as far as my job and what their learning was, yes, it was a success. The question about the main core question was, “Do you feel like you have more agency in your world, um, and do you have more hope for your community, however you define that, in the future?” Um, where I failed at that was that I started bringing AI in, and it was freaking them out in so many ways, and I, that was where I, um, yeah, I feel like I, you know, didn’t quite solve that problem.

Jeremy Gilberston: That’s, that’s a hard, that’s a hard puzzle to pull in, especially when, but you can’t not leave it out. I do it all the time like I, I, I keep, I was like, “Okay, and this. Okay, and this.” Because it’s eventually going to be connected. But that, uh, speaking, uh, to your success rate of this, Elizabeth, both Shayna and Dixie in the chat said they wish they had this course when they were in college. So I would, I would put that on the success bucket.

Elizabeth Strickler: Well, I wish I could teach this class, you know, and when I say teach, I am definitely like a collaborate, collaborative, you know, um, person who sort of just guides a group of people towards some new kinds of learnings and knowledge, um. And so, you know, I would like to do this again. As a matter of fact, we’ve actually proposed the Avatar activity for South by Southwest EDU, to just kind of do a quick workshop, you know, with them. But um, yeah, no, I think that, you know, the students were frustrated and complaining a little bit, but afterwards, you know, they’re like, “Wow.” Um, you know, one of my students created a company, and she created, um, she figured out how to make glasses using 3D rendering. She didn’t know anything about any of this. And she and her sister are starting a company specifically for people who have eye problems. So she created all these 3D glasses, and she’s now in the, you know, Main Street entrepreneurship. Um, she got accepted to a prestigious at Georgia State program. So that was great. Another one is working in our makerspace and now doing 3D scanning and then 3D printing. Um, it has just like gotten way into Blender and doing all of that. So you know, as long as you never know what kind of impact you have, as far as that goes.

Jeremy Gilberston: How does, how does that feel, Elizabeth, to know that you’re, you’re sparking creativity, and you’re, and you’re pushing, helping people push the bound. How does that feel?

Elizabeth Strickler: I mean, I think that, like, like just doing this, like having conversations with people is, you know, all I think most of us want to teach and learn from each other, you know. It’s like, I think that’s really what most of us sort of want to do, and, you know, there’s other things we want to do. But I think that’s just a superhuman desire. And, and it feels great. And I recommend that everybody teach or tutor or do something, share. We mostly want to share our knowledge and resonate with other people and then have that done back to us. So, so it feels good. That’s, that’s one thing, like, when people have a crisis of confidence about their jobs, teaching often doesn’t, you know, have so much of a crisis of confidence. You know, if you feel like you’re putting, I always feel guilty that I’m not doing as much as I possibly could.

Mark Fielding: Just being aware of time, as we are, do you mind if I, if I move the conversation to the… So, your TEDx talk, with two million views on the metaverse and, as you said earlier, NFTs, that got a lot of interest a year ago. In it, you speak about, I think there’s a, you say that students are building the metaverse as we speak. And it got me thinking about, and I think we’ve spoken about this, Jeremy, you and I, and web3 kind of represents this, this top-down, bottom-up collaboration. And for me, you’re almost saying that students are building the curriculum, or helping to build the curriculum, and the spaces themselves. Now it’s been a long time since I went to university, but when I was at university, and it wasn’t a very good university, the students had no input on anything to do with anything that was happening at the university. Are you suggesting that now, and in the future, that secondary education will be a collaboration between students and lecturers and professors?

Elizabeth Strickler: Oh, yeah. There’s two different kinds of things going on. Um, when I talk about my class specifically, like if I do a presentation on the whole, the class, you know, particularly for education conferences and stuff like that, I talk about decentralized teaching. Because one of the things that is so um, irksome to me is that what other industry do you let one person determine all of the content, and then privately, on their own, just with the, you know, the users, deliver the content. And, and, you know, have no other feedback from their peers on best practices, or ways you might change it, or new ideas. So that alone. So, so I had a group of people helping and working with me. But yes, I think I always give the students ways to, to give feedback, always make the students present or teach some component. So each of these students had to think of an online community that had true cultural meaning to them. And I don’t care if it’s, you know, whatever, whatever it was. And so they had to get up in front of the class and talk about that community and what was important to them, and then teach. I have them teach. If they have a special knowledge, I always have them teach. So yeah, for sure. It’s, it’s been, and that’s a trend in all of education now, Mark, is, is definitely lots of, you know, end user feedback. But it’s that decentralized model that we’re all pushing for in web3 for kind of everything.

Jeremy Gilberston: Yeah, it kind of goes back to our, uh, patented thinking on paper, bi-directional value exchange concept that all this tech can, can do. And, and speaking of which, Elizabeth, what are, what are some of the most, like a couple of the either great questions that these students asked or super interesting insights or what-ifs, like what were some of the good nuggets coming from them to you?

Elizabeth Strickler: You know, a lot of, you know, for the Avatar stuff, it was a lot about representation, and what is representation, and self representation, and how can you represent yourself. So, so we had lots of discussions in that realm. There was a lot of stuff about why the metaverse, this is a sucky technology. It doesn’t work well. It’s just, you know, it’s lagging behind in what, what I’ve got in my imagination and how to create stuff. And it’s too complicated. And, you know, but some people, that, that inspired them and pushed them to want to go towards, you know, Blender, and then Unreal Engine, and all of that. And others, they were like, “I don’t, I don’t like this, and I don’t want to do this.” And, you know, so there was that. But I think, how do we communicate when we’re not in person? It was just a big, big question. I still think it’s a big question. One of the things that I, uh, you know, I talk about the industrial metaverse, the social metaverse, and the enterprise metaverse. But the industrial metaverse is digital twinning, and making, you know, replica, you know, or or real hardcore training like, you know, fixing an airplane engine. Um, social metaverse is gaming, things like that. But like when you’re trying to collaborate or work together or learn together, that metaverse is still, I don’t know where it’s at. It’s just not here yet. And we’re still trying to kind of figure that out. And they, they were trying to kind of help grapple with that. That was a big, big question. And then owning your own data. They really loved the whole web3 owning your own data. It’s a hard concept to get, you know, to get your head around. That’s why I really wanted to go in the Hyperfi and talk about owning, owning the content and all of that. So and, and then AI, uh, art, and who owns the art, and what is an artist, and all of that. Those are the big questions.

Jeremy Gilberston: Yeah, the identity thing is really interesting. And owning your data. You know, there’s a lot of folks out there, uh, you know, Laminar One, I know, is a, is a blockchain that’s, that’s hyper-focused on identity, especially, especially as of late, what they’re releasing in subsequent white papers. But our light papers, rather. But I, I think that’s an interesting, that I’m curious to see when that’s actually going to come along. But I think because, I think it’s a confluence of a few different things. It’s number one, um, you know, it’s this, it’s the security versus convenience seesaw, right. So I use the analogy of Waze before. You know, I use Waze, and it helps me, you know, navigate traffic, get around things. It’s super convenient, convenience, right. But they see where I go, when I go there, why I’m going there, maybe the extrapolate, right. So I’m giving them that. So there’s that seesaw. But there’s also like how easy is it for me to manage and flip on and off access streams to my data. And I think, do you see, do you see that as kind of a kind of what are the keys to that becoming more of a mainstream occurrence?

Elizabeth Strickler: “I mean, you know, my guess is as good as yours, and I think you just described it really, really well. Which is, you know, convenience versus, you know, being the product and offering your data. Some people think that platforms should be illegal, you know. So, there’s just the idea of a platform, you know, uh, is, is, you know… And I just kind of keep trying to think about the real world and how we kind of function in our own world and where we have public spaces and private spaces and homes and, you know. But, um, yeah, I, I think that it’s going to be a long, you know, process to that because we always choose convenience.”

Mark Fielding: “It’s a powerful drug.”

Jeremy Gilberston: “We’ve got a, we’ve got a great question from Warren in the chat. Uh, to Elizabeth, what are Elizabeth’s thoughts on job opportunities for neurodiverse individuals building the open metaverse, specially as lots of developers and gaming creatives are so prolific in the space? What are you seeing out there related to that?”

Elizabeth Strickler: “I mean, I, I think that, uh, neurodiversity is, you know, a key component to how we build these worlds. We need different perspectives from all kinds of people. And also, because of the different ways that people can work and the different tool sets that are available, I, I think that there’s an opportunity for so many different people to help build whether we’re talking about building 3D worlds or building 3D, you know, building experiences. I think that’s great. I also think that AI is, um, you know, the ability to have an, to much more individualize your learning through, you know, uh, artificial intelligence either by way of tutor or conversant, um, you know, partner or whatever it might be really gets away from that, you know, education is antiquated in the fact that we have this industrial like, you know, first grader, second grader, third grader, who is a, has a third-grade knowledge of whatever, you know, that’s a such a strange thing. You have a Jeremy knowledge of whatever, and Jeremy’s path, which is his story, you know, through the world is completely different to myself, even though we might be like the same age or whatever it might be. What is that? So, I think that diversity, uh, you know, I, I feel like we’re not even diverse enough in our diversity kind of talk. We’re all so unique and diverse and AI really helps us kind of, um, is going to help be very helpful in that regard.”

Jeremy Gilberston: “Yeah, I mean, don’t, don’t get me on the soapbox of industrialized education that hasn’t changed since the 1800s. I mean, you know, it’s, it, it translates into this, going back, it’s a theme, Mark, you and I, we need to write a book on this. I think the theme of hierarchical versus emergence systems as it relates to Tech and Society because thing we, we feel the need as humans to organize things in order to scale them, right? And get them out. They have to be kind of, kind of organized in a way that’s digestible for larger audiences that larger audiences can kind of come in and out of. But we’re also different in, in how we get to passive creating and paths to scaling. I don’t know. It’s, I, I’m with you 100 percent, Elizabeth. I think, I think it’s this whole space is primed for reinvention with, with some of this tech that’s out there. Mark, what’s on your mind? I’ve been talking a lot as always?”

Mark Fielding: “I, I agree with you on the educational 18th-century doomed model of Education which I do think is changing slowly. I want to ask a question on behalf of my daughter and my son who are four and seven and who hopefully they’ll go to university one day. What, what well, I’ve got three questions actually. What do you think their university experience will be like in terms of, a, will it be a hybrid model? Will they spend a lot of time in virtual worlds do you think? Obviously, it might depend on what subjects they choose to do. What do you want to do next? And because no one else has asked it, could you talk about your room that you’re in when you finish, please?”

Elizabeth Strickler: “So, you know, I, I think that, you know, definitely not going to a place every day all day is, is definitely going to happen. Um, so remote, but I think that we’re in the space of like what is better in person and what is better, you know, virtually and then, again, convenience. I would rather be in a room with all three of you right now. I mean, all two of you right now, and you know, but we can’t do that and this is one hour, and this is great, we can make this happen, and this is wonderful. I was just at a conference and, um, Finland and I was supposed to give a remote presentation from Atlanta, but then they said, ‘Well, why don’t you come here?’ I got to go to the three days of the Futures conference and meet all these people. It’s totally way different than if I had just done this online presentation. Um, but we’re still kind of trying to figure out those kinds of things and again, convenience and I think there will be luxury, that people, I think in person will be luxury in a lot of ways. So we’ll kind of see that.”

“Your second question was, what do you want to do next? What’s your name? So, I’m, I’m super excited about, um, amicite is a new education platform that’s incorporating AI and virtual and gaming and social media, but all and not sharing data and all of that. So, I’m really interested in like disrupting education, that is super interesting to me, um, but I think in the fall, I’m going to take a group of students to the aquarium in Atlanta and have them reimagine, uh, digital experiences, virtual experiences that they can pitch as prototypes to the aquarium. So, that’s a super fun thing. They’ve got some problems where they’ve got bottlenecks of certain areas and then they don’t have repeat, um, local visitors. So I want to kind of take this learn earnings and, and do that.”

“Um, yeah, um, oh, and then the room is, so we built this before the pandemic. It was a garage, and I was like, ‘Why, we don’t even care about cars. Why are we even make a garage?’ And so the pandemic came and so this is like the ultimate flexible space. It’s my studio. Um, you can see, we’ve got yoga mats. It’s the workout room, it’s my VR room. We’ve got painting over here, um, so it’s a garage. I also love plants and skeletons, and my son’s bike because he’s home from college.”

Jeremy Gilberston: “Awesome, awesome one. So, yeah, so one, one quick comment on the on the, you know, what’s digital, what’s physical and all of that kind of stuff. I think, I think as humans in general, we do a really good job of coming together in physical situations for marquee moments. Uh, a marquee moment could be a meeting of like minds and Martin. Marquee moment could be a protest, uh, that that is is combating some form of injustice. But what happens is in the, is these marquee moments we come together, and then we, and then it kind of fizzles out because it’s hard to come together. It’s hard to bring energy to something like what I’m calling a marquee moment, but you know, what if this digital layer kind of works as an extension and bridge between marquee moments to keep momentum on great things, whether it’s it’s an injustice, uh, combating an injustice, whether it’s education, whether it’s, you know, mind share, whatever it is. So, that’s, I just thought I’d share that’s my, my mindset on on the balance of that.”

Elizabeth Strickler: “Well, I just want to add one quick thing to that. I know it’s time, time is up, but, um, I use Discord when I teach, and so still, it’s not, you know, an immersive platform, but it is a juicy to keep the class that when I create a class, it’s always creating a community. So for that, you know, four months, it’s a community that we come together and trying to figure out how to create and mostly, I teach online, so trying to create a community. So, Discord and that’s why I think we’re seeing the rise in all of that, you know, juicy conversational space. And I hope that it can become more immersive. But yeah, you’re totally right.”

Jeremy Gilberston: “Well, in the aspect that that I teach as well with the Write to Know You program. In fact, the one that, the one that you were part, we use Discord and I’ve used a bunch of different other platforms as well to facilitate and organize this community that was, you know, over five weeks. But remember, at the end, when we got together like for the first time in that one group, that was like super profound. That felt like really awesome, right? After building in in digital land, but well, hey, Elizabeth, it’s always such a pleasure to talk to you. Your energy, uh, your ideas, the things you’re experimenting with and the results of those experiments are so well organized and thoughtful and can help all of us do a lot of great things. Focusing on the reinvention of education is amazing. If viewers out there, if you haven’t watched Elizabeth’s TED Talk, Mark does some great write-ups at the end of these shows. We’ll be sure to include a lot of the links, maybe some of the stuff that you built, these worlds that you built with this last class if those are shareable, we’d love to see that. And as far as thinking on paper goes, we are up on Spotify, YouTube, and Kik as well. That new platform, if you’re if you missed an episode or you haven’t been able to check out the old ones. Uh, Pico Velasquez was the last guest, was a wonderful talk as well. But, uh, we have some exciting…”

Mark Fielding: “Don’t forget the newsletter, thinking on paper.xyz, and they can sign up, and they get, oh, because there was a lot of links in this episode, and I think some of them will be fascinating to see. A lot of tools, a lot of links. So, go to thinking on paper. XYZ and they’ll get a full breakdown.”

Jeremy Gilberston: “And we have a, we have a couple of wonderful updates that we’re able to share, uh, probably in a week or so. One is related to some special partnerships that we are working on for thinking on paper and we have an episode that we’re gonna do with a lot of our previous guests that should be really, really interesting in form of a kind of a town hall, so to speak. So, stay tuned for all that. My name is Jeremy. That’s Mark, my name’s Mark. That’s, that’s Mark. He’s, uh, battling a combine harvester today. Good luck with your chest recuperation, Elizabeth. Thanks for your time and energy. See you soon, everybody. Bye! Thank you. Bye-bye, right.”

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