Matt Sparks

CEO, STEM 3000

Matt Sparks is an entrepreneur, consultant, teacher, and aspiring polymath. He has a BA in Literature and an MBA in Entrepreneurship. Growing up in the family video arcade business, by age seven he could beat anyone in Iowa on the game Defender… while playing solely with his feet. He soon began fixing and programming games, and now he’s focused on VR, AR, and MR as training tools; serious games; and various ventures, projects, and inventions. When he’s not rock climbing around Austin, Texas, he’s exploring how new technologies are changing how we teach, learn, and think.


Latest by Matt Sparks

Metafocus: New Technologies Intimidate You? Go to the Birds!
February 28, 2018

Learning new technologies can be intimidating; here’s a fun way to get started in VR, AI, IoT, and 3-D printing—while feeding and studying local birds!

Metafocus: André Thomas Discusses Learning Game Development
January 25, 2018

André Thomas, of Triseum and Texas A&M University, and Matt Sparks discuss the development of learning games—and their integration into higher education.

Metafocus: Using Educational Video Games as College Courses
January 11, 2018

André Thomas, of Triseum and Texas A&M University, talks with Matt Sparks about using sophisticated educational video games as stand-alone college courses.

Metafocus: Education in the Imagination Age
November 30, 2017

Robots and AI excel at repetitive tasks, compiling, analyzing, and using large amounts of data. The Imagination Age is at the door. Here’s how to prepare.

Metafocus: Personalized Lifelong Learning
October 31, 2017

Personalized lifelong learning has been a goal for many years. We are now on the threshold of being able to realize it.

Metafocus: Why I Don't Want You to Know About Robo-Teachers
September 28, 2017

Augmented intelligence applications include learning support. Some already coach humans in highly personalized ways, and the range of what they do is growing.

Metafocus: Making an Educational Game That Lasts 40 Years
August 24, 2017

Do you aspire to build perennial-seller educational video games that people will play for years, gaining skills and insight? Great! Start here.

Metafocus: Serious Games: Three Questions About Unit Economics
July 27, 2017

Unit economics are an important part of making serious games or educational experiences. Answer three basic questions to see if they are financially feasible.

Skills Needed to Create a Serious VR Game with a Game Engine
July 24, 2017

In order to create a serious game or educational experience in virtual reality, you’ll need skills with game engines and related game development software.

Don't Break the Spell: Creating Presence in Virtual Reality
July 17, 2017

Virtual reality relies on the creation of presence. Here are details and resources to help you with the difficult business of illusion.

Metafocus: Seven Ethical Dilemmas of VR in Education
June 29, 2017

We hear VR called an empathy machine. But can VR decrease empathy? What does the research say, if anything? And, if true, what can we do about it?

Metafocus: Is Virtual Reality Safe for Kids?
May 25, 2017

At the South by Southwest (SXSW) and SXSWedu conferences in March, several speakers and panelists brought up the safety of virtual reality for children. Evidently, the risks of VR are weighing on many people’s minds. Is this a reasonable concern?

Metafocus: You Say You Want a(n Educational) Revolution
April 27, 2017

Everybody says it: Virtual reality will revolutionize education. In this column, you’ll find an example lesson plan to demonstrate to teachers and instructional designers just how close VR really is to its moonshot promises of revolutionizing education.

Metafocus: Diversity in VR, Games, and Education
March 30, 2017

“I stood in the center of the room at a VR meetup in Austin, Texas, spinning around, gaping at a sea of young white male faces surrounding me. … I counted only a handful of women in the entire crowd, an even smaller handful of people of color.”

Metafocus: Interview with Maria Johnson of UT Dallas Virtual Reality Social Cognition Training Department
February 28, 2017

The Center for BrainHealth at the University of Texas–Dallas offers a “scientifically based social cognitive training program that uses a motivational virtual-learning platform. Clinicians coach clients through real-life scenarios in a video game–like environment, providing a safe place to practice social interactions in a virtual reality school, home, playground, or coffee shop.”

Metafocus: Gesamtkunstwerk VR Games in eLearning
January 26, 2017

Virtual reality video games incorporate multiple art forms in creative new ways—everything from cinema to theater arts to fashion design and sculpture. Creators are already working on ways to include culinary and olfactory experiences. Current (yes, current) applications include eLearning and therapy. You may never think of eLearning the same way again!

Metafocus: Best Practices for Designing VR Corporate Training Experiences and Games
December 29, 2016

We know a little about what works in virtual reality. We know a lot about what doesn’t. But corporate trainers excited about incorporating VR into their training programs can learn much from VR game designers and developers, 360-degree documentarians, and other entertainment VR content creators. This column explores best practices that you can apply to VR corporate training experiences.

Metafocus: Overview of Virtual Reality and Mixed Reality in eLearning
November 23, 2016

Welcome to Metafocus, the newest monthly column at Learning Solutions Magazine: a column dedicated to virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), mixed/modified/merged reality (MR), games, and gamification as they relate to eLearning, corporate training, education, and instructional design. In this first column, Matt Sparks gives you an overview of VR and MR within eLearning.