Half-Life: Alyx (opens in new tab) may give you nightmares full of head crabs, but it can also be used to give a math lesson to quarantined students. Yup, you read that right.
Charles Coomber, a math teacher in San Diego, posted a video called "Let's Play: Angle Vocabulary Review (in Half-Life: Alyx)" to YouTube on March 23, the day the VR title came out. For those looking for a traditional Let's Play video, you've come to the wrong place, but if you're curious about how your math skills have fared in the decade or so since the seventh grade, this video is for you.
Not only is the 17-minute lesson actually interesting to watch (which is a lot more than I can say about all my math classes from middle school), but it's pretty incredible to see Coomber so comfortable with the game on the day it was released. He knew where to find dry erase markers, a surface to write on (a rooftop greenhouse), and somehow managed to still have that typical "teacher" handwriting while in a VR game. Pretty wild stuff.
And while many fans who are itching to get a look at Valve's latest game might be disappointed that Coomber's video is not a typical Let's Play, if you stick through the entire lesson you'll get a glimpse of Alyx's in-game apartment building and its, um, inhabitants. Plus, you'll have learned a thing or two about geometry, which is more than you can say about most Let's Play videos.
The world is a crazy place right now, but innovations like this one are exactly what we need.