OH, East is East, and West is West, and never the twain shall meet,
Till Earth and Sky stand presently at God’s great Judgment Seat;
But there is neither East nor West, Border, nor Breed, nor Birth,
When two strong men stand face to face, tho’ they come from the ends of the earth!

Rudyard Kipling’s epic poem identifies a fundamental tenet of meeting at the crossroads of our journeys: all people are equal regardless of life circumstances. We bring to those connections only what we have with us. All else stands naked in the light of our intersection. What we bring to those crossroads is a choice.

The same holds true in every educational setting. We have choices in how we approach those crossroads, how we enter, how we interact, how we leave, and where we go afterwards. We can choose to bring the baggage of our prior understanding with us, or we can choose to leave it behind.

As educators, we can exert influence on those crossroads. We can represent a positive, unadulterated, and reaffirming experience, providing new perspectives on how to view and learn from their past experiences. Or, we can let our charges enter the scene carrying the weight of past experiences which can blind them to the transformative power of connections. How we prepare our students prior to entering those crossroads is as important as the learning experience itself.

The Japanese call this “ba” or “basho”: the concept that the place of learning impacts the ability to describe experience based on dichotomies of subject–object, idealism–realism, or experience–reality. “Ba” also provides a means to overcome the biases that we bring to learning based on these dichotomies. It is being epic, going beyond the stage, forming new connections and opening one’s mind to possibilities that are not pre-defined in either black and white or shades of grey, but in vibrant color.

Virtual environments allow us to expand and relate concepts that we cannot explore through traditional means. With their richly dimensional tool-sets of experiences, we can expose learners to mind-opening, enlightening knowledge. They are crossroads of place and substance, which we hope you will share with us on this journey of discovery.