This 40 minute interactive session will evaluate Virtual Reality (VR) experiences that have been created with increasingly ubiquitous tools by academic staff and learning technologists. In addition, delegates will explore how the VR techniques demonstrated can be applied to their own learning and teaching. Applications in different contexts such as Engineering, archaeological fieldwork, and orientation to new spaces will be discussed.
VR is becoming an established and recognised method for creating highly immersive and pedagogically valuable learning experiences, when appropriately designed (McElearney, 2005). Historically, the cost to create and view these experiences, previously meant that using VR has been limited to those with ample resources. Now however, new technologies are making VR a much more achievable option in learning.
It is becoming easier to create and repurpose VR content. This is supported by a variety of technologies that can now be used to capture content, create interactions and share VR content, with little technical expertise. It is also much easier to deploy this content.
For example, mobile devices combined with Google cardboard enable learners to easily consume VR content. Equally, technologies such as gaming engines enable the deployment of full, three-dimensional modelled environments to be used by learners on mobile devices.
The session will begin by outlining the background and pedagogical context of VR in education, exploring two case studies in more depth. These case studies will show how different approaches to VR have emerged from discipline specific research literature, and how advances in technology have enabled these to evolve from niche specialised applications, into those that allow democratised repurposing of content. In doing so, these niche applications are becoming a “new normal” which can can be exploited in real educational contexts. These case studies begin by investigating whether archaeologists could use emergent VR techniques to provide an embodied phenomenological encounters with prehistoric monuments, and then presents how, a decade later, these approaches can be used to enhance field work experiences with our students.
The applications are critically reviewed against Fowler’s (2015) extension of Dalgarno and Lee’s (2010) model, which is designed to help educators think about the pedagogic value and affordances of VR experiences when designing and evaluating these experiences. Preliminary evaluation from learners will also be presented. This will outline how such a model can help academic staff work with this emerging technology to create pedagogically valuable experiences that maximises the potential that VR can offer.
Using their own device, delegates will have the opportunity to interact with educational VR experiences, via Google cardboards, and freely available apps. They will be asked to evaluate these experiences and consider possible applications of VR within their own context.
As part of the session participants will have the opportunity to:
Explore potential applications of VR in their own disciplines
Use a framework to critique educational applications of VR
Evaluate suitability of tools that can be used to create VR experiences
McElearney (2005) Digital Archaeology and the Neolithic of the Peak (Unpublished PhD thesis, The University of Sheffield)
Fowler, C (2015) Virtual Reality and Learning: Where Is the Pedagogy?