Pedagogical Theory for Virtual Reality in Education
Tuesday, June 27, 2017
Author: Mark C. Yap, ME.d.
Virtual reality (VR) starts with a good foundation with students being consumers of existing content by providers. Google Expeditions is one great example of how to get started with viewing 360° content. Cardboard devices are affordable, but do require a qualified smartphone to display the content. This could work well in schools with BYOD mobile devices or those who can afford multiple units.
The next phase is the middle ground. Once students are comfortable with using the viewers, the next phase is to have them create content. CRDG IT has created a compact backpack that contains all of the tools students need to begin creating. Using place-based learning, along with student centered learning, and student generated content allows them to begin to understand why they may choose 360° video over traditional video methods. Achieving mastery of understanding of content creation and being able to visualize creating in 360° environments is key.
The top tier phase is where 3D animation comes into play. 3D animation hardware is not cheap, and should have a defined purpose before purchasing and implementing at this phase. A well structured curriculum should be in place to guide and motivate students at this level.
This past school year (2017–2018), Richard Tran, Principal Investigator worked with the IT team and Educational Technology Specialist at the University Laboratory School, a public charter school in Honolulu, Hawaiʻi to being pilot testing 360° VR video creation. The second language program was selected and professional development was provided to the participating teachers. The Spanish instructor had great ideas of how to create examples of 360° VR videos to inspire her students. She was able to take the VR backpack to Madrid, Spain and captured some amazing footage.
In the coming school year (2017–2018), implementation will begin, as well as a formalized research.