VIRTUAL REALITY


"I hear & I forget. I see & I understand.

I do & I remember."

-Confucius


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Definition

* An artificial environment which is experienced through sensory stimuli
(as sights and sounds) provided by computer and in which one's actions partially determine
what happens in the environment (Webster.com)

*An artificial environment created by computers,in which people can immerse
themselves and feel that this artificial reality
really does exist (NOVA)





Summary of Literacy


HISTORY OF VIRTUAL REALITY

Virtual Reality (VR) has been evolving since the 1950s when internet was just a thought. Originally VR was used as simulators for military training and is still used today. VR has expanded to video games online or at home with game consoles for personal use. Other types of VR use helmets, gloves, and other input devices (Foix, D.). There are several free software programs that can be used with students in our classroom. Examples of these are listed in LINKS below. Educators use VR simulations to teach their students how to complete a task in a controlled environment. There is no real danger or consequences if a student makes a mistake. Students can learn from the choices they make and see what the outcomes of their decisions.

USES IN THE CLASSROOM

A study done by the University of Washington on VR showed that boys are more likely to enjoy VR games than girls. All students agreed that they felt as if they were in a real environment (Taylor, 1997). Anther study on VR in the classroom looked at three areas in which students effectively used VR. The first was communication spaces. This means that students used "virtual worlds to communicate information from one person to another" (Hew & Cheung). It can be in the form of chat, voice, or appearance of an avatar. The second area was simulation of space which is the 3-D environment that makes the view feel as if they are really in the environment that is projected. All students in the study felt in control of where they were going in the virtual world. The final one is experiential spaces that gives students the opportunity to "observe the outcomes their actions" (Hew & Cheung).

Traditional classroom settings are being transformed through the use of VR. Students are engaged and playing an active roll in their learning. Self-guided discovery on various subjects help to retain the information and gives an experience students call recall back to. "VR can be easily integrated into any curriculum. It educated, clarifies, and reinforces subject matter because it makes immediate sense to students" (Reid & Skyes, 1999).

START SIMPLE

It is important for teachers to start simple when implementing VR into the curriculum for the first time. Also it is a good idea to inform your parents before using a program and educate them on what precautions are going to be made to keep their children safe online. Teachers need to be knowledgeable in the program before introducing it to the students. Students will make the most of their experience with VR when they have a solid base to begin with, such as a teacher that will be able to help students when they need it. Once you have implemented any type of VR into the class you will notice an increase in motivation. Students can take charge of their learning using this "technology centered approach" (Moreno & Mayer, 2001). In one study VR was used in a science class. Students participated in the VR world to learn about plants. An increase in motivation and cognitive learning was evident at the end of the study (Moreno & Mayer, 2001). Most students may already be involved with VR sites. The interest is there and as educators we can build upon it to give students a learing experience.

References

Hew, K.H. & Cheung, W. S. (2010). Use of three-dimensional (3-D) immersive virtual worlds in K-12 and higher education settings. British Journal of Educational Technology, p. 33-55.

Moreno, R. & Mayer, R.E. (2001). Virtual reality and learning: Cognitive and motivational effects of students' sense of presence. Presented at the Ninth International Conference on Human-Computer Interaction.

Reid,R.D. & Skyes, W. (1999). Virtual reality in schools: The ultimate educational technology. T.H.E. Journal, V26, p. 61-63.

Taylor, W. (1997). Student responses to their immersion in a virtual environment. Human Interface Technology Laboratory.



International Conference on Virtual Reality in Laval, France

The link above will take you to a brief article that describes how new technologies in virtual reality is advancing. It also mentions how "extrmely useful" it can be in schools.

Second Life

Second Life is the most known virtual world. Although much of it's content is for adults, students could use this site with their teacher to hold class. Below is a brief video that shows what virtual reality is in Second Life. It gives you a great overview of what some virtual reality programs offer.






Links

Jumpstart.com
Ages: 3-8 years old
An adventure based virtual world learning environment.
You can create your own avatar, house, and pet.
Main focus is on math, reading, and critical thinking skills.
Parents can access their child's account and chat with other parents.
Free to join for a 15 day trial but can purchase membership with more access.




Tootsville.com
Ages: 6-14 years old
Work around the community to earn "peanuts" to buy items.
Create your own character for a membership fee or choose a pre made one for free.
Parents can manage their child's account and need to give access for their child to chat.
Free to join but can purchase membership to have more access.Teacher Materials for Tootsville
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Whyville.net
Ages: Elementary and Middle School
Learner centered, hands on, inquiry based learning with a focus on math and science.
Create own character, own land, build a house, chat, and play simulation games.
Works with a variety of institutes (Getty, Ocean institute) to bring educational content to virtual world.
Free to use and join.



WiglingtonandWenks.com
Ages: Elementary
Travelers go around the world in this virtual world to meet famous people, places, geography, environment, inventions, and animals. Wigling and Wenks was originally a children's book before it was adopted into a virtual world.
Parents can overlook their child's activity.
Free to use but can purchase a membership to access more content.








Created by Melissa Flores