#SoTLAdvent: Day 02

Table of Content

  1. Virtual Reality in Education: The Impact of VR Supported Lessons on the Self-Confidence of Postgraduate Diploma in Education (PGDE) Student Teachers
    • Dr Gabriella Rodolico and Dr Lavinia Hirsu
  2. Virtual Reality at the School of Education: from research opportunities to innovative applications
    • Dr Gabriella Rodolico and Dr Lavinia Hirsu
  3. The emotional impact of nature seen through the lenses of Virtual Reality (VR); revealed through the power of expressive art.
    • Dr Gabriella Rodolico and Ms Fiona McGregor
  4. Experiencing picture-books in 3D environments
    • Dr Lavinia Hirsu and Dr Julie McAdam
  5. Song of the Day

Virtual Reality (VR) in Education
A game changer or smoke and mirrors?

VR is one of the most studied emerging innovative technologies used in several fields such as  education, medical training, military training, architectural design learning and more. Emerging evidence has demonstrated that Virtual Reality (VR) supported lessons are able to enhance positive emotions and engagement when compared to more traditional tools such as books and videos and it also has a greater positive impact on learning information integrated into visual modalities when compared to other innovative technology such as Augumented Reality (AR)

However, as VR technologies keep on gaining ground with different groups of learners, we would like to raise a few critical questions about how we want our VR-based future to look like: What kind of relationships human-to-human and human-to-tech would we like to foster? How does VR re-write our pedagogies and learning delivery methods? How much and in what ways do we want to integrate VR-based learning? and more importantly, how do we support in Initial Teacher Education  a VR-informed group of teachers and learners who can not only benefit but shape and co-construct VR worlds to serve their learning needs?

To support this conversation, we would like to offer some examples of the VR supported work we have completed at the School of Education, University of Glasgow. We would be very grateful if you could share your thoughts with us using the discussion box at the end of day 2 .

Virtual Reality in Education: The Impact of VR Supported Lessons on the Self-Confidence of Postgraduate Diploma in Education (PGDE) Student Teachers

Dr Gabriella Rodolico and Dr Lavinia Hirsu

The video below shows a VR supported lesson intervention carried out with 198 PGDE primary student teachers at the School of Education, University of Glasgow, in October 2019.  Pre-Service Teachers attended 2-week sessions and data from 34 PGDE student teachers were collected with an online survey from February 2020 to August 2020. Gabriella and Lavinia are now completing the analysis of data. Findings so far suggest that VR supported lessons may have a positive impact on PSTs’ confidence and learning experience even after a short-term intervention. The overall results contribute to an emergent evidence-based literature that guides practitioners on how to build awareness and confidence, as well as create, use, and implement VR supported learning environments.

Virtual Reality at the School of Education: from research opportunities to innovative applications

Dr Gabriella Rodolico and Dr Lavinia Hirsu

VR facilities have been installed at the School of Education from the set up of an Edify pod, as part of the larger Project Mobius , a dedicated VR room that will enable staff and ECRs to explore VR-based technologies, to the organisation of dedicated workshops to develop innovative lessons that draw on the benefits of virtual environments.

To facilitate access and use of the new Edify Pod, Lavinia and Gabriella organised a 3-day training programme with staff members from the School of Education who expressed an interest in using VR for their own teaching and learning contexts. The 3-day workshops gave participants the opportunity to familiarise themselves with the VR equipment, consider issues of health and safety when using these technologies, develop their own lessons and consider the pedagogical approaches that would best fit their teaching contexts. The participants had access to a wide range of virtual environments and lessons, ranging from the exploration of mountains and ocean beds to lessons in physics, maths, cultural heritage and picture-books. The participants also had the opportunity to design their own classroom spaces and reflect on their own identity as teachers.

The emotional impact of nature seen through the lenses of Virtual Reality (VR); revealed through the power of expressive art.

–A case study based on In-Service teachers’ practical experience to enhance Pre-Service teachers’ learning experience.

Dr Gabriella Rodolico and Ms Fiona McGregor

In these series of media, Fiona and Gabriella will discuss a form of creative pedagogy based on Virtual Reality (VR) supported lessons within the topic of learning for sustainability, enhanced by art-based techniques to express emotions. Participants were In Service teachers from a mainstream and an Additional Support for Learning (ASN) school.

Intervention in schools

Teachers from the selected schools engaged in a hands-on Virtual Reality (VR) session by exploring nature. They also practised several Expressive Art strategies supported by professionals with the aim to analyse and try new ways to express their emotions. The same teachers then were asked to implement the same workshops with their own classes by reflecting on what they experienced, and by tailoring material and resources around the needs of their own pupils with a focus on how exploring own emotions, as human beings when immersed in Nature, could support the understanding of sustainability issues.

In-Service teachers experience and reflections have been captured in 2 creative pedagogy artefacts: A Digital Story Telling (DST) and a Virtual tour (available below). These tools have been implemented in ITE courses to showcase good practice and support student teachers to observe and reflect on  In-Service colleagues’ learning experience.

Experiencing picture-books in 3D environments

Dr Lavinia Hirsu and Dr Julie McAdam

Dr. Julie McAdam and Dr. Lavinia Hirsu have conducted a project during June 2021 – January 2022 where they aimed to research the process of creating VR prototypes that could be used for developing multimodal literacies in different educational contexts.

In the first stage of the project, a two-page prototype of an existing picturebook (Amma Osha by Fatma Sharafedine, published by Kalimat) was re-designed as a 3D experience with the help of a team of 3D artists from City of Glasgow College. In the second stage of the project, the researchers organised a hackathon over the course of 3 intense days that brought together three teams of 3D artists and storytellers with expertise in children’s literature to co-create 3D-based picturebooks. The storytellers provided the story and guidance on building the narrative based on their previous experience and knowledge. The 3D artists worked closely with the storytellers to build up the elements of the story to create the VR environment of the story. The three resulting stories (Uprooted, Simon the Sloth, Where are you from?) demonstrate the intensive learning space that enable storytellers and 3D artists to use their creativity and multimodal resources to design rich learning experiences. The research team is particularly interested in the mediating processes that emerged during the co-design of the stories: how meaning was constructed, how 2D vs. 3D elements have been negotiated and agreed on, and what opportunities for literacy learning and teaching become possible through VR.

This project opens up great future venues for exploring VR as a medium for teaching not only STEM subjects but also literacy and multimodality, narrative creation, and meaning-making practices in this new and exciting environment. 

Song of the day

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