The Future of Education

Edition 14

Accepted Abstracts

The Umbrella School: An Inquiry-Creativity VR School

Robert O Slater, The University of Louisiana at Lafayette (United States)

Dorothy F. Slater, The University of Louisiana at Lafayette (United States)


The most important issues that challenge K-12 educators today can be put in the form of a practical question: How do we create schools that minimize inequality while maximizing freedom in an orderly way, that have a curricula that go from big ideas to details and facts instead of the other way round, that take as their goal not simply the teaching of knowledge and skills, but the discovery and development of individual talent, that teach students to look for how things are connected, that build on what we already have and, finally, that protect and preserve the dignity of the learner?  The answer that this session proposes is an  "Umbrella School." An Umbrella school is a hybrid-virtual-reality-inquiry-creativity school designed to address the issues that this practical question highlights.  It enhances standard, face-to-face traditional classrooms by using VR headsets to invite in from anywhere experts in the traditional subject areas who can use VR to introduce K-12 students to large-scale, systems phenomena as in, for example, bio- and eco-systems.  These guest VR speakers then demonstrate how students can work in small and large teams to change and manipulate the virtual reality in a series of what-if scenarios to test hypotheses about how changes in one or more variables might influence change in the overall system.  Students are taught how to ask questions about the virtual phenomena, formulate hypotheses, gather information and experiment by manipulating variables.  Students are teamed so as to minimize marginalization.  They are free to try out different hypotheses about how changes in one aspect of the VR environment would affect another and see for themselves how things are connected.

Keywords: VirtualReality Inquiry creativity


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