The Future of Education

Edition 14

Accepted Abstracts

The Umbrella School: An Inquiry-Creativity VR School

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

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


While the technology of the Umbrella School is still relatively new in education, the pedagogical theory that informs this VR school is not new. It  is, in fact, informed by John Dewey’s theory of experience which he published in 1938. Informed by Dewey’s theory of experience, the Umbrella School uses VR technology to present students with authentic learning environments  in which they are confronted with life-like and work-like problems to solve.  For Dewey, then, “experience” is a process of identifying a problem, interacting  with things and people in an effort to solve the problem, and reflecting on how well  our actions/interactions enabled us to solve  the problem or achieve our goal.  In the Umbrella School, students are given the virtual materials, tools and people to help them solve these life-like-work-like problems.  The Umbrella School’s VR experiences are designed to complement and enrich the traditional classroom experience and not replace it. The Umbrella School emphasizes inquiry and creativity and is built “on top of” or “over” the traditional school. 

Key Words: VR education, experiential education



John Dewey, Experience and Education. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1938.

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