New Perspectives in Science Education

Edition 13

Accepted Abstracts

Virtual Reality Explorers

Joseph Walsh, Institute of Technology Tralee (Ireland)

Daniel Riordan, Institute of Technology Tralee (Ireland)


This paper will discuss an active project that is centered around the development and implemention of a teaching tool for the Primary Language Curriculum – English and Irish – in Ireland, through an enhanced learning environment utilising Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality (VR/AR) tools. Other subject areas such as History, Geography, Science and the Arts, will also be investigated over the course of the study. Through the use of a VR/AR tool the pupils benefit from rich opportunities in experiential learning which will be inclusive of all learning styles, needs and abilities. This project and the virtual reality experience it provides will engage and motivate all learners and provide them with the opportunity to engage with the wonders of our world without leaving the classroom. The project uses VR enabled low-cost digital devices for the creation of a virtual, highly engaging collective learning environment for each student in a class, that can be controlled by the teacher. The teacher leads the progress of the students through the environment and can control the pace and level of advancement through the environment to suit the learning requirements of the syllabus and student ability. The system is based around the Google Expeditions software, which is available for use by schools, free of charge. This software is run on low cost, tablet style devices, housed in a low-cost headset ‘holder’ with all units being tied together through a wifi gateway. All content within the system can be fully vetted and controlled by the teacher at all times from a ‘master’ tablet. The main advantages of using VR in the classroom are as follows, (1) Active rather than passive experience, (2) Immersive experience means no distractions, (3) Immediate engagement: useful in today’s world of limited attention spans, (4) Exploration and hands on approach aids with learning and retention, (5) Helps with understanding complex subjects/theories/concepts and (6) Suited to all types of learning styles, e.g. visual. The system is to be trialled over a three year period within the classrooms of 5 primary schools (of up to 30 kids) with classes ranging from 8 years to 12 years.

Keywords: Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality;


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