Mona Voelkel

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Look Around! A Learning Framework for VR


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I was very excited and honored that my VR lesson was included in a “Getting Smart” article, “3 Ideas for Using Virtual Reality with Place Based Ed” by Emily Liebtag.

This article touched on the use of VR before and after trips to actual destinations but the same thinking can be applied to a completely virtual learning cycle.  Trips to grand locations are not always possible in reality but much can be learned by “visiting” these places virtually.

VR contributes to a democracy of experiences.  A teacher may not be able to provide students with an actual tour of the Grand Canal of Venice but, through VR, students can gain a greater experience of this place than ever before possible.

The use of a single powerful VR image, repurposed for different points in the learning cycle, can provide an engaging visual scaffold for learning.  Here is a learning framework that can be used with any VR image:

VR Learning Framework

ENGAGE Working in partnerships, students could be given a blank VR image and asked to explore and then “tag” it with at least ten questions, including appropriate attribution for the original image.
EXPLORE Students explore the Abaiang Atoll guided lesson or other teacher-created VR lesson, responding to teaching points and capturing their thinking in notebooks or responding within the image, using Google apps to other interactive links.
EXPLAIN Students would then be asked to return to the original image tagged with their questions and create an updated tagged VR image which explains what they have learned. 

Students can add tags that:

*respond to their original self-generated questions

*showcase learning through artwork/videos/captions/reports/blog posts/commercials created by the students that demonstrate understanding.

*add ideas generated from the self-guided lesson.



Students would be asked to research to find or create another 360 image of a place that has been or will be impacted by the teaching theme (global warming, in this example)) and tag it with information and anaysis.
EVALUATE Students and teachers would use checklists, rubrics and/or feedback forms to evaluate learning and use feedback to improve VR projects.

(A “I used to think….  but now, I think…” scaffold may be one option for reflection)

Students would reflect on the one or two VR learning artifacts and write a ½ page reflection, perhaps in response to the unit’s  Essential Questions, which could be posted along with the tagged VR panoramas in a digital portfolio.  

Some of the next steps for VR are to compile a list of easily searchable databases of VR images that can be used in the classroom, as well as creating lesson bank for VR lessons that includes mentor images and student samples.

Would anyone like to use a VR lesson in an upcoming lesson?  I would love the opportunity to partner with you and share ideas!

Look around!  The future of VR in the classroom looks bright, don’t you think?




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