Applying Virtual Reality Technology to Geoscience Classrooms
Keywords:Virtual reality; Geoscience; Geoscience Education; Learning gain; Classroom; Smartphone
Applying virtual reality (VR) technology to geoscience classrooms provides a new way to engage students. Visualizing geological information in 360-degree allows students to experience processes of the Earth and makes them feel like they are outside the classroom. This paper describes a convenient technique for making 360-degree VR environments specifically for geoscience classrooms. In comparison to traditional classrooms, this teaching method enables students to more easily comprehend how geological features occur in nature through a series of 360-degree outcrop scenes and 360-degree infographic images. The learning from using this VR environment in geoscience classrooms at the high-school level is assessed. Results from three different high schools show that the learning gain of students is improved by 22 – 28% and the overall average post-test scores are significantly higher than pre-test scores at the p = 0.05 level after using the VR environment in the classrooms. This technique could potentially benefit any science classroom and have applications in other disciplines requiring similar visualization techniques.