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Saturday, March 18 • 2:00pm - 2:30pm
Immersive Reality in STEM Education

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This presentation will showcase current developments in immersive technologies at Penn State focusing on sensory integration and place learning (field trips). Unlike physical environments, there are several sensory inputs such as sight (immersion), sound, taste, touch, and smell that remain elusive to replicate in cyber-learning environments. There exists a knowledge gap in terms of the magnitude of these sensory inputs that are needed to enable cyber-learning environments to be comparable to the learning outcomes achievable in physical environments. Advancements in technologies such as immersive virtual reality hardware (e.g., Oculus Rift) and haptics (e.g., haptic gloves) have enabled the recreation of certain human sensory inputs (i.e., immersion and tactile), once limited to physical environments, to be achievable in cyber-learning environments. Towards the goal of achieving individually customized human skill/knowledge acquisition in cyber-learning environments, part one of this presentation will explore what combination of human sensory inputs are critical/unnecessary for certain learning/training tasks. Part two will focus on recent developments in accessing remote locations in past, present, and future through immersive technologies, will discuss workflow options for environmental sciences, and will introduce both lab-based and mobile solutions for inducing a paradigm shift in place communication. Field trips are an essential part in many disciplines taught in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) education inside and outside the United States such as geography, geosciences, and architecture. Field trips foster embodied experiences of places where students can be situated into an informal learning environment. However, field trips are underutilized due to numerous constraints (cost, accessibility, safety), a situation that current mass development in immersive technologies promises to eliminate. We will demonstrate a range of field trip solutions we recently developed from exploring Iceland’s Thrinukagigur volcano to informal settlements in Rio, Brazil. Our most recent focus has turned to evaluation of the value immersive technologies add to student experiences beyond the usual wow effect.

Saturday March 18, 2017 2:00pm - 2:30pm
Room 105

Attendees (7)