Erica Southgate released a book titled Virtual Reality in Curriculum and Pedagogy: Evidence from Secondary on Classrooms May 19, 2020, which covers the theory and practice of using VR in classrooms. Southgate is an Associate Professor of Emerging Technologies for Education at the University of New Castle in Australia, and she is focusing on going beyond training and into applying the Deeper Learning Framework for using VR to help teach higher-order thinking skills, collaboration, academic mindset, self-directed learning, metacognition, and communication skills.
I had a chance to talk with her on the eve of her book release to talk about her approach to pedagogy in VR, her lessons learned from using Minecraft VR in classrooms to have students create their own content, some of the ethical considerations for VR in the classroom, and moving beyond the Remember, Understand, Apply, and Analyze of Bloom’s taxonomy to do more Evaluation and Creation.
She also explains a bit of her Actioned Pedagogy for Immersive Learning (APIL) as a middle-range technology integration framework that tries to provide more pragmatic suggestions for integrating immersive technologies that are more specific than the more universal, and context-independent approaches of the Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge (TPACK) model by Mishra and Koehler (2006) and the Substitution, Augmentation, Modification, and Redefinition (SAMR) models by Puentedura (2010). Here’s a table from her book, which provides a bit more context:
Another interesting reference that I wanted to share from Southgate’s book is Dede, Jacobson, Richards’ chapter in “Introduction: virtual, augmented, and mixed realities in education” from 2017 that talks about four types of psychological immersion:
1. Actional immersion: Empowering users to initiate action or discover new capabilities that can have novel or intriguing consequences.
2. Symbolic/narrative immersion: Triggering powerful meanings and associations that can motivate learners or create affective or intellectual connections that can deepen mental models of what is to be learnt.
3. Sensory immersion: Immersive displays or headsets can create a panoramic egocentric view of a virtual world or objects that can be harnessed for procedural (knowing how) knowledge or connecting declarative (know what) knowledge with spatial learning.
4. Social immersion: Sharing reasoning to get things done and learning along the way with others.
This has a lot of resonance with the four types of presence I refer to as active presence, emotional presence, embodied & environmental presence, and mental and social presence, which I’ve talked about with VR researcher Dustin Chertoff before here.
Southgate’s book Virtual Reality in Curriculum and Pedagogy has a great balance between the theory and practice, and as a researcher she’d like to see more industry support to continue to do in situ research within classrooms to get more data and insights for how to integrate immersive technologies into secondary education environments.
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