Ithaca College’s virtual reality (VR) technology allows students of all learning styles to grasp course concepts in a 3D environment, potentially making them stronger learners and better college candidates. job.
CI Immersive is a college program that gives students and teachers access to virtual reality equipment. The program is a branch of the Center for Creative Technology (CCT), which also runs a learning lab, a digital stories lab and makerspace and hosts workshops in different skills including soldering, digital design, and cryptocurrency. Through IC Immersive, students can experience virtual reality equipment to play games and professors can partner with the program to integrate virtual reality into their lessons. VR Technology consists of headsets that connect to digital programs allowing users to enter an immersive three-dimensional environment in which they can walk around and interact, similar to the real world.
Becky Lane, associate director of learning and creative technologies, said IC Immersive has previously partnered with education courses that allow students to enter the VR space and practice teaching lessons. . An art history class also used virtual reality to see the murals in their real environment.
“We invited some of the [education] students came back to talk about their experiences and they were really excited to have the knowledge to bring to their classrooms,” Lane said. “Knowing that they automatically understand how this technology works just puts them on a different level when they go to try to find a job.”
According to EdScoopa survey carried out in 2018 by Internet2 out of 350 universities showed that 27% had active VR programs, while 53% planned to launch VR programs by 2021.
Now, IC Immersive is partnered with Eber Beck and Sanghee Moon, who are both assistant professors in the Department of Physical Therapy and have co-designed a neuroscience course with a virtual reality lab.
Lan said that in the fall of 2021, Beck was teaching remotely from Brazil and using virtual reality to teach virtual anatomy on the college campus.
“It was really cool because you’re in this lab, and you can just dissect different parts of the brain, hold it, look at it, put it back together, and have it talk about everything,” Lane said.
Beck said the idea of the lesson was to teach something the students had previously struggled with in a new way.
“It’s really hard to see the deep structures inside the brain,” Moon said. “That’s why we see some benefits of this virtual reality, because we can actually show these tiny little structures.”
Moon said VR technology also helps tactile learners process course content and is a good complement to seeing real slices of the human brain.
According to a study published in the Journal of Education in Science, Environment and Health, teachers who used virtual reality in STEM lessons found that it kept students interested and motivated, inspired creativity, supported individualized learning and helped students understand complex ideas.
Junior physical therapy major Carolyn Langer participated in the anatomy lab in the fall of 2021. She said the lab has facilitated assessments on equipment.
“It was useful to put [the structures] in three-dimensional space so that potentially having them back in two-dimensional space–dimensional space was easier to visualize,” Langer said. “I’m a super visual learner and a lot of my classmates are too, so I think this was helpful for a lot of people.”
Langer said she can see future applications for virtual reality in her studies, and in some parts of the world virtual reality is already being used for physical therapy, so it was interesting to learn more about the technology as it emerges.
According to iMotions, a human behavior research platform, VR physiotherapy is being studied as a way to make the experience more engaging, interesting and personalized for the patient. In virtual reality, physiotherapy can also be enhanced by using sensors to track changes in patient mobility or other injury-related functions.
Senior Wren Andujar is a Creative Technology Specialist at CTC. They said they could see many ways virtual reality could be helpful for different types of learners, especially neurodivergent people.
“Being physically present and concretely participating instead of being talked to by a teacher — it would definitely help students who need more to be directly involved in what they are learning and help them achieve the same level of success that any other student would be able to achieve on their own,“said Andujar.
Moon said the teachers plan to continue the VR anatomy program in the fall of 2022. They are working to review the experience, fix any issues, and potentially expand the program to teach more anatomical structures and more students at a time.
Lane said she is looking to bring more attention to IC Immersive and incorporate virtual reality into more courses in a way that adds to students’ learning experiences.
“With a little creativity, we can find a way to use [VR] it’s meaningful,” Lane said. “I think that’s the key — you don’t want to use it just because you can.