Beyond Pokemon: Virtual and Augmentative Reality for STEM

Location: Room 303AB

Listen and learn

[Listen and learn : Lecture]

Tuesday, June 27, 12:15–1:15 pm
Location: Room 303AB

Dr. Amber Rowland   Sean Smith  
Virtual or augmentative reality is here to stay! Now, how do we use it for meaningful instruction? We'll focus on VR and AR to develop social competence in the STEM classroom. Yes, skills to problem solve, learn cooperatively and work in teams.

Skill level: Beginner
Attendee devices: Devices useful
Attendee device specification: Tablet: iOS
Participant accounts, software and other materials: apps
Focus: Digital age teaching & learning
Topic: Innovative learning environments
Grade level: 6-12
Subject area: STEM/STEAM
ISTE Standards: Students : Creative communicator
Teachers : Facilitate and inspire student learning and creativity
Administrators : Visionary leadership

Proposal summary

Purpose & objective

This presentation will feature a virtual reality (VR) experience to teach social competence for students with disabilities, particularly those with high functioning autism spectrum disorder (HFA) and Learning Disabilities (LD) within the demands of the middle school science classroom.

Developing STEM skills requires a complementary array of social skills. Effective teaching and learning of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) practices supports the importance of social interaction and discourse among students (NGSS Lead States, 2013). As recommended in A Framework for K-12 Science Education, teachers, who successfully implement the NGSS, support students in individual and collaborative sense-making both for learning academic content and developing professional workforce skills (NRC, 2012). These skills and social competencies transfer to postsecondary success and citizenship for our 21st Century society (OVAE, 2012). To meaningfully include students with HFA and LD in science education courses, explicit instruction in social skills is needed first to develop a skill, and equally important, to generalize to the social demands of the science classroom. Although HFA and LD learners tend to be academically similar or more talented than their non-disabled peers, they often are at a disadvantage due to poor social competence. Thus, investment in developing science mastery (e.g., NGSS) in the absence of an understanding about how to foster social competence (e.g., collaboration, team-based problem solving, communication) results in poor STEM outcomes for this subgroup of students. This presentation will explore approaches for social skill development in a meaningful manner.


Introduction - Setting the Stage for Social Competence Development through VR and AR for the STEM classroom. This will offer the essential challenges, what is needed, and how VR/AR can assist as a solution (15 minutes)
Interactive Presentation - Next, we will demonstrate an array of VR and AR examples that allow the student to develop social competence within the demands of the science curriculum (20 minutes).
Bringing it Home- Finally, we will explore ways to extend these resources for next steps in social skill development for the demands of the science classroom (20 minutes).

Supporting research

Bybee, Powell, & Trowbridge (2014), in their examination of skills essential to learning content in science, identified the following critical areas: a) acquisitive: gathering information; b) organizational: putting information in systematic order; c) creative: developing new approaches and ways of thinking; d) manipulative: handling materials and instruments; and e) communicative: transferring information correctly from one experimenter to another. Each of these areas is replete with social skills requirements, with the greatest emphasis on the acquisitive (i.e., asking, responding, formulating questions), and communicative (i.e., explaining ideas, reporting, criticizing, interpreting, keeping on topic, exhibiting patience) skills. Similarly, Windschitl (2009), in his National Academies of Science Workshop on 21st Century Skills, underscored the importance of students having adequate social skills, including communication, problem solving, and self-management in learning science content. For example, cooperative learning, an evidence-based strategy that promotes higher student learning outcomes, is often used in STEM instruction because a) people learn best when they collaborate with others and actively process meaningful information and b) there is a higher level of knowledge retention in cooperative learning as compared to teacher lecture (75-90% and 5%, respectively) (cf. Moore, 2005; Pratt, 2003).



Dr. Amber Rowland, University Of Kansas, ALTEC

Sean Smith, University of Kansas

learning starts here

San Antonio

June 25-28, 2017

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