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Using 360 VR Videos for STEM Career Development

Explore and create
Pre-registration required

Explore and create : BYOD

Tuesday, June 25, 11:45 am–12:45 pm
Location: 115C

Dr. yang jiang   Dr. Vitaliy Popov  
Explore how 360 VR videos can be used for career development in classrooms. Experiment with a series of videos and then learn about student feedback on the same exercise. Discuss relevant best practices and build a lesson collaboratively.

Audience: Curriculum/district specialists, Teachers, Technology coordinators/facilitators
Skill level: Beginner
Attendee devices: Devices required
Attendee device specification: Smartphone: Android, iOS
Participant accounts, software and other materials: YouTube application required (browser will not work). Bring headphones. If you have a Google Cardboard, please bring to session.
Focus: Digital age teaching & learning
Topic: Augmented, mixed and virtual realities
Grade level: 6-8
Subject area: Career and technical education, STEM/STEAM
ISTE Standards: For Educators:
  • Stay current with research that supports improved student learning outcomes, including findings from the learning sciences.
  • Dedicate planning time to collaborate with colleagues to create authentic learning experiences that leverage technology.
  • Explore and apply instructional design principles to create innovative digital learning environments that engage and support learning.
Related exhibitors: Jacobs Institute for Innovation in Education, University of San Diego

Proposal summary

Purpose & objective

Many teachers and scholars have been exploring and questioning the value that integrating Virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) into educational curriculums can have. In particular, VR and AR are said to have the potential to profoundly transform and impact science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education. The immersive and three-dimensional nature of these technologies allow students to interact with and visualize complex STEM concepts and environments, providing the channel for students to access learning experiences that would traditionally be restricted by a student’s natural visual-spatial skills and the school’s resources. Furthermore, there is currently a lack of well-prepared STEM professionals, especially those from a minority background; the development of a STEM curriculum that includes VR and AR, therefore, can contribute to the building of an equitable and diverse STEM pipeline.

However, there are many challenges to integrating VR and AR within the classroom. In our NSF-funded study we tried to create virtual reality experiences that expose students to a variety of STEM career paths. Specifically, we provided 5-7 minute “day in the life” VR experiences for a number of STEM professions (see link. The experiences will put students into an engaging life-like situation that helped them to think, feel, and act like a specific type of professional (e.g. architect, laboratory scientist, NASA engineer, Google data center engineer etc.). From these VR experiences, students were expected to gain both an understanding of the career, itself, as well as how they personally align with that career, in terms of their strengths, interests, and values.

In this session, therefore, we aim to give our participants STEM-oriented VR experiences and, utilizing student feedback on the exact same exercise, engage them in a discussion of the benefits and challenges, as well as possible solutions, of such experiences. Specifically, we will have them use their smartphones and Google Glasses (which we will provide) to view a series of 360 VR videos which investigate different STEM careers and their corresponding work environments. Then, we will present feedback collected from 5 focus groups with middle school students who tried this activity at a recent STEM summer camp. The students noted several benefits, as well as challenges, to the use of 360 VR videos for learning about careers. We will then facilitate group discussions and sharing organized around the issues that were brought up by students. The session will end with participants brainstorming around ways to best utilize such resources in their classroom, given the challenges and benefits discussed.

As a result of this BYOD session, participants should be able to 1) understand students’ experience of using 360 VR videos for STEM 2) identify challenges and benefits of using 360 VR videos for learning experiences; and 3) more thoughtfully design similar VR learning experiences.


The workshop will be divided into 3 sections: 1) the VR experience (15 minutes); 2) presentation and discussion around students’ feedback (25 minutes); 3) brainstorming possible lessons (20 minutes).

For the first section, participants will be given a choice of six 360 VR experiences. They will be grouped based on their choice of VR experience. Once in their groups, they will spend 5 minutes on their chosen VR experience using their smartphone and Google Glasses (we will provide these). Then, they will spend one minute rotating to the group next to them, after which they will spend 5 minutes exploring one more VR experience.

Then, for the second section, they will sit down with their group and discuss for 5 minutes what they liked and gained as well as what they disliked and felt challenged by in the VR experiences. These will be written down on a sheet that we provide. Next, we will present our feedback from the middle school students that we tried this VR exercise with during a two week NSF-funded summer enrichment program that focused on developing career pathways for minority students in STEM. For instance, one of the highlights from the student feedback was that seeing the work environments made them much more excited and motivated to pursue a STEM career because they had a clearer idea of what they would be able to do through that career. As we present, we will ask participants to mark down how many of their own noted benefits and struggles with the VR experience match those of the students; this is in order to keep them engaged and develop a sense of connection between the students’ experiences and their own. Lastly, once we are done presenting for 10 minutes, we will use the final 10 minutes for discussion amongst their group and then share out with the whole session.

In the last section, the groups will work to design a possible lesson plan around their VR experience, taking into account the discussion in the second section. They will have 15 minutes to do this, and in the last 5 minutes we will have a share out of the proposed lesson to the whole session.

Supporting research

Cecil, J., Ramanathan, P., & Mwavita, M. (2013, October). Virtual Learning Environments in engineering and STEM education. In Frontiers in Education Conference, 2013 IEEE (pp. 502-507). IEEE.

Haluck, R. S., & Krummel, T. M. (2000). Computers and virtual reality for surgical education in the 21st century. Archives of surgery, 135(7), 786-792.
Keskin, N. O., & Metcalf, D. (2011). The current perspectives, theories and practices of mobile learning. Turkish Online Journal of Educational Technology-TOJET, 10(2), 202-208.

Moreno, R., & Mayer, R. E. (2002). Learning science in virtual reality multimedia environments: Role of methods and media. Journal of educational psychology, 94(3), 598.

Potkonjak, V., Gardner, M., Callaghan, V., Mattila, P., Guetl, C., Petrović, V. M., & Jovanović, K. (2016). Virtual laboratories for education in science, technology, and engineering: A review. Computers & Education, 95, 309-327.

Potter, A., & Sikorsky, J. (2018, January 31). Behind the goggles: Students can use VR to explore career pathways. Edscoop. Retrieved from https://edscoop.com/behind-the-goggles-students-can-use-vr-to-explore-career-pathways
Thornton, T., Ernst, J. V., & Clark, A. C. (2012). Augmented reality as a visual and spatial learning tool in technology education. Technology and Engineering Teacher, 71(8), 18-21.

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Dr. yang jiang, Jacobs Institute
Dr. Vitaliy Popov, JI/University of San Diego

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