, Volume 1, Issue 1, pp 33-39

Learning from virtual reality applications in education

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Abstract

This paper presents an overview of the uses of virtual reality in education. It draws particularly on three projects, the West Denton High School in Newcastle, the Human-Computer Interface Technology Laboratory's summer school in Seattle and the Shepard School for children with special needs in Nottingham. In each of these projects, there is distinctive relationship between the learning experience and the experience of virtual worlds. Here, the concern will not be with the pedagogical value of these projects, which have been documented elsewhere, but with the wider contribution that they can make to our understanding of virtual environments. To do this, it examines in each case how the virtual reality systems are integrated into the curriculum, how these systems relate to the learning process, the usability of the systems, and the possibilities and constraints of the virtual worlds. By comparing these with other emerging virtual reality applications, such as entertainment games, it can be seen that different systems present a variety of possibilities for constructing presence in, and interaction with, virtual environments.