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Initial Artifact & Documentation: Exploring Science through a New Lens

Our artifact is an iMovie trailer summarizing our inquiry question with images of students at the Northern BC Regional Science Fair. They show students presenting, using the virtual reality equipment (Oculus Go headsets) to play the game “The Hive” and experiencing augmented reality with the app “Quiver.”

Our inquiry is around how we can use virtual and augmented reality to help increase student opportunities for place-based learning when in a rural setting. To begin to explore this, we purchased two VR headsets. This was our first opportunity to introduce VR to a wide-range of students in the district and region. Our technology department supported our endeavour by providing iPads with the Quiver app for the day. To gather data we have asked for sponsor teachers and students to fill out a short survey, but have not had survey submissions yet. We hope to have data from this to share at the symposium.

On the day, we noticed that there was very good interest from students to participate. They were willing to wait their turn and exercised patience while waiting. While using the system the majority of students were able to catch on to the instructions quickly as to how to use the system. They were engaged and gave positive feedback right after using the headsets.

We have experienced a few unexpected hurdles.  One issue was that we had difficulty sourcing “all-in-one” systems.  The Oculus system seemed to be the only affordable option available.  We looked at Google Cardboard, but a limitation was requiring phones.  Our district has great access to iPads, but not phones.  This seems to be a more viable option for high school students who have their own phones.  Another challenge was battery life.  The Oculus website states battery should last for 3 – 3.5 hours; however, we needed to have the devices plugged in after only about 1 hour of use.  Finally, we created consent forms for use.  We wanted parents to be aware of possible motion sickness/dizziness.  We were also concerned about the spread of communicable illnesses (such as strep throat or pink eye).  We had alcohol wipes on hand to sterilize between uses.

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