Developing the Pedagogies of Virtual Reality in Higher Education

Year: 2019

Author: Buchanan, Rachel, Donnelly, Debra

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

With education there is a belief that new teachers are coming to schools with the skills to lead technological change. Yet, recent graduates often feel inadequately prepared for the task of embedding technology into their teaching. The constant shifts in technological development means that keeping ahead of the new trends is difficult for many teachers at any stage of their career. One the contemporary emerging technology being lauded for its pedagogical potential is Virtual Reality. Building on the ‘Pedagogies of VR’ which examined what teachers are doing with virtual reality in schools, this project looks at higher education and the preparation of preservice teachers for the pedagogical uses of VR. This paper reports on the ‘Developing the Pedagogies of VR in HE’ project in which work is being done to prepare preservice teachers for the possibility of embedding virtual reality into their teaching. A pilot study was undertaken with preservice teachers to gauge their feeling of preparedness for working with Virtual Reality. After undertaking a VR experience, participants engaged in a workshop and focus group. Thematic analysis reveals the range of preservice teacher emotions, from excitement about the affordances of the technology, to cautious optimism and outright indifference. Findings reveal the challenges of preparing preservice teachers to work in an environment where the availability of technology is unknown, but the expectations of their ability is high.