The Why, When, and Where of Virtual Reality in Education

The Why, When, and Where of Virtual Reality in Education

At the 2016 Festival of Learning, we presented some of our ongoing work on virtual and augmented reality open educational resources for teaching and learning geography. The slides and a description of our session are available below.

We proposed a conceptual framework for understanding the use of VR and AR in education. This framework has four dimensions –¬†interaction, accessibility of content creation, accessibility of content consumption, and flexibility for students. This is currently being developed as a working paper. If you would like a copy of the working paper, let us know.

Our abstract and additional links to our work can be found below.


A Conceptual Framework for developing VR an AR platforms for education.

A Conceptual Framework for developing VR an AR platforms for education.

Having students visualize spaces and places outside of the classroom has always been a central part of education. Traditionally, this has been done using stories, images, videos and field trips. However, these are limited either in how immersive they are, or in the logistical and budgetary constraints of bringing students out of the classroom.

An exciting alternative is to leverage recent technological advances in virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) to let students virtual explore different places or experiences. For example, imagine the benefit to medical students to be able to virtually sit in on a surgery, or to bringing architecture students on a virtual tour of Paris. There are more abstract applications as well, such as having students visualize a graph or piece of art in 3D.

Like most tools however, there are best practices for use in education that are only now being developed. Coupled with this are the rapidly changing technologies that can produce a steep learning curve for educators. In this studio session, the presenters will share their own experiences and uses for the technology, and help guide participants through the hands-on process of designing, developing and testing their own VR product.

Participants will leave with an appreciation for the different possible applications of VR technology in their own field, while gaining practical skills in making the first steps toward building their own. 360-degree cameras and sample 360-degree footage will be available for participants to experiment with.


An example of one of the 360 photospheres that Derek Turner built for our classes. This is a high accessibility (creation and consumption), high flexibility, and lower interaction example of VR and AR content. The location is in Lion’s Bay, BC. You can move the angle by using your mouse and click on the interactive elements. You can also load this webpage in Google Cardboard and have a more immersive experience.

4 responses to “The Why, When, and Where of Virtual Reality in Education”

  1. Tim Paul

    I would be interested in taking a look at your working paper. Thanks for your willingness to share

    1. Arthur Gill Green

      Hi Tim, what is the best way to send it to you? You can contact me at:

  2. Zareena


    I would like to have your working paper on this topic. Can you email it to me at

    Thank you in advance

  3. Jesse Katende

    i am also interested in your working paper.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.