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Virtual and augmented reality I

Human anatomy and physiology: learning differently with digital

Even before the the pandemic, many digital and innovative tools were becoming increasingly accessible for college-level biology courses. However, despite growing interest across the network, virtual reality still seemed relatively inaccessible. Technology changes at lightening speed and often there is not enough time to explore, understand, make sense of, and optimally use it.

The “Human Anatomy and Physiology in Virtual and Augmented Reality” project, supported by Component 2 of the NovaScience program, was launched in fall 2019. The project disseminates its advances so colleges can adopt the technology, develop educational activities that make greater use of digital technology, and find new applications that are aligned with teaching needs.

As digital technology can be used both in the classroom and remotely, the value of this project was quite evident when teaching went exclusively online. Despite the pandemic, the project has gone according to plan and biology courses will incorporate new virtual reality teaching activities starting in fall 2022. The Digital Action Plan, deployed in our institutions, is closely linked to this project and is a sound example of what the future could hold for digital education in higher education.

Chantale Nunes

Teacher and coordinator of the biology department, Collège de Bois-de-Boulogne

Development of immersive virtual reality applications in college science

As part of a project funded by NovaScience, we are developing virtual reality applications for science learning and entertainment. Using value analysis methodology (Langevin et al., 1998), our team of university professors, college teachers, college students and a pedagogical advisor developed a grid of quality criteria for an immersive virtual reality application.

These criteria were used when designing various applications with different design patterns as benchmarks. The workshop will wrap up with a discussion on potential development and use, and the expected outcomes.

Christine Marquis

Research colleague and chemistry teacher, Cégep de Saint-Jérôme

Collaborative research on the integration of virtual reality in post-secondary science

Despite science being highly important in our society, student interest in this field is declining. Virtual reality (VR) offers an active approach to students them visualize abstract phenomena. In our action, research and training project, more than 35 teachers and 5,000 students experimented with computer-based VR simulations in chemistry, biology and physics.

Rather than focus solely on the simulations, the project addresses the effects of the pedagogical scenario, a crucial element according to literature, for which we coached the teachers using a template based on Jeffries’ (2012) model. Analysis of the student questionnaires revealed that immersion and affective aspectsstand out as particularly high.

A multi-level analysis and an analysis of teacher and student interviews reveal promising avenues for pedagogy, as well as which features were most and least preferred in the pedagogical scenarios.

Bruno Poellhuber

Full Professor in the Faculty of Education and director of the Centre de pédagogie universitaire (CPU) at Université de Montréal

Sébastien Wall-Lacelle

Physics teacher at Cégep de Saint-Jérôme and doctoral student