The computer sciene room in the VR classroom
Status: finished, last edit april 2023
Duration: July 2021 to December 2022
Idea and Goal
This HSP3-funded project is about improving teaching by expanding and improving digital space. Simulating classrooms in VR, allows prospective teachers to gain early experience and practice in classroom management. Interaction with virtual students allows for action-oriented skill acquisition that can be practiced in learning-active sessions. At the beginning of the project, the simulation offered two rooms - a regular classroom and one with a group seating arrangement. As part of the improvement of the infrastructure in the area of teaching, we would like to expand the range of rooms and, by adding a computer room, adapt the possibilities for simulating general topics such as dealing with disruptions for the specific requirements in subjects such as computer science. This subject didactic examination of classroom management, dealing with students* in subject rooms, requirements and effects on a selection of teaching methodologies would further strengthen the practical experiences in the teacher training program. The interlocking of practice and theory in the teacher training program have motivating effects and a supervised reflection of classroom management possibilities, can bring about important learning effects. Initial experiences at the University of Potsdam show that the subject reference facilitates an immersive learning experience. Expanding the virtual world to include specific subject spaces could reduce the structural boundaries and barriers to obtaining school-based experiences and reduce the limitation of spaces for interactions between student teachers and students that are effective for learning. In addition, there is the advantage that student teachers can also face repeated challenges and that these experiences are more predictable than those with real students (e.g., in InfoSphere).
Another goal within the scope of this application was to extend the virtual classroom to a tool that offers interfaces for the integration of learning analytics. For this measure, an iterative further development of the existing teaching infrastructure is planned, the effectiveness of which will be evaluated together with the students in order to achieve a sustainable improvement and to make a long-term use of the new infrastructures possible. These enhancements will also benefit the targeted and effective utilization of face-to-face time.
The computer room is ready for use. There are two different table layouts that were developed with schools and teachers. One of them is a variant with a table island in the middle without computers and the other one is a computer room that only receives workstations with computers. It is also possible to display different contents on the virtual students' screens. The computer room is implemented in such a way that it can serve as a template for other specialized rooms. The structure of the implementation was changed so that there is a freely accessible school with different floors that can lead to different rooms. For example, parallel work was done in Potsdam on a chemistry room, which has now also found a place in the new school building.
The Coach (the page for operating the VR classroom outside of the programming environment) was extended to include access to the Learning Record Store in order to store learning data. In a final project, the interface for a keyword recognition was built in and successfully tested. The VR classroom has found a place in teaching in the department and is accepted and used by students as a motivating example and project. Besides obvious didactic goals, it can be used for teaching about learning analytics, web interfaces and AI.
Birte Heinemann: Technology, Content Development, Research, Continuation
Ulrik Schroeder: application, consulting
The VR Classroom is operated and further developed in a cooperation between the Learning Technologies Research Group, as well as the University of Potsdam. Interested parties are welcome to contact firstname.lastname@example.org