VR in the Classroom: A Case Study
This case study has been graciously furnished by Fiona Nanson of LCC (Lower Canada College) in Montreal, Canada. LCC has been using Veative VR content for STEM education for about 1½ years. We asked Fiona about her experiences with Veative.
Q. Tell me a bit about your school.
We are an international school in Montreal. LCC is a diverse, coeducational, K-12 university preparatory school, committed to excellence in teaching and learning while maximizing individual potential. We are striving to help our students become globally-minded leaders and learners, committed to shaping a better world.
Q. What was your motivation for looking into VR?
We began looking for ways to ensure that all students have the opportunity to understand complex concepts in as many ways as possible. We wanted to make sure we had the means to provide all learners with the right tools to understand abstract concepts in ways that are best accessible to them in a modality that fit their learner profiles. In some cases that is VR. The other reason was that the VR provides a way to see concepts that are difficult for students to visualize. For example, it could be in understanding Le Chatelier's Principle in chemistry or Sound Waves in physics.
Q. What outcomes were you trying to obtain?
We were looking to increase understanding of complex concepts. Currently we are using the VR modules to augment learning. For exam preparation, we are using STEM modules as a part of the review process. We are hoping that these opportunities will increase student understanding.
Q. Why did you choose Veative? What other systems did you consider?
We looked at several systems and Veative was the only system that provided comprehensive math and science content that was easily accessible for teachers. We did not find any other company that provided content, support and a bilingual platform for content.
Q. What has worked well for your school? What value does VR bring to the table for students and teachers?
The students love it. It has given some students a new perspective and understanding of science and math concepts.
Q. What has not worked well? What would you suggest to change?
The actual physical tool (the Oculus Go) has presented some challenges for logging into the Veative program. The login process is a bit complex and the system does not group the students accurately for the Quebec curriculum. It would help if we could group the students to more than one teacher (rather than by curriculum).
Q. What's the reaction from students, teachers, admin, and parents?
Teachers are beginning to like it. The set-up is a bit challenging still but the students and parents love it. Parents are always impressed that we have such a tool to assist in student learning.
Q. How does VR, and Veative, fit into your long-term strategy?
We are creating a curriculum match (Quebec curriculum) so that from Grade 7-11 students will be able to easily access the modules that will help them with their learning.
NOTE from Veative: As the first school in Canada to adopt the Veative VR system, LCC was using Ontario curriculum alignment, made for Canada’s most populous province. Proper curriculum alignment is important, and the Quebec scheme will be ready for the Sept 2019 term.
We are looking to have VR as a tool for all students, in many subjects (not only math and science) who require a different way to look at a topic for understanding.
Q. What would you like to see in the future, from Veative, and do you have any comments for us?
Social studies and ELA. I am currently looking at the topics for Math and Science. We also would like to be able to have some dissections.
NOTE from Veative: It’s true; there are no modules with dissections. There are currently over 550 STEM modules, and we take such requests and compile with ones from other regions. Our next batch will include those things which have been most requested. Veative also has ELL (English as a Second Language) modules, which will be coming out in June 2019. These consist of 104 lessons, using voice recognition technology. We have not done ELA or Social Studies modules as of yet. ELL was the most sought after series by almost every market.
Q. If you were to speak to others like yourself who are considering VR for their school, what advice and guidance would you provide for them?
Be prepared as there is more work to do than expected. Teachers need a lot of training. Plan for the time. It also would be good to have suggestions on how it could be used in advance of starting.
NOTE from Veative: Absolutely correct. We have learned from Fiona and have placed a need for PD on our resellers. We are currently creating a short video series to help support teachers. LCC has borne some of the brunt of being a pioneer in this field, and we thank them for this. As noted by Fiona, LCC never entered into VR as an “experience” for students, but rather as a way into deeper cognitive processes, and a way to connect with difficult concepts. This aligns perfectly with Veative’s mandate.
Fiona Nanson, PhD
Coordonnatrice de l'intégration technologique
Technology Integration Coordinator, LCC