Clarkson Research Professor Dana Barry gave a talk at an international conference about Knowledge-Based and Intelligent Information & Engineering Systems. The event took place in Verona, Italy, during the month of September. Her presentation was titled Virtual Reality Enhances Active Student Learning. She described several of her student projects carried out in Second Life (SL), a virtual world where avatars (virtual people) represent us and carry out tasks on our behalf. Dr. Barry’s students successfully designed and built the house of the future during the global warming period and an ecocar (one that is economical, safe, and energy efficient) in the virtual world. The students used avatars to prepare primitives (three-dimensional objects) of various sizes, shapes (ex. cube) and color for their building projects, which took place outside of the virtual classroom. SL allows students to work from anywhere and at any time. Expensive building materials are not needed there and potential safety risks (like those experienced in real life) are avoided. In addition to SL, Dr. Barry experimented with virtual reality headsets (VR headsets) to obtain creative lesson ideas for her students. Individuals wear VR headsets for a specific academic, etc. adventure. The headsets use special software to provide 3-D experiences that allow the user to interact with real or imaginary computer-simulated environments. For example, Dr. Barry used the Oculus VR headset to immerse herself into outer space where she was amazed to be above the clouds and closely surrounded by the Sun and beautiful planets. This virtual experience could be used to teach exciting and engaging lessons about space exploration, the planets, travel to the Moon or Mars, and much more.
A reference is provided for an open-access paper related to Dr. Barry’s presentation. The paper will be available soon.
Barry, Dana M., and Kanematsu, Hideyuki (2022) “Virtual reality enhances active student learning.” Procedia Computer Science. (207 C) pp. 408- 415.
Dr. Dana Barry is a Research Professor in Clarkson University’s Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering and works part-time at SUNY Canton. She is a Chemistry Ambassador for the American Chemical Society and a member of the Planetary Society and the National Science Teaching Association. In addition, she has over 350 academic publications, five graduate degrees, and numerous honors.