When the Covid-19 pandemic started caused significant changes in the way, I could deliver courses. The government, regulatory bodies, and health authorities worldwide enforced a shutdown of all educational institutes, including medical and dental schools. The shutdown caused a significant change in how I could deliver my courses and made me look at other ways to deliver the curriculum to my students.
As is reflect over the last eight weeks in LRNT 526, I was very fortunate to work with a team of individuals that brought new insight and ideas to the world of technology. I have gained a considerable amount of insight into Virtual Reality (VR), especially within the realm of education.
As a team, we engaged in a virtual reality learning activity that encouraged collaboration, engagement, and interactivity with our team in a synchronous live session environment. Our goal was to examine the outcome of using virtual reality (VR) technology while creating a final visual product. During our collaboration, we created a flourishing plant that started from a tiny seed. Each team member described their interpretation and description of their representation to their specific specialization or questions about VR. The activity allowed me to reflect on how I could incorporate this technology into my teachings and let others in the course ask questions and give feedback on our ideas.
My research during this course has shown me that the benefits of Virtual reality in dentistry are constantly assessed as a method or an adjunct to improve fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination in pre-clinical settings (Roy et al., 2017). At first, I admit, I had tunnel vision, and all my research was directed towards the health care sector, as that has been my focus over the last 28 years. It was not until I sat down and dove deep into a book Written by Eric Southgate, “Virtual Reality in Curriculum and Pedagogy,” that I realized the potential of VR in education is untapped. Her notion of Virtual Reality in education and the ability for individuals to immerse themselves within a virtual world to experience a new way of learning is defiantly the way of the future.
My research into Virtual Reality and my tenacity to bring new ideas into my teachings led me to apply to a Pilot program through SAIT. The pilot program Scholarly Activity Research Excellence (SARE) has opened some doors to the possibilities of collaborating with the School of Technology and creating a Pilot project to bring some pilot projects to life in the future. Whether it is within a health care program or business program, I do believe that VR in education is the way of the future.
“The science of today is the technology of tomorrow.” – Edward Teller
Roy, E., Bakr, M. M., & George, R. (2017). The need for virtual reality simulators in dental education: A review. The Saudi Dental Journal, 29(2), 41–47. https://doi.org/https://doi.org/10.1016/j.sdentj.2017.02.001