Student Perceptions of Semester-Long In-Class Virtual Reality: Effectively Using “Google Earth VR” in a Higher Education Classroom

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History & Political Science


Virtual reality (VR) usage is increasing in higher education, yet VR retains significant financial, technological, and time costs. Given these challenges, understanding student perceptions of the legitimacy of educational VR is important. In-class VR was introduced in two semesters with four total face-to-face Geography courses at Arkansas Tech University. Throughout each semester, individual students periodically used the HTC Vive’s Google Earth VR app to virtually visit places relevant to that day’s lecture. The VR video was mirrored to a classroom screen for all students to see. These VR sessions formed parts of many class meetings, in contrast to recent studies that examine educational VR as short-term experiments or out-of-classroom trials. Students were surveyed about their perceptions before and after the semester, and overall student views of classroom VR were positive. Perceptions were similar between students who used VR in class and students who did not. These findings are important as educational institutions continue to invest more time and resources into VR. © 2020 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.



Publication Title

Journal of Geography in Higher Education