Welcome to the Jungle: Using Virtual Reality to Bring the Rainforest to the Classroom

Authors: John Jordan Edmond*, Radford University, Andrew Foy, Radford University, Richard Stockton Maxwell, Radford University
Topics: Geography Education
Keywords: 360-degree photography, geography education, Peru, unmanned aerial vehicle, virtual reality
Session Type: Poster
Day: 4/5/2019
Start / End Time: 9:55 AM / 11:35 AM
Room: Lincoln 2, Marriott, Exhibition Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

The Radford Amazonian Research Expedition (RARE) at Radford University is an immersive three-week research abroad course held at a remote field station in the Peruvian Amazon Rainforest. Each year 15 students from majors across campus are selected to develop their own research and scholarship projects. To bring this transdisciplinary experience back to classrooms, we created a virtual reality (VR) tour that can be displayed on standard devices, touch-screen projectors, and VR headsets. The video footage used in the VR tour was collected with a GoPro Fusion 360-degree camera and a DJI Mavic Pro unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV). Using GoPro studio and Adobe Premiere software, the raw footage was edited down to create short vignettes of student research projects and other observations of the rainforest. With the use of YouVisit, a VR tour website, this experience can be easily accessible on the user’s preferred device. The VR tour is publicly on the web and will run in a museum space in the Center for the Sciences at Radford University which regularly hosts K-12 students. Future work will focus on the development of pedagogy and assessment of student learning via VR technology. Children and college students alike can now experience the jungle in an immersive way without ever leaving the classroom!

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