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Exploring the importance of place for education: Exploring immersive technology as a means to engage in the classroom and beyond

Authors: Danielle Oprean*, University of Missouri, Soren Larsen, University of Missouri
Topics: Higher Education, Geography Education
Keywords: Immersive technology, experiential learning, place-based learning
Session Type: Paper
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

Place has been an understated component in education for its role in learning cognition as the main learning space, the classroom, is often devoid of spatial cues and context. In the spatial disciplines, spatial context provides our basis for an argument that education should consider place as fundamental to learning cognition. With newer immersive technology available on the market, we now have the potential to transform not only the classroom experience to engage with place but spaces beyond (e.g. hallways, entire campuses, and even surrounding cities). From lectures to field trips, we can engage learners with place-based experiences that embed information containing spatial context and cues for improved learning cognition which garner a more authentic transfer of learning. Additionally, we can also bring the classroom to fieldwork lessons by engaging learners with content as they experience it, whether through gamified or other active learning means. The key potential of immersive technology lies in its ability to isolate how information is experienced, offsetting cognitive burden through ‘presence’, the feeling of being in the environment as if it was real, which enables learners to focus and experience content without distraction. We present a discussion of the role of immersive technology to introduce place into the learning experience through Kolb's experiential model as a formal component of place-based learning. Our discussion explores the development of augmented and virtual reality tools for use in both formal learning areas and informal learning areas through a conceptual framework.

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