EDET 679 – Week 4

Essential Question: How can immersive virtual reality enhance gamification? 

According to Juho Hamari (2014), “Flow  – a state of optimal experience characterized being fully focused and engaged in an activity – has been regarded as one of the most important psychological outcomes of gamification and games.” For students who might not be able to create vivid imagery of an experience, time, or place they have never had the opportunity to see first-hand, virtual reality might be just the tool to provide the link they need to allow them to step up into the state of Flow during gamification experiences in class. Virtual reality is the use of computer technology to create a simulated environment, placing the user inside an experience (Jackson, 2015).

Imagine a U.S history unit where students are learning about the expedition of Lewis and Clark. Sure, they could read the journals and related writings. Some students, those with a natural curiosity about history and good reading skills, would likely retain some information from the lessons. What about the other students though? How can they be engaged, and how can the students who are interested become engaged on a deeper level?

I’m sure there is a fantastic way to gamify this experience. Quests and side quests seem natural to this type of activity, as well as XP. For a kid from Western Alaska who has never ventured further from home than Bethel, how much better would this experience be with the addition of virtual reality? For a student living in Florida who has never touched snow, how much more will the student gain by experiencing the staggering heights of the Rocky Mountains? There are games which try to simulate the journey of these explorers (Go West Across America with Lewis and Clark – http://www.nationalgeographic.com/west/), but how much more powerful would it be for a class to put on a set of Google Cardboards (https://vr.google.com/cardboard/get-cardboard/) and float down a raging river or walk across the endless prairie?

What are Google Cardboards? As defined by Chifor and Stefanut (2015) they are, “an affordable, cardboard made, Virtual Reality headset that uses a smart phone as the screen…a piece of cardboard cut into a precise shape, two 40 mm focal distance lenses and a ring-magnet combo for triggering actions. The lenses are set back from where the phone is placed at a precise distance so that they can each observe only half of the smart phone screen.” At $15 a pair ($5 on sale), even having a few pairs available for students to share seems like a fantastic way to broaden and deepen the learning experiences of our students through virtual reality technology.


Chifor, M. & Stefanut, T. (2015). Immersive Virtual Reality application using Google

Cardboard and Leap Motion technologies. Retrieved from http://oaji.net/articles/2015/2024-1447175761.pdf

Hamari, J. (2014, August 13). Flow in gamification. Gamification Research Network. Retrieved from http://gamification-research.org/2014/08/flow/


Jackson, B. Ph.D. (2015, June 3). What is virtual reality? [Definitions and examples]. Retrieved from http://www.marxentlabs.com/what-is-virtual-reality-definition-and-examples/




5 thoughts on “EDET 679 – Week 4”

  1. Hi Kate,

    I agree that VR can broaden and deepen the learning experience. It is one thing to talk about the Rocky Mountains or the depths of the Ocean, but it is a whole new world of learning when students can be transported to these places through the use of VR headsets. Our students will no longer have to be asked to close your eyes and imagine what it looks like or be like, as the VR headsets can make for the ultimate Flow experience.


  2. Kate,

    A very significant point you made was when you noted that the VR tool may be exactly what students need in order to visualize a place they had never visited. There are many students, including people who do not travel much and live in the country or in a village, who have a perfect view of where they live and interact on a daily basis. But what about understanding what a book is talking about when a desert is discussed if a student has never lived in or seen a desert.

    Thank you for this information and these links below!!
    There are games which try to simulate the journey of these explorers (Go West Across America with Lewis and Clark – http://www.nationalgeographic.com/west/), but how much more powerful would it be for a class to put on a set of Google Cardboards (https://vr.google.com/cardboard/get-cardboard/) and float down a raging river or walk across the endless prairie?

    Even higher quality VR boxes are inexpensive! This is an awesome breakthrough for educators to begin using a tool that engages students by connecting them to the environment they are learning about; all without needing a fortune to do so.



  3. It’s funny you mention kids not traveling further than Bethel. I grew up there, and I was lucky to have “seen” the outside world. But I was the exception. VR is a great tool. I have not experienced VR other than the two-dimensional 1080p TV experience. 🙂 Which is not a bad way to see the world. My favorite shows are the ones on Discovery Channel, History Channel, Science Channel, National Geographic Channel, etc. I love to learn. My learning would be more immersive if I experenced it in VR. 1080p is definitely better than 720p, but a VR experience would be the ultimate. Someday…


  4. Kate,

    First of all, I love your enthusiasm for VR especially when you put it in the sense of students getting to see things that isn’t possible for the situation they are in. I am curious, have you gotten the opportunity to use the Google Cardboard because I ordered one and I am stoked to find out how it works and whether or not I can connect it to my classroom. The great thing about VR is that it can be applied to a gamified class but the class does not need to be gamified to use it successfully.


  5. You make a good point about students from rural villages being able to experience things via virtual reality. When I taught in a rural village we were able to take virtual field trips using video conferencing technology with NASA and the Alaska Sea Life Center. I tried to do as many field trips as my district would allow, because I thought it was important for my students to be able to experience leaving the classroom with out having to flying anywhere.


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