A controlled study of stereoscopic virtual reality in freshman electrostatics

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PubDate: Jul 2017

Teams: The Ohio State University

Writers: Joseph R. Smith, Amber Byrum, Timothy M. McCormick, Nick Young, Chris Orban, Chris D. Porter

PDF: A controlled study of stereoscopic virtual reality in freshman electrostatics

Abstract

Virtual reality (VR) has long promised to revolutionize education, but with little follow-through. Part of the reason for this is the prohibitive cost of immersive VR headsets or caves. This has changed with the advent of smartphone-based VR (along the lines of Google cardboard) which allows students to use smartphones and inexpensive plastic or cardboard viewers to enjoy stereoscopic VR simulations. We have completed the largest-ever such study on 627 students enrolled in calculus-based freshman physics at The Ohio State University. This initial study focused on student understanding of electric fields. Students were split into three treatments groups: VR, video, and static 2D images. Students were asked questions before, during, and after treatment. Here we present a preliminary analysis including overall post-pre improvement among the treatment groups, dependence of improvement on gender, and previous video game experience. Results on select questions are discussed. Several electric field visualizations similar to those used in this study are freely available on Google Play this http URL

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