03 Jul University of Copenaghen says immersive virtual reality increases students’ interest in STEM
Can the use of immersive virtual reality increase student interest and career aspirations for science? The answer is affirmative according to a study published in the special issue of the British Journal of Educational Technology, dedicated to Immersive Virtual Reality in Education, and conducted by a team of scholars from the Psychology Department of the University of Copenhagen.
The data show that young people studying science are still in the minority and the gap between supply and demand of professional skills is destined to increase as there is not a sufficient number of young people who intend to undertake study courses in scientific and technical subjects. or in the so-called STEM disciplines (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics). But why are STEM disciplines so low in popularity? One of the reasons is certainly the way they are perceived. Many, in fact, consider them boring, others still consider them too difficult. So how to encourage students to pursue academic and professional careers in the STEM field? Inspiring the new generations is everyone’s duty (family, school, institutions and businesses) because if we don’t do it, we also risk undermining the progress made in technological innovation in recent years.
In the “rescue” of a choice of studies in favor of scientific disciplines, there is immersive virtual reality (IVR). This is precisely what the studies conducted by the team of scientists from the University of Copenhagen who have examined the value of using immersive virtual reality (IVR) laboratory simulations in science education demonstrate.
In one study (52 male, 47 female) with students aged 13-16, the results indicated an overall increase in interest in science and self-efficacy, but only women reported increased career aspirations. scientific.
The second study, on the other hand, was conducted with 131 high school students (47 males, 84 females), aged between 17 and 20, and used an experimental design to explain DNA by comparing, on the one hand, learning through the IVR simulation, and on the other through the use of a video. The group of IVR students reported significantly higher scores on interest than the group undergoing the video. The results of the two studies suggest that properly developed and implemented IVR simulations can help us address some of the most current and important challenges on the subject of student choice for science education.
Students report low levels of interest in science, and several studies have found that positive attitudes towards science decline with age, from primary to secondary school. Unfavorable attitudes towards science could be attributed to the inability of science education to engage students to a satisfactory level. Immersive virtual reality (IVR), on the other hand, is attractive for its potential to offer stimulating learning experiences that increase interest and self-efficacy.
Among the innovative products for education that use the IVR for there is Scuolab, a teaching platform also awarded by the European Space Agency (ESA), created by Protom, which also takes advantage of data from ESA satellite systems. for the development of new contents for virtual laboratories