Learning in Virtual Realityby Amina Chergui
Over the summer of 2020, ten Royal BC Museum youth volunteers took part in a study exploring the pedagogical possibilities of telling virtual reality-based stories using digital museum resources. These dedicated volunteers gathered and produced content, crafted descriptive text, and collaboratively completed two virtual reality tours – all in the midst of a global pandemic. This playlist showcases the products of their hard work with the hopes of inspiring other educators and learners to venture into virtual space.
The Learning Portal was one source of content and inspiration accessed by the volunteers, and the pathways used during the tour development process are included in this playlist. Aiming to provide a novel learning experience distinct from a typical museum visit, the creators of the ‘Behind the Scenes’ VR tour used the Mammoth Proportions pathway to inform the section spotlighting the beloved Woolly. Collections images from the Wolves to Whales pathway helped inspire a mammalogy focus in the kekuli scene of this same tour. In the ‘Victoria Through the Ages’ tour, volunteers wanted to offer an interdisciplinary perspective on their hometown, interweaving natural and human history narratives. The Native Plants on the South Coast pathway offers resources to further explore some of the Indigenous plants referenced in this tour.
The Heritage Fairs pathway is also included in this playlist; I see many connections between the goals and outcomes of this project and Heritage Fair programs. I have had the pleasure of supporting the South Vancouver Island Regional Heritage Fair and witnessed first-hand the power of giving space for youth to lead their own inquiry. Heritage Fairs provide students the opportunity to share their learning with heritage professionals, community members, and peers, which can be a powerful and meaningful experience. These principles of learner-led inquiry and authentic audience were also salient in this VR project, and I hope that including the Heritage Fair pathway here will bring further attention to these great experiences.