Learning in Virtual Reality

by 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.

Victoria Through the Ages
Welcome to an immersive and informative tour on 'Victoria Through the Ages', showcasing this beautiful city through different times along with a few sites a little farther away from home. Created by students, for students, this tour shows the layers beneath the asphalt with data on buildings, botany, ornithology, paleontology and the RBCM itself. Immerse yourself using VR technology and walk the streets that history has touched from your own home. The 9 scenes - not including an explanatory introduction and an edifying ending - are ordered by location and hold a verity of interesting facts  - found in 4-5 points of interest - that can be taken in all at once or saved for a later time. Choose what you learn and when you learn. https://poly.google.com/view/95oTrnxuJOM

Mammoth Proportions
1In 1 playlists
Have you met the infamous Woolly mammoth at the Royal BC Museum? He greets visitors inside the entrance to the Natural History gallery. Woolly, as he is affectionately called by visitors and museum staff, is a replica of the largest animal to ever walk on this continent. Not everyone likes him. He has been known to frighten small children.…
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Wolves to Whales
3In 3 playlists
The mammal collection is as diverse as the mammals of BC. Mammal specimens at the museum are preserved, stored and made available for research.
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Native Plants on the South Coast
Learning about native plants can connect us to the places we live. Studying First Peoples’ uses of plants can teach us which native berries are edible and which are not.
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Heritage Fairs
5In 5 playlists
The Royal BC Museum and BC Heritage Fairs both work to engage youth with BC’s history. Find out how and be inspired by student projects in this pathway.
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