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Title: Virtual reality as a spatial prompt in geography learning and teaching
Author: Roelofsen, Maartje  
Carter-White, Richard  
Others: Universitat Oberta de Catalunya (UOC)
Macquarie University
Keywords: Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum
dark heritage
field trips
geographical pedagogy
geography education
virtual reality
Issue Date: 3-Mar-2022
Publisher: Geographical Research
Citation: Roelofsen, M., & Carter-White, R. (2022). Virtual reality as a spatial prompt in geography learning and teaching. Geographical Research, 60( 4), 625– 636.
Published in: 60;4
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Abstract: We examine the claim that virtual reality (VR) holds significant potential for pedagogical applications in geography. We do so with reference to results from a two-year research-teaching project embedded in a postgraduate course on “Heritage and Its Management.” We reflect on the implementation of a VR field trip to the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum enabled by the high-immersive Inside Auschwitz guided documentary, drawing on surveys and interviews held with students after their participation in the field trip. We found that VR technology may work as a (dis)inhibitor and provided users with a sense of social and temporal freedom to explore sites but in combination with a new set of spatial and perceptual constraints. The VR field trip generated curiosity about the “details” of the site, but we argue that learning with and through VR technology only became possible via active bodily adaptations and renewed understandings of bodily capacities and their inequalities. We conclude that VR works most effectively if conceived not as a journey into a self-contained virtual realm but instead as a spatial prompt designed to provoke new questions for students already on the path to developing geographical understandings and imaginations related to specific sites.
Language: English
ISSN: 1745-5871MIAR
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