At Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, we create new immersive software experiences to meet a variety of challenges. One such challenge in STEM education is providing quality computer science education for all students.
Research on learning has consistently demonstrated that engagement in authentic experiences increases learner understanding and retention. By using virtual reality (VR), learners can hear, see, and both physically and verbally interact, enabling a wider range of safe, authentic, high impact learning experiences than before. Now that VR headsets have become affordable for the average classroom, it is poised to be a game changer in education.
The Office of STEM Education collaborated with PNNL’s Visual Analytics team, as well as computer scientists and engineers who served as content experts, to develop initial computer science VR apps that demonstrate the potential for VR to help teachers and students meet targeted national learning standards. With experts from across the STEM spectrum, PNNL has the ability to address standards that go beyond computing, such as climate science and other key areas found in the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). This combined expertise enables PNNL’s unique capability to develop additional STEM education apps that take advantage of the potential of VR to produce impact learning outcomes and inspire interest in STEM.