Abstract Virtual Reality (VR) is an emerging technology that provides K-12 students with unique experiences for robust science learning by transporting them to a virtual world where they may engage directly with scientific phenomena. This is because VR creates lifelike three-dimensional spaces where students can manipulate objects; hear, see, and sometimes feel the environment; and explore places that mimic attributes of the real world. VR holds great utility in science education by engaging students in science topics that may be otherwise inaccessible to them in the real world. This inaccessibility may stem from the content (being too small, large, or abstract), safety issues (too hazardous or dangerous), not having access to the materials in their context, possessing physical or cognitive disabilities where they need to do the activity repeatedly or differently, or having cultural, religious, or ethical concerns related to conducting specific science experiments. This commentary discusses how three key types of VR hardware (VR viewers, desktop VR systems, and head-mounted displays) can be incorporated into science standards, curriculum, and instruction by delineating the pros and cons of each. The commentary concludes with specific, stepwise guidance in ideating, designing, and implementing VR-based experiences for K-12 students in the science classroom.
- virtual presence
- virtual reality