April 26, 2019

The Cognition Behind the Curtain of Virtual Reality


Society’s industrial development over the past three hundred years led many to view the incorporation of technology (e.g., pencils, pens, and calculators) in education as bad. They would often view technology as a “crutch” leading to a deterioration of learning on the part of successive generations of learners.

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Conversely, others would take an opposite position. They would view technology as a panacea likely to solve all the issues plaguing STEM education in an unjust and morally bankrupt society.

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For many stakeholders, opinions about technology in STEM education can be thought of as either “bad” or “good”. The application of technology in STEM education, however, is often viewed by the same stakeholders as a combination of the two.

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In the following series, we discuss multiple theories in cognition used by STEM-VRSE in understanding how a new technology (i.e., virtual reality) will impact STEM education for future generations of learners. Specifically, we discuss how expertise, cognitive hierarchy, socio-cognition will act on learners’ integration of VR in STEM education. This series allows us to briefly discuss these theories, and how we view those theories, as we work to integrate VR in STEM education.

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The truth behind the use of technology in STEM education likely lies at some juncture between bad and good. Regardless of how you view technology in STEM education, however, Pandora’s box of technology has been opened and will never close.

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So, for those looking to integrate virtual reality (VR) into STEM education, we might ask ourselves a simple question, “what is the cognition behind the curtain of VR?” Why? Because technology, no matter the level of sophistication, will replace the act of learning on the part of the learner. So, what cognition is behind the curtain? Read more to find out!

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