Integrating Mixed Reality Technologies into an Environmental Learning Field Experience: A Case Study

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Integrating Mixed Reality Technologies into an Environmental Learning Field Experience: A Case Study

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2022-12

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The demand for technology integration has presented teachers with new pedagogical choices for designing engaging learning experiences for students. These technology choices are becoming abundant and varied, confronting teachers and administrators with determining how effective these methods are for teaching. This research was focused on one of these choices, whether including mixed reality (MR) technologies enhanced the learning experience for college students in a field-based course. The experiential learning theory (Kolb, 1984) provided the framework for understanding the learning process through the experiential learning cycle; a cyclical process of starting with a concrete experience, reflecting on that experience, formulating new concepts, then applying what was learned. This theoretical framework was used to explore the research questions of how MR technology might enhance the learning process, enrich the reflections process, and determine if the students perceived these MR enhancements as useful. This constructivist process for learning was the basis for developing the MR field guide which provided the tool for examining the student experience while they participated in a soil science field study course. This research followed a constructivist-interpretive paradigm using a qualitative, exploratory case study methodology Merriam & Tisdell (2015). Interviews and surveys were used to illuminate the experience the students were having while using the MR field guide. Key findings indicated that the inclusion of the MR field guide has the potential to improve the learning experience and the reflective observation needed to influence learning. The research found that the MR technology facilitated by the MR field guide had both advantages and challenges in enhancing the learning experience. Student participants felt MR technology provided enhanced learning opportunities if certain challenges were overcome. The insights gained from the findings of this study will add to the knowledge for developing more effective teaching strategies when using MR technology and provide guidance to future efforts for technology integration in environmental education.

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University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation. December 2022. Major: Education, Curriculum and Instruction. Advisors: Bhaskar Upadhyay, Angelica Pazurek. 1 computer file (PDF); x, 151 pages.

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O'Leary, Patrick. (2022). Integrating Mixed Reality Technologies into an Environmental Learning Field Experience: A Case Study. Retrieved from the University Digital Conservancy, https://hdl.handle.net/11299/253408.

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