Y. Cai

Nanyang Technological University (SINGAPORE)
Virtual Reality (VR) is not new. Back in the 1960s, Dr Ivan Sutherland, the inventor of the first Head Mounted Display (HMD), described “The screen is a window through which one sees a virtual world. The challenge is to make that world look real, act real, sound real, feel real”. Among countless industries clamoured involving with VR, especially in the last two years, the education sector is becoming the new frontier of VR application. Over the past decade, we have been actively doing VR research and development focusing on VR-enabled Learning and Teaching.

Singapore’s Ministry of Education (MOE) introduced several schemes including “Teach Less, Learn More” to promote innovative learning. In 2008, Singapore’s Ministry of Education, and Infocomm Development Authority (IDA) initiated the FutureSchools@Singapore (FS@SG) program as part of the MOE’s Third Master plan for ICT in Education (2009–2014). The FutureSchools projects explore expanding learning possibilities with virtual learning environments and other education technology that allow teacher–student interaction,online assessments, and monitoring of students’ progress.

In this talk, we will share our efforts in Singapore on the research and development of immersive and interactive technology for learning and teaching in secondary, tertiary and special needs educations. The FutureSchool@Singapore project (2008-2012) will be introduced as the first part followed by the presentation of the daVinci VR classrooms at Hwa Chong Institution and River Valley High School. In particular, we shall discuss the quantitative and quality study on the benefits of immersive and interactive technology for mathematics and biology education involving over 250 students from 9 schools. In the second part of the talk, the Virtual Pink Dolphin project (2014-2016) will then be discussed on the research and development of VR enhanced technology to assist the learning and communication for children with autism. The international collaboration on Virtual Pink Dolphins for special needs education will be detailed. The third part of the talk will be a brief presentation on a new project recently awarded to develop immersive and interactive technology focusing on Engineering Education at tertiary level with Nanyang Technological University. The perspective of pedagogy and technology innovations will be examined.

[1] Yiyu Cai (editor), 3D Immersive & Interactive Learning, Springer, 2013.
[2] Yiyu Cai (editor), Interactive & Digital Media for Education in Virtual Learning Environments, Nova Sciences, 2011.
[3] Yiyu Cai, Ruby Chiew, Zin Tun Nay, Chandrasekaran Indhumathi & Lihui Huang (SSCI Q2, IF=1.175, 2017), Design and development of VR learning environments for children with ASD, Interactive Learning Environments, Pages: 1-12, DOI: 10.1080/10494820.2017.1282877