Background/Context: The rapid development of virtual reality (VR) technology increases expectations regarding the potentials of using VR in the classroom and requires teachers to engage in professional development. Although there are recent studies that explore how this new technology can facilitate learning in classroom settings, little research has explored what constraints and affordances emerge during VR curriculum design and implementation and how a teacher’s knowledge and beliefs change during this process.
Purpose/Objective/Research Question/Focus of Study: The purpose of this study is to explore one exemplary teacher’s curriculum design processes and changes in knowledge, beliefs, and practices during the design and implementation of VR lessons in an elementary classroom.
Population/Participants/Subjects: The participant of this study is one teacher who works in a private elementary school in a metropolitan area of South Korea. The participant is an exemplary teacher with a unique combination of experience and training in pedagogy and technology.
Research Design: We used an intrinsic case study approach to collect and analyze data around the development of the participant’s reflective practice, beliefs, and knowledge.
Data Collection and Analysis: During two iterations of design and implementation of VR lessons, we collected qualitative data in the form of the participant’s written reflections, video recordings of his classroom teaching, field notes of observations, and follow-up interviews after each observation. Data were open-coded based on the interconnected model of teacher professional growth (IMTPG) and the framework of technological pedagogical content knowledge (TPACK).
Findings/Results: We observed changes occurring in the participant’s TPACK, his beliefs about students, and his dispositions toward the use of VR. Most of the changes in the design phase appeared to inspire the participant’s development of TPACK and ended with curriculum design using newly developed knowledge. The participant’s enactment brought changes in instructional outcomes for both himself and his students, which then either altered his practice while teaching or changed/reinforced his knowledge and beliefs.
Conclusions/Recommendations: Our findings support a nonlinear, ongoing, and iterative approach to teacher change, as emphasized by the IMTPG. We add to this line of research by offering a detailed description of one teacher’s learning process and development of TPACK. More important, this study focused on an exemplary teacher’s design and implementation of VR and explored how certain barriers or enablers affected his design decisions by changing his knowledge, beliefs, and instructional practices. The findings of this intrinsic case study allow us to offer advice for teachers interested in integrating VR into their instruction.