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Teacher Learning Through Technology-Enhanced Curriculum Design Using Virtual Reality

by Insook Han & Timothy Patterson - 2020

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.

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Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record Volume 122 Number 7, 2020, p. 1-34
https://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 23318, Date Accessed: 9/28/2021 4:26:32 AM

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About the Author
  • Insook Han
    Temple University
    E-mail Author
    INSOOK HAN, Ed.D., is an Assistant Professor of instructional technology at Temple University. Her primary research interests involve the design of learning environments based on embodied cognition, the use of emerging technologies in classrooms, and preservice education for technology integration. Previous publications include: Han, I. (2020). Immersive virtual field trips in education: A mixed-methods study on elementary students’ presence and perceived learning. British Journal of Educational Technology, 51(2), 420–435; and Han, I., Byun, S-Y., &, Shin, W. S. (2018). A comparative study of factors associated with technology-enabled learning between the United States and South Korea. Educational Technology Research and Development, 66(5), 1303–1320.
  • Timothy Patterson
    Temple University
    E-mail Author
    TIMOTHY PATTERSON, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor of social studies education at Temple University, where he primarily teaches courses in social studies methods and the history of education. His research interests include teacher education in the social studies, particularly related to global education and international professional development. Previous publications include: Patterson, T., & Shuttleworth, J. (2019). The (mis)representation of enslavement in historical literature for elementary students Teachers College Record, 121(4), 1–40; and Patterson, T. (2015). The transformative power of travel? Four social studies teachers reflect on their international professional development. Theory and Research in Social Education, 43(3), 345–371.
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