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Using VR to Spark Interest in Science

by Marguerite McNeal

EdSurge

Article excerpt

Are We Alone? A New Take on Bio 101

College students studying mitosis and meiosis next semester will ditch textbooks and immerse themselves in a journey to answer the big question: Are we alone? They’ll explore evolution through a virtual field trip to the Galapagos Islands and use simulations to understand cell life.

Our take

Now You Can Take Your College Students to the Galapagos Islands—Virtually

Who says science has to be boring? A new course offering for non-science students attempts to create greater engagement, and reduce dropout rates, through virtual reality. BioBeyond is being introduced as a non-science major option for college students whose interest may be sparked by Inspark Teaching Network’s innovative virtual reality solution. The price is right too, thanks to a $4.5 million grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Could this be an option for your campus?

At only $25 per student, it’s definitely a cost-effective solution and potentially worth checking out. The ability to explore the Galapagos Islands, virtually, while conducting research to better understand what constitutes “life” may help to convey what could otherwise be dry information, especially to those not planning a career in biology. The course will be available this fall.

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