A Virtual Bridge to Cultural Access: Culturally Relevant Virtual Reality and Its Impact on Science Students

Bryan A. Brown, Kathryn Ribay, Greses Pérez, Phillip A. Boda, Matthew Wilsey
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This mixed-methods study examines the implications of using the tenets of culturally relevant pedagogy (CRP) to design an elementary science lesson grounded in four virtual reality (VR) videos. Given the need for additional understandings of how elementary science educators can infuse cultural relevance alongside content development, this study illuminates how designing for CRP can utilize VR as a pedagogical platform to bridge science instruction and students’ lived experiences. Using pre- and post-attitudinal surveys (n=145) and post interviews (n=48), we examined students’ perceptions of a single virtual reality lesson about energy and food chains. The data suggest that learning through a CRP-based VR design (CRP-VR) enhanced students’ perception of the connection between the science content and its socio-political application to social justice issues. Implications highlight the potential of leveraging VR technology as a means to provide science instruction that explicitly affords students the opportunity to connect content learning and social action.


Elementary science education, Virtual reality, Culturally relevant pedagogy, Educational technology, Social justice

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Brown, B.A., Ribay, K., Perez, G., Boda, P.A., & Wilsey M. (2020). A virtual bridge to cultural access: Culturally relevant virtual reality and its impact on science students. International Journal of Technology in Education and Science (IJTES), 4(2), 86-97.


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