How Virtual Reality Can Bring Citizen Science to Your Science Classroom

How Virtual Reality Can Bring Citizen Science to Your Science Classroom

In a participatory democracy, citizens engage in the democratic process.  For some reason, this idea is often removed from our classrooms.  The truth is that social issues have a natural place in our classrooms, particularly in science classrooms.  So much of science learning focuses on content learning; connecting the content to issues that affect students and their communities should be a best practice. John Dewey (1977) often connected democracy and education together and its time that we see the reflection of such philosophies in science education.  

Students should be taught that science and scientific thinking can be a tool for positive change in their worlds.  They should be given the opportunity to engage in citizen science, to participate in debate about science-related issues in their communities and should be shown science can empower them.  

However, citizen science ventures are not always attainable or easy to participate in for the average science teacher.

Enter Virtual Reality: In the past couple of years, virtual reality has seen rapid advancement from the Oculus Rift headset in 2016 to Google Cardboard VR.  Cardboard VR is a simple stereoscope through which 3D imagery was produced by a smartphone. 

Here are some of the best Cardboard VR educational apps out there:

1) Wizard Academy VR

2) Cleanopolis VR

3) InCell VR