Review article 22 Computers and Education

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Review article 22 Crosier, J.K., et al. 2002. Key lessons for the design and integration of virtual environments in secondary science. Computers and Education, 38 (1-3), 77-94.

The study discusses a research project in which a virtual environment (VE) to teach radioactivity was developed and tested in a number of schools. It has shown that there are many factors affecting the design, development and integration of software in education. It was found that the characteristics of the technology, in this case the VR (virtual reality) or VE attributes, were important throughout the selection process to ensure that the selected application makes the best use of the technology. An important finding of this research was the importance of acknowledging any “contextual considerations” early in the design phase. The researchers argue that a user-centered design and development phase is useful and beneficial for ascertaining the needs for software on the classroom. They also suggest that school-based evaluation studies are important for gaining an understanding of how the software will be used and integrated in a school setting. They further claim that observing students using the software and gathering their opinions of it will ensure that in addition to the educational goals being satisfied, the software is useful, enjoyable and useable by students.

Keywords: Virtual reality; Applications in subject areas; Evaluation methodologies; Interactive learning environments; Secondary education; Radioactivity; England.

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