New Orleans, Louisiana
June 26, 2016
June 26, 2016
August 28, 2016
Computers in Education
This paper presents the initial results of study on the use of Virtual Reality (VR) technologies for the purpose of teaching Concentrating Solar Power (CSP) technology to high school students. Using CAD software, a scale model of an actual alternative energy research facility at the University of Louisiana was imported into a game engine to create a Virtual Energy Center (VEC) serious (educational) game. Interactive educational activities are throughout the Virtual Environment (VE), and the student completes them to virtually produce solar power. During this experience, the students learn about the major components of a CSP plant and how they work. Current work in progress is to use the Oculus Rift DK2 for immersive visuals and head tracking, Razer Hydra controllers for pointing-type tracked interactions and other inputs, and a second-generation Microsoft Kinect as a depth camera to capture a teacher or guide. With the Microsoft Kinect, a live 3D image of the solar energy expert is able to remotely interact with the high school students, answering questions and providing guidance. The VE has been built with networking capabilities so that multiple students can enter the 3D environment and interact with each other within the VEC. Several demonstrations have been performed and a pilot study with pre-test, post-test, and questionnaires were given to college and STEM high school students. Along with positive feedback about the experience there was a substantial improvement on the post-tests, showing that this type of application can be used as an educational tool.
Ritter, K. A., & Chambers, T. L., & Borst, C. W. (2016, June), Work in Progress: Networked Virtual Reality Environment for Teaching Concentrating Solar Power Technology Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.27024
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