Want to help us research marine education and virtual reality?

Host a Stanford VR study site!

See below for more details

With this project, we are investigating the affordances of Virtual Reality (VR) in education using the Stanford Ocean Experience (SOE), a VR piece developed by the Virtual Human Interaction Lab at Stanford University. SOE is an educational experience that makes the impossible possible: seeing the ocean absorb carbon dioxide (CO2) molecules, a coral reef degrade, and marine life disappear as the ocean acidifies. VHIL teamed up with marine scientists from Hopkins Marine Station and Stanford Center for Ocean Solutions and each step in the journey is based on marine science research. Through this VR experience, participants will be able to learn about the causes and the consequences of ocean acidification, as well as actions that can be taken to reduce CO2 emissions.

We have created sixteen different versions of the experience to investigate how VR design can enhance learning. All research procedures are self-contained in the VR experience. In the very first screen participants will see the consent form in VR, giving them the option to participate or not in this research. Participants accepting to participate will answer a few questions before and after the experience. These questions will be presented while in VR (using the headset) and they will use the hand controllers to select their answers. The data is automatically recorded to the cloud accessible to Stanford researchers only. Those who decline to participate are still able to go through the experience, but we don’t collect any data.

We have worked closely with our Institutional Review Board (IRB) to ensure that our study complies with all privacy and ethics regulations. We do not collect any names, so the data is always anonymous.

To run the experience, you will need a VR setup comprising of: an HTC Vive headset with respective tracking system and hand controllers; a gamer laptop or a desktop with the requirements for running the HTC Vive; a pair of tripods to set the tracking system, or fixing the tracking system to the wall. A designated space of 12×12 feet (minimum) to 14×14 feet (ideal) is needed to give participants enough room to explore the VR environment.

Don’t worry if your team doesn’t have experience with VR, we can help set-up the equipment, install the software, and train docents to run the experience. We will also be available to provide any troubleshooting and we can be there in person when needed to give you additional tech support.

We hope that this would be a win-win arrangement. VR has become a draw for people who want to experience immersive simulations for themselves. It is a great way to give visitors a unique hands-on educational experience.

Considering a diverse population will help us advance VR development for educational purposes. In addition, we aim at promoting public awareness about an important topic that needs urgent attention: the steep rise in CO2 emissions and its impacts on the ocean. Recent research has been pointing out the urgency to increase public awareness and take actions to reduce the human impact leading to ocean acidification before it is too late. Your collaboration is very important to bring knowledge and awareness to the public, as well as advancing the scientific research on VR.

Anna Queiroz
Principal Investigator

Tobin Asher
Director of Partnerships
Virtual Human Interaction Lab
Stanford University


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