Virtual Reality for Science & Education 2016 – a Review

On the 10th of March 2016 we organized the Virtual Reality for Science & Education symposium at the Scheltema Complex in Leiden. I think we can safely state the event was a great success!

Over 125 people attended the event, causing a small shortage of chairs at the busiest time of the symposium. I have seen many familiar faces, but also met a lot of interesting new people. The list of attendees included researchers, professors, high school teachers, entrepreneurs, Virtual Reality developers, policy makers and artists. I think this mix of people led to very interesting discussions, thank you all very much for your input!

The speakers of the symposium showed us inspiring examples of successful application of Virtual Reality in science and education. I think these examples illustrate the countless opportunities that are in need of experimentation. Below you can find the list of speakers, the full program can be found here.

During the break and the drinks at the end of the day people could experience different VR experiences themselves. There were demonstrations by:

 

The video of the symposium was made by Floran Swanborn and is embedded at the top of this post. Below you can view the photos made by Roland Clarke.

Virtual Reality for Science & Education symposium - 10 March 2016

These are the slides for my presentation at the symposium.

   
Are you interested in the slides of the other speakers? Or do you have an idea for a new project? Please feel free to contact me. You can also subscribe to the Virtual Reality & Education newsletter if you want to be informed about future events!

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This symposium was made possible by the LUF, the Gratama stichting and the Media Technology program.

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Virtual Reality for Science & Education Symposium – 10 March 2016

Updates about the program below!

During the last few years developments in Virtual Reality have gained a lot of momentum. Almost two decades after the inevitable downfall in the hype cycle, the Oculus Rift showed that a VR headset is within reach for the average consumer. This kickstarted many new initiatives, causing an entire VR ecosystem to emerge, with small start-ups and massive corporations creating new headsets, innovative input devices, spherical cameras and loads of immersive content.

These developments open many possibilities for research and education. Realistic simulations allow police officers to safely train dangerous situations. 3D visualizations can help the design process by allowing the user to walk around in buildings that have not been built yet. But we can also think of immersive data visualizations which can be navigated spatially. Psychology researchers can use VR to measure responses to realistic environments and scenarios. Lectures about ancient Rome could be given while walking past the Colosseum and virtual classrooms could make following a MOOC into a more intense and social experience.

Symposium
To explore the possibilities of this new medium, we organize the symposium ‘Virtual Reality for Science & Education‘ on the 10th of March 2016. The symposium will start at 13:30 at the Scheltema complex in Leiden. Around 17:30 we will end the day with some drinks and Virtual Reality demonstrations.

On this day, the students from the eponymous elective research course of the Media Technology MSc. program will present the VR prototypes they have created.

The plenary program will have speakers from different backgrounds: Virtual Reality developers, scientists who use VR in their research and educators who experiment with VR in the classroom.

Program

13:30 Coffee, registration and demo’s

14:00 Welcome

14:05 Robin de Lange (Leiden University)
In his talk, Robin will discuss some results from his PhD research so far. Why do many people think Virtual Reality could be a powerful tool for education? What kind of possibilities are there? What is the best way to proceed?

14:30 Guntur Sandino (CleVR)
CleVR specializes in creating complete and customized Virtual Reality (VR) solutions for a wide range of purposes in the (Mental) Health Care sector. Guntur will talk about the interactive applications they have created to treat fear of flying and Social Phobia.

14:55 Student team: DinoZapp
Gosse Mol, Han Lie, Roos Hoefnagel & Nickolas Ioannou will present the VR game they have created where children learn the practices of taxonomy in a playful way. This project was part of the VRSE course and created in collaboration with Naturalis.

15:10 Richard den Tilborg (Ordina)
VR is powerful technology, can it be used to change our subconsciousness for humanized purposes?Ordina SMART realized several cases to influence the brain. Two of them will be explained in this presentation. (1) Can VR help patients wih anorexia? and (2) Battle your fear for public speaking

—–BREAK—–

15:50 Hans Luyckx (IJsfontein)
IJsfontein designs and develops playful (digital) learning based on the belief that people are naturally curious and intrinsically motivated to develop themselves. Hans will talk about the VR projects they created for Veilig Verkeer Nederland and the new Waterlinie Museum.

16:15Lisa E. Rombout
Lisa will discuss the use of the placebo effect in virtual health care, based on her Media Technology graduation research that compared real-world placebo’s with virtual ones.

16:25 – Student team: Orbital Visualization
Bauke Smits & Desiree de Ridder will present the VR application they have created that teaches Chemistry students the complex shapes of atomic orbitals. This project was part of the VRSE course.

16:40Sander Veenhof
To explore which role Virtual Reality can play in the future of education, Sander Veenhof has been developing and testing experimental multi-user VR learning environments for classroom use. In his talk, he will share the results – but the failures too.

17:00 – Discussion, Drinks & Demos

During the day visitors can try many different Virtual Reality demonstrations and experience the potential of VR themselves. The talks and experiences can be discussed during the (free!) drinks at the end of the day.

Flyer VR for science and education_10_March_2016

Registration
The symposium is free for everyone, but tickets are limited. Registration via this form is required.

Call for project demonstrations
We are looking for interesting additions to the program of the VRSE Symposium 2016. Do you want to show the VR project you have created? We still have openings for the following format:

  • Project demonstration. You will have a stand to showcase and explain your work during the day.

This symposium was made possible by the LUF, the Gratama-stichting and the Faculty of Science.