Meet Isabella Flachsenberger. Isabella undertook the 2017-2018 Adelaide Summer Research Scheme (ASRS).
We sat down with Isabella to learn all about her experience and her research into The Use of Virtual Reality in Education.
Tell us about one highlight you experienced during the ASRS project.
The ASRS project gave me the opportunity to use knowledge and research skills I have developed throughout my degree to contribute to the current body of research on Immersive Virtual Reality in Education. I was most excited that I was given the opportunity and resources to develop a framework that included recommendations that have never been made before and that address issues that have not been addressed before. Knowing that my research is contributing to the successful implementation of IVR technology within schools is very rewarding.
What skills has the project helped you to develop or expand?
The project greatly expanded my research skills, my ability to self direct and my ability to take initiative within a research project. I started my research by conducting a systematic review of the entire body of research on IVR in Education from the past five years. This was a massive task that taught me a lot about how to quickly evaluate and categorise sources and how to organise my findings. It also taught me the importance of sticking to a daily schedule in order to meet deadlines. The ability to take initiative was the greatest skill I developed through taking part in my ASRS project – when I began the project I was very reliant on my mentor and expected to be given a list of steps to take in order to complete my project. I quickly realised that my mentor intended the project to be mostly self-directed which entirely put me outside of my comfort zone but resulted in the development of a really important skill.
What outputs have resulted from your project?
My research produced two pieces of evidence, a systematic review which examines the use of immersive virtual reality technologies in educational contexts. The review comprehensively analyses articles written and studies conducted between 2015 (the year that Oculus Rift, Vive and Playstation VR technologies were in final developmental stages) and 2017, as well as examining relevant references cited within these studies. I also produced a framework informed by my review that aims to guide educational institutions and individual practitioners on the use of immersive virtual reality as an educational tool. Both my review and the framework are yet to be published.
What would you say to other students who may be considering applying for the next round of ASRS?
I would recommend that anyone thinking about applying for an ASRS not feel too restricted by what they feel their interests or their strengths are. The project I ended up doing was not my first preference and I was apprehensive because I felt like I didn’t know enough about the topic or enough about high tech education. I’m really glad that I took part in it despite this because I developed a really strong interest in the area which I will pursue throughout my career and I believe that I brought a unique perspective to the research because my areas of interest are not typically tech based.
To apply for the next 2018-2019 Adelaide Summer Research Scholarship, find out more here.