XR: Bridging the Gap Research Symposium Recap


Published: October 25, 2020 by Dr. Pat Franks

The first annual research symposium was held October 24, 2020, in the XR Research Center, a part of the Virtual Center for Archives and Records Administration on SJSU’s iSchool island in Second Life.

Keynote presenter, Dr. Donna Z. Davis, shared her thoughts on the promise and challenges ahead for those seeking to use virtual reality in a way that promotes equity and inclusion (figure 1).  

Figure 1. Keynote presentation: The Canyon Crossing: XR and inaccessibility.

Keynote presenter, Dr. Fengfeng Ke, highlighted a design-based research project on individualized training of representational flexibility for STEM+C reasoning and problem solving among adolescents with autism spectrum disorder (figure 2).

Figure 2. Dr. Ke speaks on the topic of Adaptive Training & Data-drive Tracking Representational Flexibility in a Virtual Reality-based Learning Environment

Participants had the opportunity to share their views on three key topics: Accessibility , Networking/Communities of Practice, and Content Creation/Building within Birds-of-a-Feather breakout sessions (figure 3) and then came back as a large group to report on the main ideas discussed (figure 4).

Figure 3. Ryan Shultz and Bethany Winslow lead the discussion on networking and communities of practice in Virtual Worlds and Social Virtual Reality.

Figure 4. Dr. Pat Franks (preceptor Amat) facilitates an exchange of topics covered during all three breakout sessions.

The final hour of the three-hour event allow participants to hear from researchers in lightning poster presentations.  Dr. Val Hill (Valibrarian in SL) presented a poster on “Research on Oscillation between physical and Virtual Spaces for Learning” (figure 5)  Dr. Hill addresses this topic her latest book, Metamodernism and Changing Literacy: Emerging Research and Opportunities, Hershey, PA: IGI Global.

Figure 5. Research poster addresses the need to adopt new nomenclature to address literacy in this rapidly changing digital culture.  Two terms that match the needs to balance life and learning--such as metaliteracy and metamodernism.

The final poster was presented by Bethany Winslow of SJSU’s eCampus.  She first explained the technical aspects of engaging in Social Virtual Reality and then lead the group on a visit to her SJSU space in Mozilla Hubs (figure 6).

Figure 6. Bethany Winslow explains the various ways users could participate in a visit to Mozilla Hubs (social virtual reality space).

In contrast to the more lifelike figures used to represent participants in Second Life, characters in Mozilla Hubs encourage experimentation with different types of avatars.

Figure 7. A diverse group of characters representing participants in Mozilla Hubs.

Check back soon for more information on XR Research Symposium activities.


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