Our center has state of the art Virtual Reality tools and technologies necessary for outreach activities. As part of K-12 outreach efforts, the Soaring Eagle program offers workshops to both teachers and students on virtual engineering and micro systems technologies as part of OSU’s effort at creating an early interest among school students in engineering.
Dr. Cecil is also spearheading a pilot initiative at OSU working with school teachers on using Virtual Reality to teach math and science concepts to elementary and middle school students. Pilot modules in mathematics (learning of 3D shapes for first graders) and science (exploring our solar system for fifth graders ) are being developed. The images in Figure 1 provide snapshots of Sangre Ridge students (in Stillwater, OK) and teachers interacting with some of these virtual learning modules which were introduced through Soaring Eagle workshops held at CINBM.

Figure 1: Images (left and right) from Soaring Eagle workshopsheld at CINBM.
First graders explore the solar system using a Virtual Reality environment created to support learning of science and math concepts. Stereovision eyewear worn by students (left) is used to interact with the 3D virtual environments (also referred to as virtual prototypes); navigation by students and teachers is through controllers and tracking sensors. As this is an immersive environment, the 3D images on the screen appear blurry to others not wearing stereovision eyewear.

Students exploring VR environments at a Soaring Eagle Workshop

Figure 2: Images from pilot initiatives involving Virtual LearningEnvironments (VLEs)
(a) Teacher and students exploring Shapes using a VLE (b) Students exploring our Solar System on the VR Powerwall: our Sun can be seen clearly with other planets in the background; data can also be optionally displayed to the students about mass, relative distances and other relevant details (c) an enthusiastic student as he interacts with the Virtual Solar System (same as in (b))