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Thursday, October 3 • 3:30pm - 4:30pm
Exploring Identity Construction in Virtual Reality Systems

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Research has shown that learners’ real-world identities and virtual identities have a significant impact on educational outcomes. The process of establishing a virtual identity can not only reveal aspects of a learner’s real-world identity, it can also influence the way they interact with a piece of educational technology. In this workshop, we will ground a discussion of virtual identity in three immersive, educational artifacts: Cellverse (Thompson, Wang, Roy & Klopfer, 2019), Passage Home VR (Olson, 2019), and AIRvatar (Harrell and Lim, 2017). Cellverse is a cross-platform, collaborative game where pairs of students diagnose and treat a diseased cell. With respect to identity, the aims of the work are to support learners’ self-image as scientific thinkers, to support the development of a professional identity, and to support the legitimate peripheral participation in a community of practice. Passage Home VR is an interactive narrative VR game that operationalizes a novel computational model of racial and ethnic socialization (RES) (Hughes et al., 2006) as a step toward improving approaches to virtual race and ethnicity representation in video games. AIRvatar is a tool for monitoring, collecting, and storing telemetry data developed to study real-world and virtual identity phenomena. As part of the NSF-backed “Computing for Advanced Identity Representation” project, AIRvatar was used to study the impact of virtual identities on educational outcomes. Workshop attendees will participate in discussion-based activities and engage with several interactive system demos. Participants are strongly encouraged to bring laptops to the session.

avatar for Dan Roy

Dan Roy

Research Scientist, MIT Education Arcade
Dan Roy is a research scientist at the Education Arcade and the Playful Journey Lab. He is the lead game designer on the CLEVR project, inviting high school biology students to explore a cell in VR and collaboratively diagnose and treat a genetic disorder. Dan is also the founder... Read More →
avatar for Meredith Thompson

Meredith Thompson

Research Scientist and Instructor, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
collaboration, virtual reality, STEM and STEAM education, K12 education, teacher preparation, experiential learning

Danielle Olson

Doctoral Student, MIT

Thursday October 3, 2019 3:30pm - 4:30pm PDT
Emerald Bay D/E 311 Peltason Dr., Irvine, CA, 92697