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Running Head: Literature Review for The Five-Year Tech Plan

Literature Review for The Five-Year Tech Plan at

The Palmdale Aerospace Academy

Brian Eisen

Arizona State University

EDT 593

February 25, 2018


Running Head: Literature Review for The Five-Year Tech Plan

Introduction

The Palmdale Aerospace Academy (TPAA) currently possesses a Tech Plan at the school

that has been in place since its inception six years ago. Given that technology is continually

changing at an exponential pace, the IT team wants to create a new plan that is innovative and

revolutionary, to propose to the school board for approval. To help with this proposal, research

was done with the introduction, implementation, and support of using virtual reality in an

educational setting that was inspired by the Gartner Hype Cycle. The school is also interested in

purchasing Smart Boards, and further research was completed to determine if Smart Boards are

outdated, or have been innovated for the growing needs of the current classrooms.

What is the Hype Cycle

The Hype Cycle created by Gartner, an American research and advisory firm on

technology, is a graph that consists of five phases:

1. Technology Trigger

2. Peak of Inflated Expectations

3. Trough of Disillusionment

4. Slope of Enlightenment

5. Plateau of Productivity

As a new invention or innovation goes through the five phases, it is first introduced and everyone

wants it. Then comes the infinite expectations of the product before people start to lose interest.

Eventually, the product finds effective uses before entering the final stage, the plateau of

productivity.

Virtual reality is currently in the slope of enlightenment phase, and it is expected to be

entering the plateau of productivity within the next 1-4 years. The Gartner Hype Cycle claims
Running Head: Literature Review for The Five-Year Tech Plan

that virtual reality will soon become commonplace within our society, and the IT team at TPAA

wants to be ahead of that curve. The goal of the Five-Year Tech Plan is to be the leading

example for the local schools in our community to replicate when it comes to purchasing and

implementing technology.

Classroom Technology in the Past

The education system has remained stagnant for the better part of a century. Calculators

started to reshape the mathematics classrooms in the 70’s and 80’s, and computers started

showing up in the 90’s. With these introductions, the digital age of education had begun. Many

teachers argued for these inclusions, and many against, but they were here to stay since “it is not

technologies themselves, that cause changes; rather, changes occur because of new ways of

doing things that are enabled by technologies” (Simonson, Smaldino, & Zvacek, Pg 13).

As calculators and computers became affordable, they became a mainstay in the

classroom. Teachers were still needed to teach since “the medium seldom influences teaching,

learning, and education, nor is it likely that one single medium will ever be the best one for all

situations” (Bruyckere, Kirschner, & Hulshof, Pg. 16). This then allows teachers to use multiple

mediums and methods to teach their lessons that better suit students.

With the beginning of each new school year often comes a new innovative way to teach

students. Unfortunately, “We have become saddled with a multiplicity of tools, methods,

approaches, theories, and pseudotheories, many of which have been shown by science to be

wrong or, at best, only partially effective” (Bruyckere, Kirschner, & Hulshof, Pg. 12). It is up to

us, as educators, to research and review the many new options out there, and not to jump on the

‘next big thing.’


Running Head: Literature Review for The Five-Year Tech Plan

Virtual Reality in the Classroom

Virtual reality is an effective technology to use in the classroom since “simulations are

designed to replace or amplify real-world learning environments by allowing users to manipulate

objects and parameters in a virtual environment” (Makransky, Terkildsen, & Mayer, Pg 2). The

advantages for the students using virtual reality allow them to enter far away destinations inside

the classroom and to make major mistakes in a safe environment.

Virtual reality has been limited in its educational use due to the expensive cost. Over the

years, the cost has gone down, and the inclusion of virtual reality in the classroom is becoming a

reality. “Currently, there are a number of inexpensive, easy to use VR hardware and software

options that are well within reach of the average educator” (Brown & Green, Pg 517).

Some examples of free software are YouTube VR for immersive experiences such as

taking a weather balloon up into the atmosphere or walking around the Taj Mahal. Unity is a

game development platform that can be used to create 3D games for your phone in Computer

Science. One can walk through a building they created in their Civil Engineering and

Architecture course, as well as being able to see underneath the human skin in an online virtual

lab for Biology. These are just a few ways that “VR technologies allow opportunities for

educators to offer students easy and intuitive ways to interact with multimedia lessons” (Parong,

& Mayer, Pg. 1).

Google Cardboard is a cheap product with a $15 price tag, or two for $25 ($425 for a

class set of 34 students), to turn your phone into a virtual reality experience. The two downfalls

are that the students are forced to use their own phones, and the use of Google Cardboard would

most likely not last an entire school year.


Running Head: Literature Review for The Five-Year Tech Plan

Another option that would be able to last longer due to its durability is the Mattel View-

Master. Originally, the View-Master cost $30, and now it is worth $15 ($510 for a class set of 34

students). These virtual reality headsets would still require students to use their own phones, but

they should be able to last a few years before needing to be replaced.

The most basic Oculus Rift set cost $400 ($13,600 for a class set of 34 students) per unit.

The best part about these is that they are standalone sets, meaning that they do not require a

phone. The price here is expensive, but you do get what you pay for, and these sets would be

expected to last a long time.

Regardless of the technology that the school decides to invest in, “the VR content must

be meaningful, engaging, and navigable so that students retain what they learn” (Gadelha, Pg.

40). This would require further research into content specific software and teacher trainings.

With every passing day, “many (more) companies and public institutions are deciding to adapt

educational and training material to immersive VR even though there is a lack of theoretical or

scientific evidence to guide this decision and adaptation” (Makransky, Terkildsen, & Mayer, Pg.

9). Given that virtual reality is the next big thing, all of these companies are attempting to get

ahead of the curve with scientifically unproven and/or skewed results.

Finding the right strategy to use with virtual reality might be different for each classroom

and student. Parong and Mayer performed a study comparing an immersive lesson in virtual

reality with the same lesson using a PowerPoint on the desktop computer. Their findings were

that “students who viewed an immersive VR lesson reported significantly higher ratings of

motivation, interest, engagement, and affect than students who viewed a slideshow lesson

covering the same material, but scored significantly worse on a posttest, particularly on the

factual questions” (Parong & Mayer, Pg 9). It was interesting to note how the two separate
Running Head: Literature Review for The Five-Year Tech Plan

methods either inspired and motivated, or increased learning, but they could not do both. In

regards to the virtual reality lesson, Parong and Mayer concluded, “an immersive VR lesson

would lead to worse learning outcomes than a lesson that eliminates extraneous features”

(Parong & Mayer, Pg 2). This was due to the excess material included within the virtual world.

Following up on that study, Parong and Mayer came up with a teaching strategy that was

able to inspire and motivate the students, and increase the amount of learning. They used the

same virtual reality lesson, but this time they broke up the lesson into segments, and had the

students summarize after each part. By simply “adding a generative learning strategy,

summarizing, to the existing VR lesson significantly improved learning outcomes compared with

the original VR lesson, but did not significantly change ratings of motivation, interest,

engagement, or affect” (Parong & Mayer, Pg 9).

As great as virtual reality can be in the classroom, educators need to be cautious about

each companies’ claims. “There is still a gap between claims for the usefulness of VR in

academic learning and scientific research testing these claims” (Parong & Mayer, Pg 1). Some

virtual reality simulations might include too much gameplay and not enough principles of

multimedia learning. Other software programs might include too much irrelevant features within

the virtual world, thus distracting the student from learning. At the end of the day, “the focus is

not on which medium is best, but on what attributes of the medium can contribute to a positive,

equivalent learning experience” (Simonson, Smaldino, & Zvacek, Pg 61), and the goal is find

virtual reality software that inspires, motivates, and teaches our students.

Smart Boards in the Classroom

Smart boards were the next best thing in technology a couple of decades ago, and through

many innovations, they are attempting to keep up with modern times, even though some consider
Running Head: Literature Review for The Five-Year Tech Plan

them to be outdated. In comparison to white boards and black boards, smart boards allow the

class to become more interactive, and the “use of assistive technologies help convey the material

visually is highly appreciated by students” (Davidovitch, & Yavich, Pg. 60).

“With smart boards it is possible to show short films in class, as well as pictures and

pages from the textbook which best illustrate the material to the students, and thus students better

understand the lesson and also take an active part” (Davidovitch, & Yavich, Pg. 61). On the

contrary to the previous statement, our classrooms are set up with monitors that can connect to

laptops, and they can perform the same functions.

Another study by Yapici and Ferit claim that “Smart board use increased the students’

motivation, helped them avoid concentration problems and contributed to their participation in

lessons” (Yapici & Ferit, Pg 464). This can be a huge benefit to some students, thus having a

domino effect on some classrooms too. Overall, smart boards are a great tool to have in the

classroom, but with the technologies that have been advancing around them, are smart boards

really worth the cost?

Conclusion

The transfer of learning is the most important process that takes place in the classroom.

As educators, we need to maximize this as much as possible, and the use of technology will help

or hinder the process. “Although there is continued interest in the technology, the focus is not on

which medium is best, but on what attributes of the medium can contribute to a positive,

equivalent learning experience” (Simonson, Smaldino, & Zvacek, Pg 61). Choosing the right

medium combined with the right professional development will significantly increase the

learning for our students.


Running Head: Literature Review for The Five-Year Tech Plan

The best approach for the inclusion of virtual reality in the Five-Year Tech Plan would be

to create one Virtual Reality Lab in one of the empty classrooms at TPAA. It should cost around

$15,000 to $20,000, and it can serve as an opportunity for teachers to learn and understand the

use of virtual reality in the classroom. This Virtual Reality Lab would be open to all teachers to

use through a sign in sheet, but will only be available to those teachers who attend an in house

training on how to use the hardware and best teaching practices using virtual reality. If this

Virtual Reality Lab proves to be successful, then another classroom lab, a mobile lab, or setting

up an existing classroom with virtual reality can be the next step.

Another suggestion would be to buy a few class sets of Mattel View Masters. One set

would be ideal for the Computer Science class as they create apps for their phones, and have the

option to create 3D virtual reality apps. Another couple of Mattel View Master headsets can be

purchased and loaned out to classrooms that request them for those specific periods. Again,

teachers would have to attend an in house training before being allowed to use the virtual reality

headsets.

In regards to smart boards, more research will have to be done. A trip down to Cisco

Systems in Glendale, California will be organized so that we can have a hands on approach to

test out the smart boards in question. If the innovations are lacking, we may choose to pass on

the opportunity to purchase the smart boards, but if they prove to be effective and the cost is low

enough, it might be something for our school to consider investing in.


Running Head: Literature Review for The Five-Year Tech Plan

References

Panetta, C., K., (2017, October 12). Top Trends in the Gartner Hype Cycle for Emerging

Technologies, 2017. Retrieved February 19, 2018, from

https://www.gartner.com/smarterwithgartner/top-trends-in-the-gartner-hype-cycle-for-

emerging-technologies-2017

Simonson, M., Smaldino, S., & Zvacek, S. (2015). Teaching and learning at a distance:

Foundations of Distance education (6th ed.) Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing,

Inc.

De Bruyckere, P., Kirschner, P. A., & Hulshof, C. D. (2016). Technology in Education: What

Teachers Should Know. American Educator, 40(1), 12-18.

Brown, A., & Green, T. (2016). Virtual Reality: Low-Cost Tools and Resources for the

Classroom. TechTrends, 60(5), 517-519. doi:10.1007/s11528-016-0102-z

Gadelha, R. (2018). Revolutionizing Education: The promise of virtual reality. Childhood

Education, 94(1), 40-43. doi:10.1080/00094056.2018.1420362

Parong, J., & Mayer, R. E. (2018, January 25). Learning Science in Immersive Virtual Reality.

Journal of Educational Psychology. Advance online publication.

http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/edu0000241

Makransky, G., Terkildsen, T. S., & Mayer, R. E. (2017) Adding immersive virtual reality to a

science lab simulation causes more presence but less learning. Learning and Instruction.

doi:10.1016/j.learninstruc.2017.12.007

Davidovitch, N., & Yavich, R. (2017). The Effect of Smart Boards on the Cognition and

Motivation of Students. Higher Education Studies, 7(1), 60. doi:10.5539/hes.v7n1p60


Running Head: Literature Review for The Five-Year Tech Plan

Yapici.,I., U., & Ferit, K. (2016). High school students attitudes towards smart board use in

Biology classes. Educational Research and Reviews, 11(7), 459-465.

doi:10.5897/err2016.2691