Published March 26, 2024 | Version v1
Journal Open

KonnectVR: Pioneering an Open-sourced, Educational, Collaborative Virtual Reality Platform

  • 1. Biology Department, St. Cloud Technical & Community College, St. Cloud, MN
  • 2. Visualization Laboratory, St. Cloud State University, St. Cloud, MN

Description

Virtual reality (VR) technologies are transforming educational paradigms by enabling highly immersive, interactive simulations that increase engagement and cognition. This paper presents KonnectVR (KVR), an innovative, open-source platform designed to mitigate common barriers in educational VR. Barriers such as high costs, limited content customization, and the absence of real-time assessments. The system, constructed by undergraduate students, facilitates experiential learning, real-time collaboration, and assessment delivery, empowering educators with an unprecedented degree of accessibility and customization. Employing a case study methodology, we provide unique insider perspectives into KVR's architectural design, underlying pedagogical framework, development processes, challenges encountered, and future directions. Findings reveal technical hurdles overcome by undergraduate student teams like VR-specific programming, user interface design, networking, and cybersecurity integration. The analysis uncovers key themes around project-based skill acquisition, problem-solving perseverance, cross-team knowledge gaps, and the benefits of an agile, user-centric approach. Ultimately, KVR demonstrates how emerging technologies and open-sourced solutions can converge to innovate learning, pushing boundaries while serving an egalitarian educational mission. The platform sets the foundation for a new generation of community-driven tools democratizing access to interactive, distributive, collaborative VR experiences that maximize knowledge construction.

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Additional details

Funding

Technical Workforce Immersive Teaching and Learning Resources 2202206
National Science Foundation