The basic concept of force is often hard to grasp. Even students of physics are sometimes still hindered by pre-concepts. Can Virtual Reality contribute to a better understanding of the concept of ‘force’?
Physical experiences provide sensorimotor stimuli that can in the long term contribute to the acquisition of new knowledge. For the concept of force it is important that students experience the difference between situations with and without external forces like gravity and friction. This scenario is hard to realise on earth.
Jan van Riswick says that with the use of a VR environment it is possible to recreate this on earth. Through this voucher project, his goal is to bring about a conceptual change in his students regarding the robust misconception that 'force is proportional to speed'. Previous research has already shown that a VR game holds great promise for improving understanding of the concepts of force and inertia. The game supports the idea that power is an (inter)action.
To realise the new perspective on force for students, Van Riswick will use the VR game 'Newton's First VR-Experience' in his education. Through this, students can playfully experience the effect of force on earth and in space. The game can also be used by secondary school teachers to promote understanding of strength in high school students.
When the VR game is implemented in education, students from the Science Education programme and the Radboud Teachers Academy will conduct subject didactic research into developments in the field of pre-concepts, conceptual change and embodied learning.