English Medium Instruction on Immersive Virtual Reality Platforms: The Case of Spatial (75543)

Session Information: Virtual Reality
Session Chair: Melinda Dooly

Sunday, 12 November 2023 09:30
Session: Session 1
Room: Sri Sachanalai
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation

All presentation times are UTC + 7 (Asia/Bangkok)

The accelerating growth of Artificial Intelligence (AI) techniques have created many immersive Metaverse platforms which can be used for various purposes including teaching and learning. Although many studies have explored the use of immersive Virtual Reality (VR) platforms in university courses, little research on the application of these digital tools in the English Medium Instruction classroom has been conducted. Therefore, this paper aims to investigate teacher and student perspectives about EMI in the Metaverse using Spatial, an immersive VR space developed in 2016. To answer the above question, the researchers invited 20 EFL (English as a Foreign Language) university students from diverse academic backgrounds to 2-hour virtual classes. The lesson topics were decided by the researcher who also acted as the instructor. After the classes, the students were asked to complete a survey with 5 Likert Scale questions to evaluate the quality of the lesson and the Spatial platform, followed by a focus-group meeting in which they shared more detailed comments on their learning experiences. While delivering the lesson, the researcher/instructor was observing the student participation in learning activities and interaction with digital features on Spatial, and then shared some reflection on the teaching process. According to the student responses to the survey and focus-group meeting, the lesson topics were interesting, and the teacher delivered the lessons in an organized way with clear instructions and provided adequate technical support. They also found Spatial a more engaging learning platform which motivated them to interact with their peers and shared their opinions in English compared to Zoom sessions. Only a few students reported that there was little difference between Spatial and face-to-face classes. According to the instructor, although the classes seemed to be smoothly run, it was sometimes inconvenient to view the student written responses to learning tasks if they posted their notes from a different angle. Furthermore, it did not guarantee all students participated in classroom activities as they could navigate freely through different portals in the 3D environment, and the instructor were unable to supervise all students at the same time.

Abstract Summary
This paper will introduce university educators and researchers to Spatial, a rather new immersive VR platform, which can be used in English Medium Instruction (EMI). The student and teacher perspectives about the effectiveness of this platform will suggest important pedagogical implications about immersive learning at university level and potential research ideas for any scholars interested in AI-assisted education.

Tuong Vy Nguyen, The Education University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong

About the Presenter(s)
Ms. Nguyen is a Language Instructional Assistant at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. Her research interests include Differentiated Instruction, English for Academic Purposes, Technology Education, and Arts-based Instruction.

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