Professor of Geography; founder, ChoroPhronesis
Taking a bigger picture view of immersive technologies such as virtual reality at Penn State is what intrigues Alexander Klippel, and he is partnering with TLT as a 2017-18 Faculty Fellow to make that happen.
Currently, much of the work related to immersive technologies at the University is being done individually, and faculty and students who could benefit from new developments are not aware of them. Klippel wants to connect education, research, and outreach to better showcase Penn State’s presence as a potential leader in immersive technologies.
Immersive technologies are fundamentally changing how we communicate about places around the world; how we are able to monitor, understand, and communicate changes in climate and ecosystems; how we transform data into knowledge; how big geospatial data can be visualized and integrated into comprehensive decision support systems; how to treat diseases; and how we educate our students, including in STEM disciplines. Despite all of the advances as well as the availability and affordability of immersive VR solutions, there are still challenges to be met and addressed to truly embrace this technology and integrate it into both online and residential education.
Klippel envisions his fellowship as a means to further the integration of immersive technologies; to conduct studies that demonstrate the value immersive technologies add to learning; and to make resources available through a central website for the Penn State community. Further plans include an open house in fall 2017 where demonstrations of immersive technologies would invite disciplines that might not currently use them to dive deeper into their potential; and a symposium, Thinking Within, to be held December 2, 2017, to bring together researchers and educators to share insights and empirical data on how immersive technologies foster learning.
Chris Stubbs (lead)