This project seeks to integrate and evaluate the use of the radically innovative motion-controlled virtual reality game ‘Thy Enemy’ in the classroom setting of the ‘Reading the Middle Ages’ unit. Through this technology students will gain a deeper understanding of how performances of combat shaped the production of medieval literature and history. The use of virtual reality in education is a new and radically innovative field; this project has the potential to set the stage for UWA to become a world leader in this field.
Using the new HTC Vive Virtual Reality platform, the project will enable students to learn and receive feedback about the performances and emotions of medieval violence while immersed in the simulated context of a thirteenth-century combat. The Secondment of Michael Ovens (a UWA PhD candidate & ‘Thy Enemy’ developer) to the Centre for Education Futures, will seed the development of a vibrant ‘hackerspace’ at the Futures Observatory, a community of developers and virtual reality innovators able to create new teaching and learning technologies.
‘Thy Enemy’ allows for a unique form of mobile and experiential learning with in-built choices and questions that provide students the opportunity to receive feedback from the tutor as they are guided through the virtual world. The game’s source-files and screen-captured recordings will be made available to students via UWA’s online Learning Management System (LMS). The project will undertake a detailed evaluation of the efficacy of both the game and the technology in order to facilitate the future use of evidence based learning at UWA and to guide staff on the integration of virtual reality technology into their classroom.