Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Xie, Ying

Degree Name

Ph.D. (Doctor of Philosophy)

Legacy Department

Department of Educational Technology, Research and Assessment (ETRA)


Immersive virtual reality as a tool in the middle-school classroom is a promising avenue to aid in cognitively challenging tasks requiring access to visual processes. As these tools become ever present in society, the expectation of school districts to include them into classroom curricula has become challenging, as there is inconsistent data connecting to beneficial learning outcomes. Middle-School STEM classrooms experience an exceptional challenge in the expectation to build strong spatial reasoning skills on rudimentary geometry concepts. It is with that in mind that many 21st-century technology classrooms turn to immersive virtual reality, such as Oculus Rift, as a tool to bridge the gap between conceptual and skill-based expectations. Therefore, this study explored the connections between spatial reasoning skills and the immersive virtual reality learning environment (IVRLE) in order to identify any correlation between access to the immersive nature of the platform and the ability to apply spatial processing by engaging in the full experience of building an object and visualizing its dimensions. This experimental study found no statistically significant data to support the conclusion that the completion of a task through the experience of the IVRLE (treatment group) provided any additional benefits, when measured with the Middle Grades Mathematics Project Spatial Visualization Test, as compared to those who completed the same task within a traditional PC environment (control group). Additionally, building within the IVRLE produced a negative effect on the outcome when the three-dimensional models created were printed through a 3D printer and evaluated. It is recommended that further research continue the important task of evaluating the specific value of tools such as Oculus Rift and other immersive virtual reality platforms in the middle-school classroom.


61 pages




Northern Illinois University

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In Copyright

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