Virtual Reality Teacher Professional Development: Voices from Teachers who Teach Students with Significant Cognitive Disabilities
Abstract: The use of technology has positively impacted instruction in math and science, including instruction for students with significant cognitive disabilities (SCD). Additionally, virtual reality (VR) technology has been used for students with SCD and has resulted in positive outcomes. However, it has not been widely adapted to teach science concepts to students with SCD, and part of that is the teacher's lack of understanding and technical knowledge of technology. This narrative case study aimed to describe the teachers of students with SCD’s knowledge, attitudes, and instructional practices as they engage in professional development and the use of VR in the classroom. To collect data, the researcher used interviews, virtual reality training, PD and classroom observations, and document analysis. The study showed that prior to this research, teachers did not use virtual reality in the classroom. They felt excited about getting trained on it and anxious in using it due to the spectrum of students’ cognitive abilities. Although they liked to use VR, they pointed out that “time to develop and/ or implement the technology in the classroom” was the biggest constraint. The teachers wanted to use VR to reinforce the concepts taught in the classroom. In conclusion, the teachers' professional development on virtual reality has allowed them opportunities to understand VR use in instruction and express their perceptions about it.