Virtual Realia of Indonesia: Using virtual reality to support cultural understanding through immersive media and digital realia
Abstract: This presentation provides an overview of the use of a virtual reality (VR) environment to support a group project abroad program for developing curriculum materials related to the culture, history, and arts of Indonesia. An immersive VR experience was created in the browser-based Frame VR platform, in addition to a project website that provides program information and media downloads. The VR experience was designed to allow users to be more fully engaged in immersive media, such as 360-degree photoscapes and video from various vantage points at world heritage sites, as well as within traditional houses and villages. Realia, culture-specific objects and material from everyday life used as teaching aids, were digitized and placed within the “Indonesia Virtual Realia” space. This project is important because the VR environment provides an immersive experience for educators and students to interact with digital realia from the cultures of Indonesia. It provides multisensory cultural experiences, such as viewing a collection of musical instruments while listening to music from regions of Bali and West Timor. The Frame VR platform proved to be a useful tool for offering experiential learning opportunities. Since it is browser-based, Frame offers a seamless link from the project website to the virtual reality components, whereas other popular VR environments would require an additional application download and discontinuity with the project website.