This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

Virtual Environments for Education: An Empirical Study of Implementing Education into 3D Video Games and Applications




Swanier, Cheryl

Type of Degree



Computer Science


We live in a digital age and technology is constantly changing, therefore the way people learn and perceive information is starting to change. Hence, virtual learning environments may be a new and innovative way to stimulate minds. In the book Virtually There, Stephen Heppell explains, Learning is breaking out of the narrow boxes that it was trapped in during the 20th century; teachers’ professionalism, reflection and ingenuity are leading learning to places that genuinely excite this new generation of connected young school students – and their teachers too. VLEs are helping to make sure that their learning is not confined to a particular building, or restricted to any single location or moment. One way to capture positive learning is through video game and three-dimensional representation. The term virtual is a common term in the 21st century, but what does it really mean? According to The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language the word virtual is used in various ways to denote things, activities, and organizations that are realized or carried out chiefly in an electronic medium. The purpose of this research is to address the need of increasing student achievement in mathematics through virtual environments. The primary focus is to create an environment where students in K–12 education can learn mathematics while using a visual programming language at the same time. Furthermore, the study of visual programming tools as a means to increase student achievement in mathematics could possibly generate interests within the computer-supported collaborative learning community. According to Jerome Bruner in Children Learn By Doing, “true learning is figuring out how to use what you already know in order to go beyond what you already think” . This research will focus on computer supported collaborative work, virtual environments, learning environments, virtual education, and visual programming