Virtual reality (VR) has reached the point where its accessibility and immersion is sufficient to give realistic experiences. One of the most exciting possibilities is the ability to visualise invisible or impossible worlds. For example, electromagnetism is a frequently challenging concept to teach, in particular because students need to build a mental model of what a ‘field’ is. VR gives us the ability to give people a realistic representation of fields, of higher complexity than that possible on a 2D screen. Furthermore, it can allow dynamic manipulation, simulation, and testing – effectively offering students a sandbox in which to experiment. Another application is the use of VR to allow students to experience worlds that manifest their misconceptions. Led by well studied and measured misconceptions using the FCI, students are asked to predict what forces exist in a given situation. They are then given a world in which those forces are present, and if incorrect, experience a situation that behaves counter intuitively thereby triggering cognitive dissonance. They can then be guided to reassess their views and correct their misconception. We have been developing both of these apps over the last two years. We will share positive preliminary results with small groups of students.

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