Virtual Reality (VR) to Support pK-12 Anti-Bias Education | MIT J-WEL

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Virtual Reality (VR) to Support pK-12 Anti-Bias Education

Resource Visibility: J-WEL pK-12, J-WEL Higher Education, J-WEL Workforce Learning, October 2019 J-WEL Week Participant Resources

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  • Fox Harrell
    Professor, Digital Media & Artificial Intelligence; Director, Center for Advanced Virtuality MIT
  • Doctoral Candidate, Electrical Engineering & Computer Science; Research Assistant, Imagination, Computation, and Expression (ICE) Laboratory
    Learn More


It has been shown that educational practices in schools significantly influence students’ awareness of race/ethnicity. School also influences development of students’ own racial and ethnic identities. As such, it is critical for teachers to be conscious of the practices they employ to support classroom environments to best promote the psychological well-being and academic success of adolescents from diverse backgrounds.

Supporting this aim, this workshop will review the efforts of a novel anti-bias intervention targeted to educators and focused on the topic of racial and ethnic socialization (RES). RES describes the process through which children learn about race and ethnicity. Teachers’ RES practices may range from avoiding discussions of race entirely in the classroom to displaying images of diverse historical figures in the classroom and reading texts by diverse authors.

The research shared here uses an interactive virtual reality (VR) narrative game called Passage Home VR as a tool for learning about RES and implicit bias in the classroom. Passage Home VR challenges players to take the perspective of an African American high school student who is falsely accused of plagiarism by her teacher. The approach represents a scalable and engaging model. Workshop participants will review key concepts about RES and implicit bias in schools, play through the Passage Home VR game, engage in a discussion about the experience, and learn about practical tools for creating healthy classroom environments for diverse student populations.

Topics: Early Childhood Diversity and Inclusion Student Motivation Teacher Education

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