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This Episode will air at 5:30 pm EDT on Saturday April 17th

Episode Description

In this episode, Jeremy Bailenson,  Kristy Kroeker, and Anna Queiroz, will discuss the use of immersive virtual reality to teach about climate change and environmental conservation.  Each of approaches the work from a different background (marine science, education, and communication), and we highlight our shared collaborations as well as the related research programs we are working on independently.

The shared work which binds us is the Stanford Ocean Acidification Experience.  It is an eight minute, room-scale VR journey, where learners become scientists, and actively explore a virtual underwater ecosystem to allow you to observe firsthand what rocky reefs are expected to look like by the end of the century if we do not curb our CO2 emissions.  The experience makes the impossible possible: leaners watch the ocean absorb invisible CO2 molecules, a rocky reef degrade and marine life disappear as the ocean acidifies.

The piece was built to model the marine science research by Kristy Kroeker and her colleagues.  Jeremy Bailenson led the effort to build the piece and to get it in the hands of educators.  Anna Queiroz has run studies examining informal learning outcomes, by placing the VR piece in dozens of museums, schools and other location-based VR destinations.

In addition to discussion our shared work, we will also talk about some new research.  Anna will discuss some exciting new findings where she studies the use of VR headsets in schools, and demonstrates longitudinal effects on affective and cognitive learning.  Kristy will discuss her research on ocean acidification, as well as her work in outreach and education regarding ocean climate change. Bailenson will talk about work around policy and VR, focusing on a case study in Palau as well as some work with leaders in Washington.


Episode Guests

Jeremy Bailenson

Jeremy Bailenson is founding director of Stanford University’s Virtual Human Interaction Lab, Thomas More Storke Professor in the Department of Communication, Professor (by courtesy) of Education, Professor (by courtesy) Program in Symbolic Systems, a Senior Fellow at the Woods Institute for the Environment, and a Faculty Leader at Stanford’s Center for Longevity. Bailenson studies the psychology of Virtual and Augmented Reality, in particular how virtual experiences lead to changes in perceptions of self and others. His lab builds and studies systems that allow people to meet in virtual space, and explores the changes in the nature of social interaction. His most recent research focuses on how virtual experiences can transform education, environmental conservation, empathy, and health. He is the recipient of the Dean’s Award for Distinguished Teaching at Stanford. In 2020, IEEE recognized his work with “The Virtual/Augmented Reality Technical Achievement Award”.

Kristy Kroeker

Kristy Kroeker is an Associate Professor in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of California Santa Cruz. Her research examines the ecological effects of climate change and ocean acidification on marine communities and ecosystems. In particular, her work focuses on the importance of incorporating interactions, between multiple stressors and species, in the study of the emergent effects of global change, with examples from seagrass, kelp forest and rocky reef ecosystems. In addition, her research addresses how actions at a local-scale can offset the effects of global change on marine ecosystems to protect both nature and people. Kroeker is a Packard Fellow in Science and Engineering and a Sloan Fellow in Ocean Sciences.

Anna Queiroz

Anna Queiroz is a post-doctoral researcher at the Virtual Human Interaction Lab and at the Lemann Center at the Graduate School of Education at Stanford. Her research focus on cognitive and affective implications of new media and technology in learning, attitude and behavior change. She holds a PhD and a M.S in Cognitive Psychology and degrees in Behavioral Medicine and Education. She has been actively working in education since 2005, teaching at universities and leading EdTech projects in several companies and non-profit organizations.