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Clements' Innovative Idea: 3D Virtual Reality Lab for Teachers

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Ann Clements

Ann Clements, associate professor of music education, was named the winner of Penn State’s first Open Innovation Challenge for her idea to create a 3D virtual reality lab that would help teachers to refine and improve their teaching and interaction skills. The Open Innovation Challenge, part of the Teaching and Learning with Technology Symposium, is a high-profile speaking opportunity to present new and innovative ideas about anything that enhances teaching and learning in higher education.

Clements was one of six finalists chosen from a pool of nearly 40 innovative ideas submitted to the Challenge. The six finalists gave five-minute presentations to showcase their ideas as part of the 2015 TLT Symposium, held at the Penn Stater Hotel and Conference Center on March 21. Attendees at the Symposium then voted Clements’ idea the winner.

Clements’ idea focused on building a 3D Virtual Reality Teaching Lab using Oculus Rift, or similar device, a Leap Motion controller, and an omnidirectional treadmill. This virtual reality lab would assist emerging and experienced teachers in refining and improving their teaching and interaction skills by providing them with extremely detailed feedback and the ability to virtually experience the same or similar experiences multiple times in a row. It would also provide teachers an opportunity to experience issues of disability and accessibility in ways that are simply not possible outside of virtual reality. As the winner of the Challenge, she will receive the opportunity to work with a team of educational technology experts to explore and develop the idea further.

For more information on the Open Innovation Challenge, please go to