Cellscape aims to fundamentally change how students learn Biology. The project is a collaboration between Tyler DeWitt and XVIVO Scientific Animation, and it was funded by the Google Science and Making Team.
Traditionally, students spend months (and sometimes years) learning about cells, and the components and dynamics inside: they read textbooks, listen to lectures, and study diagrams. But using standard media to describe the complex, dynamic nature of a cell is a lot like trying to describe the complex, multifaceted urban environment of New York City, using only hand-drawn maps.
If students could take a "field trip" inside the cell, they could simply look around and see these components and processes in action. They could learn about cellular Biology authentically: the same way we learn how to navigate a new city, or we figure out a new transit system.
With Cellscape, you put on a VR headset, and you're suddenly inside a beautiful amazing alien landscape that is literally right inside you. Finally, students can really picture cells, know the components inside, and understand how they all function together. And most importantly, they can start to ask the right questions.
Funded by a very generous grant from the Google Making and Science Team, Cellscape is the first of its kind. It's a powerful demonstration of the transformative power of virtual reality in science education.
The potentials for virtual reality are immense. Whether we're teaching Chemistry, Biology, Physics, or Earth Science, we're often asking students to picture environments or interactions that are either way too small or way too large to experience first-hand. Virtual reality can be a game-changer in allowing students to develop a solid, intuitive sense of many of the most confounding aspects of science.
We look forward to the continuing evolution of Cellscape, and we're thrilled to be developing resources on the cutting edge of science education.
President and Creative Director,
XVIVO Scientific Animation
YouTube Educator, Creator, and Education Consultant
XVIVO is the premier creator of medical animation and scientific media.