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Background: The use of virtual reality (VR) in physics teaching in recent years has become a topic of great interest. Reasons being the ability to re-create expensive experiments countless time with no additional costs and little to no danger to the participants. When the COVID-19 pandemic shutdown classrooms globally starting in early 2020, other methods were needed to move education online due to the pandemic’s distancing requirements. When the reasons are combined, the need for online virtual physics classrooms has become even greater.
Objectives: The study’s objective was to investigate and compare seven main aspects with 41 items concerning classroom and online physics teaching using virtual reality (VR).
Methods:Using a quasi-experimental sample of 44 Thai high-school physics teachers from 22 schools in Thailand’s north-eastern rural Surin Province, teachers’ opinions on their VR use concerning 1) attitudes, 2) acceptance, 3) expectations, 4) management problems before COVID-19, 5) management problems during COVID-19, 6) teaching and learning problems, and 7) solutions to problems were analyzed.
Results:Results from teachers’ attitudes revealed that VR made lab experiments and visualizations clearer (Aspect 1). Acceptance opinions found that VR allows better online learning organization and reduces problems for schools that lack experimental equipment (Aspect 2). Expectations revealed that using VR helped students better understand due to experimentation repetition (Aspect 3). Opinions concerning management problemsprior to COVID 19 revealed significant agreement that schools lacked sufficient lab equipment and funding (Aspect 4). Results for the 13 items for the management problems during the COVID 19 pandemic were highly mixed, with funding and budget issues less important than before the pandemic (Aspect 5). Under teaching and learning problems, the teachers again voiced their concerns that supporting ICT and the Internet was problematic (Aspect 6). Finally, in the teachers’ solutions to problems, strong belief was expressed for student use of VR to study part-time and online (Aspect 7).
Conclusions: Implications suggest that funding problems have become lessened due to the movement to online teaching using a VR format and student-purchased smartphones.