Instructor Resources

Physical – Classroom Management Guide

Classroom Management – Tips and Strategies

Using VR in the Classroom (Online and Offline)

You and your students are about to use a 3D simulation to learn about the history and lives of the Wendat people. Simulations are a powerful pedagogical tool. Simulation has been correlated with increased empathy and a deeper learning experience (citations). Special care needs to be taken to ensure that this is an inclusive and effective learning experience for all students.

That process starts with a contemplation of the medicine wheel. As the instructor, you are encouraged to complete the total student, as a physical, mental, emotional and spiritual being.

A medicine wheel image showing sections: body, mind, spirit, emotion


First, think about their physical state. Where are they sitting? Are they at home or in the classroom? Consider their physical wellbeing: are they hungry, thirsty, tired, or distracted? Did you know that 9 percent of young secondary learners worldwide don’t have a quiet place to study in their homes? Think about those constraints and plan your learning content accordingly. If they are working remotely, they might not be able to access online learning materials quickly or easily.[1]

Did you know that, based on a 2017 analysis, only 37% of rural Canadian families had Internet access to high speed ~50/10 Mbps compared to 97% of urban-dwelling families. Indigenous households have even more limited access to high-speed Internet, with only about 24% of households having Internet speeds of 50/10 Mbps. Even mobile networks have limited, spotty coverage across Canada, while 99% of Canadians have some access to mobile services, there are areas of Canada where the coverage is spotty.[2]

Your students might not have access to the gear and the technology tools that they might need or want to deepen their experience. Your students might not have access to VR gear. This is why we’ve created, low-barrier-to-entry experiences that your students can access. This was done with the understanding that the computing power required to generate a high-fidelity, 3D, immersive experience is not yet possible with most computers available on the market today[3]. NVIDIA, a North American technology company, has claimed that  99% of computers on the market can’t handle the processing demands of immersive virtual environmental technology (IVET) might be out of reach for most Canadian households[4]. According to a Pew Internet Research study published in 2017, nearly three in every ten U.S. adults making less than $30,000 a year in household income don’t have a smartphone, and nearly five in 10 don’t have home broadband internet services or a traditional personal computer[5]. The IVET experience is out of reach for most people.

Given the limited access to the technology, many who do use simulation in full virtual reality form report getting disoriented or even motion sick when exposed to 3D simulation content. The 2017 study accounted for this common complaint by limiting exposure to 12 minutes, and requiring participants to complete a Simulator Sickness Questionnaire to determine the participants physical sensations during and after the VR experience exposure[6]. This is why with simulations and walkthroughs are limited to 12 minutes per participants to reduce disorientation and motion sickness. A best practice approach for in-classroom virtual reality consumption should occur in a swivel chair with armrests to give freedom of motion and the ability to turn. The impulse to physically turn to experience the world of a 360-degree VR environment is strong. The physical risks of dizziness, disorientation are real and should be planned for.


Consider your student’s emotional state. Are they anxious, sad, grieving, excited? Studies have demonstrated that there’s a correlation between the emotional state of learners and their capacity to take in new information. Emotions can have a positive or negative impact on cognition, decision making and learning[7].  Unchecked negative emotional states like anger, frustration and boredom have been tied to poor behaviour, low motivation and impairment to the establishment of long-term memory channels[8] People under significant stress are unable to take in new information in order to learn new things, and can not rationally determine the right learning strategy which negatively impacts their ability to succeed academically, professionally and socially[9].

This is a helpful mindfulness exercise to help centre your learners and open them to taking in new information. This Creative Commons resource, a three-minute breathing exercise, was created by Peter Morgan of Free Mindfulness[10].


How can you stimulate your students mentally? Stopping to ask questions and gauge your students understanding helps to enhance learning. You need to draw out student voices in order to engage your class. Frequent questions ensure rather than being the ‘sage on the stage’, you help your students as the ‘guide on the side.’ As such, the sample lecture that we have included in the materials ask frequent questions throughout. Remember to leave plenty of time for your students to answer. In the Student section of this resource, there are interactive learning games, quizzes and experiences to stimulate your student’s intellect during this lesson.


As noted earlier, his fourth aspect is completely ignored in traditional Western/North American pedagogy. The spiritual dimension might enter the classroom (online or offline) if you help your students understand how we are connected to the land, outside of considerations of our own self interest, and seeking of wealth[11]. The spiritual can also be accomplished by creating a physical or classroom environment is by paying careful attention to relationships within the learning environment and without, nurturing relationships in the community. The spiritual is also brought into the learning environment by helping students think about their place in the world, asking that they explore their current and past contexts (such as their family’s history). Some of our assignments allow students to do this kind of self-reflection, artistic projects and other creative activities[12].

  1. Reimers, F.M., Schleicher, A., (2020). A Framework To Guide an Education Respone to the COVID-19 Pandemic, OECD, Retrieved from, Retrieved on June 8, 2020
  2. CRTC Communications Monitoring Report 2018
  3. Neiger, C. (2016) Virtual reality is too expensive for most people — but that's about to change, The Motley Fool, Sep. 8, 2016, 7:44 PM
  4. Robertson, A., N.D., The Ultimate VR Headset Buyers’ Guide, The Verge, Retrieved from
  5. Anderson, M. (2017), Digital divide persists even as lower-income Americans make gains in tech adoption, Pew Research, Retrieved from
  6. Schutte, N. S., & Stilinović, E. J. (2017). Facilitating empathy through virtual reality. Motivation and Emotion, 41(6), 708–712.
  7. Isen, A. M. (2001). An influence of positive affect on decision making in complex situations: Theoretical issues with practical implications. Journal of Consumer Psychology, 11(2), 75-85. doi:10.1207/153276601750408311
  8. Pekrun, Goetz, Titz, & Perry (2002). Academic Emotions in Students’ Self-Regulated Learning and Achievement: A Program of Qualitative and Quantitative Research. Educational Psychologist, 37, 2002 (2) Retrieved from
  9. Chakraborty, A., & Konar, A. (2009). Emotional intelligence: A cybernetic approach Springer-Verlag.
  10. Morgan, P. (2020). Three Minute Breathing Exercise,, Retrieved from, Retrieved on July 27, 2020.
  11. LaFever, M. (2016). Switching from Bloom to the Medicine Wheel: creating learning outcomes that support Indigenous ways of knowing in post-secondary education, Intercultural Education, 27:5, 409-424, DOI: 10.1080/14675986.2016.1240496
  12. LaFever, M. (2016). Switching from Bloom to the Medicine Wheel: creating learning outcomes that support Indigenous ways of knowing in post-secondary education, Intercultural Education, 27:5, 409-424, DOI: 10.1080/14675986.2016.1240496


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Into the Longhouse, Around the Medicine Wheel by Michael Carter; Ewan Cassidy; Michael Mihalicz; and Tanya Pobuda is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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