Kamiak Butte VR is a project that I started as an undergraduate student in collaboration with a professor in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the shift to distance learning. Kamiak Butte VR is an interactive experience that enables students virtually explore and learn about Kamiak Butte County Park in 360° view.
The goal of the project was to provide undergraduate students in a natural resource ecology course at Washington State University with a virtual field trip to replace and supplement the in-person field trip to support students abilities to learn about the Natural Resources found at Kamiak Butte. In the experience, users can interact with various forms of media including seasonal change 360° videos, aerial 360° imagery, wildlife imagery, plant imagery, field instruction.
In the past two years as a graduate student, I have worked alongside a multidisciplinary team of professors, undergraduate students, and graduate students to develop various aspects of the project. My project team was fortunate to win two technology grants for the project and raised $44,550 to continue to develop and improve Kamiak Butte VR.
Throughout this time, I engaged in an iterative design process to continue to improve the software application. The software was implemented in the Natural Resource Ecology course curriculum for six semesters of instruction across a three year period. Over 500 students have used the software as apart of their classroom activities and the software is still in use today by the course alongside the physical field trip to Kamiak Butte.
My master’s thesis was focused on the application of Kamiak Butte VR alongside the physical field trip in the Natural Resource Ecology course. The results from the research study showed students valued the hybrid field trip and believed the activities supported their ability to learn about the ecology at Kamiak Butte. Stay tuned for the official publication of my thesis later in 2023.
A notable aspect of this project was the Digital Technology and Culture at Washington State University awarded me with the Distinguished Scholar in 2020 for my work on the Kamiak Butte VR project.