Paré, D. (2022). Extending “othered” bodies into learning environments: Queer reorientations, virtual reality, and learning about marginalization. In C. Chinn, E. Tan, C. Chan, & Y. Kali (Eds.). Proceedings of the 16th International Conference of the Learning Sciences-ICLS2022, (pp. 543-550). Hiroshima, Japan: International Society of the Learning Sciences.
I presented this paper at the 2022 International Conference of the Learning Sciences this past June. The conference was going to be in Hiroshima, Japan but had to move online due to Covid travel and large meeting safety precautions. It was the right choice, but I was disappointed to not be travelling to Japan. I enjoyed presenting the paper to my colleagues and look forward to further developing this paper with additional cases.
In this paper, I illustrate how interacting with an immersive, virtual reality (VR) experience designed with queer phenomenological approaches can deepen understandings of gender and sexuality. I show how extending the queer phenomenological concept of reorientations (Ahmed, 2006) with complementary theories of ideological stance-taking (Philip et al., 2017) and emotional configurations (Vea, 2020) can highlight moments of emotional-ideological sense-making practices where learners become reoriented by reflexively negotiating between themselves and “othered” objects and people. I present an interactive, branching narrative told in immersive VR, in which the player uncovers the narrator’s memories of gender and sexuality-based marginalizations in STEM learning environments. I then present illustrative cases from an ongoing design study. Analysis of the VR interactions reveals how participants used the narrative and virtual objects to recognize normative orientations to STEM and reorient toward counter-hegemonic actions and marginalized people.