A significant component of mathematics focuses not only on operational proficiency but also on spatial visualization of functions. Concordia's Calculus3 students have been learning about vector-valued functions and surfaces in the 3D space. In the class, students are required to visualize complex vector surfaces, using, for the most part, 3D graphics software and calculators which lack interactive features.
New technologies such as virtual reality (VR) can transform math education because it opens possibilities in various interactive ways. For instance, it provides a powerful way to improve students' spatial abilities, enhance students' enthusiasm for learning, and facilitate understanding of abstract concepts and definitions (such as vector-valued functions and 3D surfaces).
At Concordia, Calculus3 students used the school's own VR lab to generate parametric surfaces and explore the 3D surfaces learned in class to heighten their understanding. They, literally, took a closer look at graphs and immersed themselves inside their creations. As a result, students were enthusiastic about the possibilities and solidified their understanding of complex and abstract concepts. Concordia's VR lab has the potential to open up a new world of options for our students.