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Editors' Preface and Acknowledgments

Published onNov 01, 2021
Editors' Preface and Acknowledgments


The last decade has seen a dramatic increase in the number of immersive technologies to visualize the world around us. 3D modeling and scanning digitization techniques have altered how we curate and showcase knowledge and materials via galleries, libraries, archives, and museums. Digital editors and game engines have transformed workflow practices in the creative economies of the game, film, and app industries, but also the automotive, architecture, construction, and manufacturing industries to design the built environments in our communities and everyday life. Mobile phones and cameras have shifted how we perceive the world around us and how we can engage with place regardless of our regional perspective. These immersive technologies have literally changed how we view and interpret the world around us.

The DLFteach Toolkit 2.0 on immersive pedagogy engages with these immersive technologies for use in learning environments. Several of the lesson plans engage with theoretical frameworks in decolonization, intersectionality, and disability studies to address heteronormative definitions of immersive technology and learning. The Toolkit has been designed over the last year to focus on lesson plans to facilitate disciplinary and interdisciplinary work engaged with immersive technology more broadly. For our purposes, immersive technology includes, but is not limited to Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) technologies, 3D modeling and scanning software, 3D game engines and WebGL platforms, as well as 3D printers and extruders. 

Lesson plans in the Toolkit engage with decolonial and feminist methodologies, accessible design for universal learning, humanistic teaching, and illustrate the possibilities of using immersive to extend critical thinking. While immersive technologies demonstrate real possibilities for collaborative, multidisciplinary learning, they are also fraught with broader concerns prevalent today about digital technologies. This Toolkit introduces potential instructors to the concepts of immersive and digital library pedagogy that interrogate and develop practices and standards for these technologies. Special attention is given to principles of open access and sustainability, as well as the challenges in creating open access pedagogical resources for proprietary and contingent technologies.

Toolkit Overview

The Toolkit’s sessions are broken down into three broad sections: Introductory Materials, Creating 3D Worlds and Learning in Virtual Worlds. The introductory materials include guides, plans, and a glossary for educators to consider when using the Toolkit’s lesson plans with immersive technology. Jasmine L. Clark’s “Recommendations for Accessible Pedagogy with Immersive Technology” provides educators with a selection of accessibility resources and a list of considerations when providing equitable access for disbled learners. In addition, Clark’s “Immersive Technology Auditing Checklist” supplements educator’s lesson plans with a checklist to identify and document challenges to make immersive technology accessible, such as an Equally Effective Alternative Action Plan (EEAAP). The EEAPP is a document that is used when there is an accessibility barrier in a technology. Clark details the EEAPP in “Creating an Equally Effective Alternative Action Plan for Immersive Technologies”, which will assist educators in addressing unexpected obstacles that may arise. As immersive technologies are quite complex in their description and application to pedagogical environments, Courtney Dalton has developed a “Glossary” of terms for educators to refer to when using the lesson plans in the Toolkit.

In Creating 3D Worlds our authors provide lesson plans for how to create immersive content using a variety of tools and technologies and apply critical frameworks to critique many of the platforms we take for granted in producing knowledge. Lorena Gauthereau and Chris J. Young’s session “The Decolonial Walkthrough” applies decolonial theory to the walkthrough method in examining the colonial structures of knowledge and hierarchies of power within cross-reality and 3D applications. Gauthereau and Young provide an example decolonial walkthrough of the Unity Asset Store to get participants to critically-engage with how immersive content is produced, replicated, and sold in many of the platforms we use everyday. Chad Hutchens and Charles Koenig in their session on “Getting Started with 3D Digitization” provide detailed instructions for beginners looking to carry out 3D digitization of physical objects. Hutchens and Koenig cover two popular methods of 3D digitization, structured light scanning and photogrammetry, which is an excellent introduction for those looking to learn the 3D digitization workflow. Young’s session on “Critical Game Making a RPG in Unity” outlines the process of creating a gameplay experience where creators and players are able to explore and reflect on contemporary issues in a range of communities, knowledge domains, and life experiences using the game editor Unity. Young’s session can be used by instructors looking to incorporate a creative-based lesson plan or assignment while critically-engaging with the topics and contemporary issues of the course.

In Learning in Virtual Worlds our authors develop lesson plans for how to use 3D/VR/AR technologies and engage with critical interdisciplinary frameworks that challenge preconceived notions of access and sustainability. Amanda Licastro et al’s session “Exploring Virtual Reality Through the Lens of Disability” sensitizes participants to the sensory and embodied representations of virtual reality. Licastro et al’s session gets participants to define the basic terms of disability studies and apply them to describing and analyzing virtual reality experiences. Ajima Olaghere’s session on “Teaching Environmental Influences on Quality of Life with 360 Video” introduces how 360 video can enhance the education of undergraduate students in fieldwork research in urban places while using a critical lens. Olaghere’s session is useful for instructors looking to evaluate the use of 3D technologies in macro socio-structural processes and decisions that impinge on opportunities and the distribution of quality of life issues in urban environments. Laura E. Smith’s two sessions on “Relational Landscapes” and “Land and Belonging” employ 360-degree video technologies to understand historical and contemporary landscapes and architectures as part of a wider immersive experience. Smith’s sessions can be used as lessons and assignments for students to visualize regions and places as part of a wider examination of historical places or geographical areas to enhance a classroom learning experience.

Taken together, these sessions showcase some of the immersive pedagogies that can be applied to learning environments. Some of the sessions take deep dives into using digital tools and technologies to create immersive content for assignments and knowledge mobilization projects. Other sessions get under-the-hood to critically-engage with how these immersive technologies shape the world around us. Whichever sessions you choose to use for your instruction, we hope your students acquire a deeper understanding of how immersive technologies can be used to engage with disciplinary topics and contemporary issues.

Using this collection

Our contributors have structured their lesson plans for instructors to use in a variety of learning contexts. Some of these lesson plans can be completed within an hour as part of a workshop or in-class session. Other lesson plans are scaffolded to take place over the course of a multi week semester. In each case, the lesson plans generally include the following sections to provide instructors with the pedagogy and structure they need to instruct their students or participants:

  • Session Specifics: the purpose and overview of the lesson plan.

  • Instructional Partners: the intended instructors and the required and optional knowledge to teach the lesson plan.

  • Audience: the intended audience and the required and optional knowledge to achieve the learning outcomes in the lesson plan.

  • Curricular Context: the intended learning environment and appropriate knowledge disciplines to achieve the learning outcomes in the lesson plan.

  • Learning Outcomes: the learning outcomes for instructors and/or students in the lesson plan, including disciplinary knowledge and technical skills.

  • Preparation: the resources, technical requirements, and knowledge necessary for instructors to make the lesson plan accessible for their audience.

  • Session Outline: the activities, resources, and instructions for how to successfully implement the lesson plan with the instructor’s intended audience

  • Assessment: the criteria for how to assess participants’ engagement with the lesson plans and their achievement of the learning outcomes.

  • Reflection: the author’s reflective comments on potential issues or challenges for authors to keep in mind when teaching the lesson plan.

  • Additional instructional materials: additional resources, references, and documents may be distributed throughout or provided at the end of the lesson plan.

We have allowed our contributors flexibility in the way they structure their sessions according to the above criteria, but all lessons include learning outcomes, preparation, a session outline, and additional instructional materials where appropriate. These additional materials — including slides, handouts, assessments, datasets, and 3D models — are all hosted in the DLF OSF repository and linked from each lesson. If you’re using them for your own planning, make sure to download slides to see notes for presenters, and for data that is too large to render in preview. There you will also find markdown versions of each lesson plan for you to use.


Under the terms of the Creative Commons license adapted for each contribution (CC BY or CC BY-NC 4.0) you are free to share, adapt, remix, and transform the material contained here. Please give proper attribution and credit for reuse. Please also share your iterations with the wider #DLFTeach community on Twitter using the #DLFTeach hashtag. You can find us on Twitter and in-person at the annual DLF Forum for workshops and community-building.

People behind the scenes

Contributors in all roles are also attributed to each lesson plan.


  • Alex Wermer-Colan

  • Emma Slayton

  • Mackenzie Brooks

  • Melanie Hubbard

  • Heidi Winkler

  • Lorena Gauthereau

  • Jessica Linker

  • Neil Weijer

  • Chris J. Young

Peer Reviewers

  • Mackenzie Brooks

  • Ryan Cassidy

  • Jasmine Clark

  • Tom Corbette

  • Lorena Gauthereau

  • Kristina Golubieqski

  • Melanie Hubbard

  • Chad Hutchens

  • Juliette Levy

  • Jessica Linker

  • Zach Lischer-Katz

  • Matt Naglak

  • Will Rourk

  • Emma Slayton

  • Victoria Szabo

  • Neil Weijer

  • Alex Wermer-Colan

  • Heidi Winkler

  • Chris J. Young


We acknowledge the support from the Digital Library Federation in allowing us to develop these instructional resources and lesson plans, and the Council of Library and Information Resources that provided the initial funding for a workshop series that led to the development of this Toolkit on immersive pedagogy. We also thank the many editors, reviewers, and colleagues who offered their expertise in helping to produce an excellent selection of lesson plans from instructors across North America. We are thrilled to have this content on a platform dedicated to open research and scholarship, and we hope readers will find it applicable to their own instruction and learning environments.


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