Spring 2018



Degree Name


Primary Advisor/Dissertation Chair

Vivian Johnson

Secondary Advisor/Reader One

Laura Houser

Peer-Reviewer/Reader Two

Will Stackhouse


The capstone thesis uses a qualitative research approach to explore the question: What are virtual tools and multi-sensory strategies that can be integrated into curriculum development to support the engagement of learners in science in grades 3-5 in virtual learning environments? The author chose this topic to find and to apply multi-sensory strategies, including technology-rich approaches, in virtual education, and developed a new curriculum unit using current sensory-rich technologies. The goal is to enhance and enrich curriculum, and thereby to increase student engagement in the sciences. Applying these tools in virtual education and using multi-sensory approaches can lead to new possibilities. The possibilities of using virtual and augmented reality tools is examined in relationship to the content area. Topics explored in the review of the literature include Gardner, Dewey, Montessori, Piaget, and virtual education using virtual reality, augmented reality, and programs and applications for virtual and face-to-face classrooms. The limitations and dangers of these tools, as well as their benefits, are discussed. Understanding by Design (UbD) and a constructivist teaching approach, and an integrated approach using these technologies, are used to develop a unit of science curriculum in Ocean Science, refreshed from a successful traditional unit. The author finds the multiple intelligences and the sensory approaches from Gardner and the multi-sensory, constructivist approaches most pivotal. Montessori seems to be the most knowledgeable about the importance of multi-sensory education itself. Integrating technological applications, including virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR) applications, and examining ongoing research, proves productive. The field of technology in education is an ever-changing and ever-expanding field. The author suggests it may be effective within a school system, district and classroom to develop a technology and curriculum review team to face the many decisions, challenges, and changes technology in the classroom brings. The author concludes that to broaden multi-sensory approaches, used in any form, in any educational environment, will benefit every student. For the developed curriculum, the limitations, implications, and recommendations for future research are discussed.

Research Methodology

Curriculum Development


Curriculum, Multiple Intelligences, Science, Technology

Included in

Education Commons