Our work: Digital Learning

Remote hands-on skills lab for high school STEM courses using virtual reality

Working collaboratively with five underserved Bay Area high schools, we aim to introduce hands-on skills labs in their STEM courses using remote affordable VR format.


Virtual reality simulations are the “hands-on STEM labs” of a learning future. We have seen notable progress towards the “learning on demand, from anywhere” in a COVID- 19 remote teaching world with online classrooms and affordable computers connecting students, teachers, and digital curricula. However, these remote classrooms fall short when trying to teach STEM subjects that rely on hands-on exploration and physical collaboration with peers.

In our recently concluded Clinical Anatomy Summer Program (CASP) we successfully piloted a VR-based 5-day curriculum covering the core areas of gross anatomy with multiple virtual hands-on labs each day – all done completely remotely with each remote student having a VR headset and working in virtual teams.

For several years, we have organized over 30 in-person lab visits annually for Bay Area high schools to learn human anatomy in our lab on campus. The upcoming academic year (2020-21) is going to be different due to COVID-19 restrictions and all in-person lab visits to our campus have been canceled.

Encouraged by the success of our CASP experience in June, we propose converting all our high school lab exercises to a VR format. We will select five representative schools from our network and offer to work with them to design a VR based curriculum.

Working closely with their high school course teacher, we will create VR based modules that will be fully integrated with their regular Biology / Human Anatomy course.

Faculty leads

Headshot of Sakti Srivastava

Sakti Srivastava

Professor (Teaching)

Research team

Miguel Angeles

School of Medicine

Beth Habelow

School of Medicine

Patricia Youngblood

School of Medicine

Matt Hasel

TriPoint Labs

Joel Sadler