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Virtual Reality (vr) is widely purported as an effective strategy for learning practical skills across disciplines such as medicine and sport, but it has yet to be fully exploited in relation to education. Learning how to engage pedagogically with students calls for sophisticated and nuanced relational skills, but opportunities to practice these with ‘real’ learners are often hard to access. This is especially so for students who are learning how to enact relational pedagogies with infants in early childhood education settings (ece) through sensing encounters. To address this lacuna, the authors co-designed and trialled a prototype for a vr game scenario that simulated ‘real-life’ presence with a virtual infant to explore its potential for learning relational pedagogies based on observable features of presence. The authors videoed the vr screen as cohorts of ece students and teachers interact with the prototype simulation and/or observed their peers. The authors found that learners quickly became sensorially engaged once they had mastered the technology. Their application and attitudes towards important features of relational pedagogies were keenly evident through these engagements – on and off the screen – with opportunities for future development identified.

Open Access
In: Video Journal of Education and Pedagogy