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Montgomery 1960: Using Immersive Technology to Teach Perspective Taking and Empathy

Ridhwan Shakil, Jordan Adams, and Dr. Karen D. Boyd, Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies, University of Tennessee at Knoxville, 1122 Volunteer Boulevard, Knoxville TN 37996

The central question of this project explores how to best structure questions in an online immersive experience which leverages primary sources to immerse students in the lived experiences of 1960’s student activists in order to establish perspective taking skills. The purpose of the project is to create a series of questions which effectively develop positive perspective-taking skills, promote empathy, and foster ethical action.


The Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) has identified perspective taking as an essential learning outcome of the 21st century. AAC&U’s definition of personal and social responsibility includes multiple dimensions, one of which is the following: “Taking seriously the perspectives of others—recognizing and acting on the obligation to inform one‘s own judgment; engaging diverse and competing perspectives as a resource for learning, for citizenship, and for work.” Educators and moral development researchers have tended to believe that mutuality, caring, empathy, and a sense of belonging or support are key qualities that produce personal and social responsibility. Caring relationships, characterized as including mutuality and empathy, have been believed to contribute to students’ moral development and action. Our research methodology is based on Rest and Nevarez’s model for ethical action. This model helps determine and isolate information from primary sources that participants should takeaway after their immersion in lived historical experiences.


The next steps for our team will be to research whether perspective taking skills were developed and whether empathy was promoted. Then the degree to which perspective taking and empathy were developed and promoted as a result of the immersion will need to be quantified. The team’s vision is to create a historical immersive experience platform that develops intercultural maturity through the cultivation of perspective taking and empathy.




Additional Abstract Information

Presenters: Jordan Adams, Ridhwan Shakil

Institution: University of Tennessee at Knoxville

Type: Poster

Subject: Interdisciplinary Studies

Status: Approved


Time and Location

Session: Poster 8
Date/Time: Tue 5:00pm-6:00pm
Session Number: 5526