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The Living Forest

The Living Forest is a prototype immersive learning environment developed by PublicVR for the "myDome" project (NSF award 0916098) under the leadership of Dr. Annette Schloss at the University of New Hampshire. While it runs on a desktop, it is intended for portable digital dome displays. In the game, the students move through a forest plot during three time periods in the life of the forest and using virtual tools to take measurements. Students record measurements and observations, such as tree species, canopy closure at three time periods, and tree biomass. These items are important for understanding forest dynamics, succession, and the role of forests in climate and the carbon cycle. In the dome, a teacher navigates and leads activities, ususally organizing the students into working groups.

Developing the living forest is part of our larger research agenda to study the interaction between students and virtual worlds in immersive displays. The goal is to understand the particular advantages of sensory immersion for education and its proper role in the larger curriculum.


Annette Schloss, Ph. D. Principal investigator, general manager, and content expert. Develops requirements for software and curriculum.

Kerry Handron All of the testing and most of the curriculm development.

Jeffrey Jacobson, Ph.D. Both technical and project manager for subcontract to build the forest itself. Helped Handron develop testing procedures and documentation. Analysis of evaluation data.

Kev Nawoichik A bit more than half of the artwork in the latest version of the forest, versions 2.x.x.

Dylan O'Ceallaigh Most of the programming in later versions, 2.x.x and later.

Resource Wiki Pages

Click here to see our wiki, containing resources like the software user manual, identification guid, sample curriculum, and connections to state educational standards. You can even join the wiki to add your own contributions or discussions.

Watch This Space! Shortly, the desktop version of the Living Forest will be available for free download.


Schloss, A., Jacobson, J., Handron, K. (2012) Active Learning in a Digital Dome with the Living Forest, Immersive Education Summit, Boston, USA, June, 2012. PDF

Osche, E., LeBlang, J. (2011) MyDome; Defining the Computation and Coginitive Potential of Real-Time Interactive Simulations in an Immersive Dome Environment, Draft Evaluation Report, June 2011 PDF


David Hopkins All artwork in previous versions.

David Heimann Programming in previous versions

Tony Butterfield created the warp camera for Unity, which allows the forest and other myDome projects to display in the dome.

Calvin Diessner Assisted with curriculum development and testing.

Judah LeBlang and Elizabeth Osche have conducted an independent evaluations and assessments of the educational effectiveness of the Forest.

Latest News:

Many K-12 dome shows this year funded by Nord Family Foundation, NASA, and NSF. Ancient Greek farmer puppet/avatar. A collaboration with VIZIN Helping with a workshop in digital puppetry.