3D learning in a rich cooperative haptic environment

3D learning in a rich cooperative haptic environmentHaptics is defined as the science of touch, but more recently it has been applied computer interfaces that can to 'display' shape and permit manipulation. Combining the haptic interface with high quality 3D computer graphics provides a method to manipulate 3D content in a way that is not possible in the flat 2D computer world we are familiar with in terms of touch screens, icons and applications.

Our research will focus on hands-on science education in which individuals or small groups of students manipulate the objects or materials they are studying. Because we can control the virtual world we can control the scale, which in science can range from the components of atoms to the dynamics of galaxies. Initially the work will focus on teaching of cell structures, biology and processes and will build on current use of 3D technology under the 3D Learning program at the Abingdon School in Oxford and the Abbey School Reading.

Allowing students to explore these worlds in a variety of ways is hypothesised to motivates students and to develop their understanding. The benefits of practical work in science education include enhancing the learning of scientific knowledge, challenging students' misconceptions of scientific ideas and processes, teaching laboratory skills, enabling insight into and expertise in scientific method and stimulating students' interest and increasing motivation to study science beyond school.

Sponsored by the Leverhulme Trust

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