The weDRAW project comes from the renewed neuroscientific understanding of the role of communication between sensory modalities during development: specific sensory systems have specific roles to learn specific concepts.
Starting from these results, in weDRAW we will develop an multisensory technology and three serious games that will exploit the best modality for learning arithmetic and geometrical concepts.
The adoption of an embodied and enactive learning paradigm allows to apply the same learning paradigm to both typically developed and impaired children, thus reducing differences and barriers. Enactive knowledge is not simply multisensory mediated knowledge, but knowledge stored in the form of motor responses and acquired by the act of doing. A typical example of enactive knowledge is the competence required by tasks such as typing, driving a car, dancing, playing a musical instrument, and modelling objects from clay, which would be difficult to describe in an iconic or symbolic form. An embodied and enactive approach is more direct, in the sense that it is natural and intuitive, since it is based on the experience and on the perceptual responses to motor acts.
weDRAW start from the idea that that child has a preferential sensory channel to learn specific properties and that the visual signal is not always the more powerful and effective channel. Scientific studies show that specific sensory systems (such as vision or audition) have specific roles for specific perceptual properties. While vision is crucial for spatial perception, the audition is fundamental for temporal perception. Both space and time are strictly related to geometrical and arithmetic concepts.
Today, at school, the visual channel is often the one most frequently exploited sensory modality for teaching while the other channels have a marginal role only.
The weDRAW project proposes to create and evaluate a novel technology for deeper learning of arithmetic and geometry grounded on these novel scientific discoveries and based on the use of multiple sensory modalities. In particular, weDRAW propose to open a new teaching/learning channel, personalized for each student, based on multisensory interactive technology (i.e., audio, tactile motor and visual), including a hardware and software platform to support this approach and three serious games to evaluate it.
The scientific objectives include the study of motor skills of children between 6 and 10 years of age, the definition of the sensory modality to be used to better mediate the learning of geometrical and arithmetic skills and the identification of modalities for children with visual impairment and dyslexia.
The pedagogical objectives include the definition of a framework for teaching and learning arithmetical and geometrical concepts with primary school children, the application and evaluation of this framework to both typically developing and dyslexic and visual impaired children, in order to overcome barriers and promote social inclusion of impaired children.
Finally, the technological objectives are the development of a library of software modules for analysis of nonverbal motoric expressive and social behavior and for the analysis of multimodal (tactile, motor) analysis of nonverbal behavior to capture the child’s learning-related affective states.
The final technological outcome of weDRAW will be the development of an integration hardware and software platform, integrating the above-mentioned libraries and supporting design and development of serious games and the development of three serious games. The first serious game concerns learning arithmetic the second one addresses learning geometry through drawing, and the third one is a proof-of-concept of shared and social learning, for groups including typically developed and impaired children. As a general outcome of the project, weDRAW proposes to highlight, with this new approach, possible developmental problems (i.e. dyslexia) in elementary school children.
Launched in January 2017, weDRAW is a project funded under Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Programme, Topic Technologies for Learning and Skills (ICT-22-2016), whose main aim was to address Technologies for deeper learning of Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics, combined with Arts (STEAM), by improving the innovation and creative capacities of learners and supporting the new role of teacher as a coach of the learner.