WeDRAW aims to mediate learning of primary school mathematical concepts, such as geometry and arithmetic, through the design, development and evaluation of multisensory serious games, using a combination of sensory interactive technologies. Working closely with schools, using participatory design techniques, the WeDRAW system will be embedded into the school curricula, and configurable by teachers. Besides application to typically developing children, a major goal is to examine this multisensory approach with visually impaired and dyslexic children.
Multisensory learning is considered a relevant pedagogical framework for education since a very long time and several authors support the use of a multisensory and kinesthetic approach in children learning. Moreover, results from psychophysics and developmental psychology show that children have a preferential sensory channel to learn specific concepts (spatial and/or temporal), hence a further evidence for the need of a multisensory approach. In this work, we present an example of serious game for learning a particularly complicated mathematical concept: fractions. The main novelty of our proposal comes from the role covered by the communication between sensory modalities in particular, movement, vision, and sound. The game has been developed in the context of the EU-ICT-H2020 weDRAW Project aiming at developing new multimodal technologies for multisensory serious-games on mathematical concepts for primary school children.
The orientation of the body in space can influence perception of verticality leading sometimes to biases consistent with priors peaked at the most common head and body orientation, that is upright. In this study, we investigate haptic perception of verticality in sighted individuals and early and late blind adults when tilted counterclockwise in the roll plane. Participants were asked to perform a stimulus orientation discrimination task with their body tilted to their left ear side 90° relative to gravity. Stimuli were presented by using a motorized haptic bar. In order to test whether different reference frames relative to the head influenced perception of verticality, we varied the position of the stimulus on the body longitudinal axis. Depending on the stimulus position sighted participants tended to have biases away or toward their body tilt. Visually impaired individuals instead show a different pattern of verticality estimations.
Recent results from psychophysics and developmental psychology show that children have a preferential sensory channel to learn specific concepts. In this work, we explore the possibility of developing and evaluating novel multisensory technologies for deeper learning of arithmetic and geometry. The main novelty of such new technologies comes from the renewed understanding of the role of communication between sensory modalities during development that is that specific sensory systems have specific roles for learning specific concepts.
In primary school, children tend to have difficulties in discriminating angles of different degrees and categorizing them either as acute or obtuse, especially at the first stages of development (6-7 y.o.). In the context of a novel approach that intends to use other sensory modalities than visual to teach geometrical concepts, we ran a psychophysical study investigating angle perception by spatially navigating in space. Our results show that the youngest group of children tend to be more imprecise when asked to discriminate the walking angle of 90°, pivotal to learn how to differentiate between acute and obtuse angles. These results are then discussed in terms of the development of novel technological solutions aimed to integrate locomotion in the teaching of geometrical concepts.
In this short review, we aim at providing an update about recent research on force-feedback devices in educational settings, with a particular focus on primary school teaching. This review describes haptic devices and education virtual environments before entering into the details of domain-specific applications of this technology in schools. Currently, the number of studies that investigated the potential of haptic devices in educational settings is limited, in particular for primary schools.
An increasing body of work provides evidence of the importance of bodily experience for cognition and the learning of mathematics. Sensor-based technologies have potential for guiding sensori-motor engagement with challenging mathematical ideas in new ways. Yet, designing environments that promote an appropriate sensori-motoric interaction that effectively supports salient foundations of mathematical concepts is challenging and requires understanding of opportunities and challenges that bodily interaction offers. This study aimed to better understand how young children can, and do, use their bodies to explore geometrical concepts of angle and shape, and what contribution the different sensori-motor experiences make to the comprehension of mathematical ideas.
Haptic devices have the potential to enhance the learning experience by foregrounding embodied, sensory and multi-modal elements of learning topics. In this paper, we report on-going work investigating a game prototype with haptic feedback for seven year old children’s engagement with geometrical concepts as part of an iterative design study. Our findings include a new game play mode adopted by the children, that empowers the use of haptic feedback in game play and has the potential to enable the enactment of shape properties in the game play process.
Touching objects in a virtual environment is a challenge that has yet to be addressed convincingly, in part because haptic technology and, in particular, low-cost haptic technology have strong limitations. This work aimed at assessing the impact of Chai3D texture rendering parameters on texture perception. We used Multidimensional Scaling techniques to build psychological scales for the texture level, stiffness, dynamic friction and several texture patterns. Two perceptual dimensions were in general necessary to fully account for the one-dimensional parameter change. The scales for the texture level, dynamic friction and texture pattern parameters were markedly larger than the stiffness scale, indicating the potential of these parameters to generate well differentiated textures.