Augmentation of Museum Science Education using Human-Interaction Technology
Museums are often important institutions of scientific learning for children. The main teaching method in museums is the display of specimens for study and their explanations. Therefore, few chances exist for learners to independently observe or experience the environment about which they are learning. Moreover, it is difficult for visitors to learn using only displays and their commentaries. Overcoming this problem would qualitatively improve the learning of science in museums. We therefore developed an immersive learning support system that enables learners to explore a virtual paleontological environment in a museum. This system is intended to provide a sense of immersion in the paleontological environment by employing multiple screens showing paleontological environments. In an initial step toward realizing an immersive learning support system for museums, Yoshida et al. developed and evaluated a prototype system. However, their system is limited because it does not enable learning about paleontological environments. Our proposed immersive learning support system, on the other hand, enables learning about paleontological environments, including extinct animals and plants, as well as ecological environments. We evaluated the operability of this system, degree of learning support that it provides, and the sense of immersion that it enables for primary school children. Through evaluation interviews, we obtained various participant positive responses. In this paper, we present the proposed immersive learning support system. We describe the contents of the current system and the results of our evaluation.
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