Mixing Educational Robotics, Tangibles and Mixed Reality Environments for the Interdisciplinary Learning of Geography and History

Stefanos Xefteris, George Palaigeorgiou

Abstract


In the present study we present a mixed reality learning environment that aims to become a creative, joyful and efficient interdisciplinary canvas for learning about history and geography and for concurrently fostering computational thinking. The environment makes use of embodied affordances and educational robotics and consists of two parts: an augmented 3D-tangible model of southern Europe with finger-based interaction and a second floor-based augmented robotics track de-picting European landmarks, where students are asked to perform tasks with Mindstorms EV3 robots. The game scenario describes a treasure hunt around Eu-rope and students swap between finger-based and robotics-based interactive sur-faces in two pairs. For the evaluation of our intervention, six groups of four stu-dents played with the environment for approximately 45 minutes each. Data col-lection was performed through pre- and post-knowledge test, attitude question-naire and a semi-formal group interview. Students’ answers showed that the mixed reality environment improved their engagement and motivation and en-hanced their orientation around Europe’s geophysical features. The robotics as-pect consolidated further their computational thinking skills while being highly exciting. The proposed approach was closer to the student’s expectations and in-teractive experiences, successfully exploited embodied learning opportunities and gamified the learning process.

Keywords


Mixed reality, tangible interfaces, educational robotics, geography learning, history learning

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International Journal of Engineering Pedagogy (iJEP) – eISSN: 2192-4880
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