Promoting Historical Thinking in Schools through Low Fidelity, Low-Cost, Easily Reproduceable, Tangible and Embodied Interactions
Keywords:historical thinking, learning about history, mixed reality environments, embodied interactions, whole-body interactions
Many ubiquitous technologies, such as augmented and virtual reality, virtual field trips, tangible environments and interactive installations are continuously being examined for learning about history. All these approaches strive to offer an inter-active, explorative, authentic, and exact regeneration of the past and, they are demanding both in regards to their cost and to their development requirements; hence, they are far from accessible in school contexts. In this study, we will ex-amine, whether interactive low-fidelity low-cost approximations of the real objects, and conditions of the past, together with whole-body interactions may enable historical understanding in a playful manner. To evaluate this claim, sixty-six (66) students of 6th grade played with an interactive environment with the characteristics mentioned, in twenty (20) groups. Afterwards, students were asked to complete a questionnaire assessing their historical understanding and their experience. Additionally, all groups participated in brief group interviews. Students were very positive towards the environment and considered it as enjoyable, intriguing and effective. They claimed that it is preferable to both traditional ways of classroom learning and learning devices like tablets and mobiles. According to our results, the requirements for seamless authenticity may not apply for primary school students and this conclusion opens up a lot of opportunities for moving away from traditional means of learning about history.
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