Biology Learning using Augmented Reality and Gaming · PDF fileIn contrast, Augmented Reality...
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Biology Learning using Augmented Reality and
Dalia Marzouk, Gehad Attia, Nashwa Abdelbaki Center of Informatics Sience Nile University, Cairo, Egypt
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Abstract: Learning process in education systems is one of the most important issues that affect all societies. Nowadays it becomes one of the main challenges facing learner and teachers as well. This is because of more than one reason; the gap between the student's needs and the way of teaching, the number of students per class in some countries, ignoring different skills and capabilities of different users, etc. There is an increasing need to make this process go smooth, interesting and attractive. More important it has to be interactive, collaborative and multiplayer- based. Augmented Reality (AR) means mixing reality and computer aided models to enhance our understanding to some concepts. Applying this technology will enhance dramatically students' understanding. Gaming Techniques (GT) and Augmented Reality in education will convert learning process from boring activity to an attractive one and enjoyable to play and understand. Moreover, they will help the students to gain educational benefits instead of losing time in playing useless. In this paper we introduce our novel idea to apply the concepts of Augmented Reality and Gaming Techniques to make learning process more interesting and effective especially in biology learning. We apply these concepts to design and construct a biology lab to deliver biology lessons related to body anatomy and related concepts in an interactive, collaborative and pleasant attractive way. Keywords: Education; Learning; Augmented Reality (AR); Gaming Techniques (GT); Kinect
Nowadays, education is facing great challenges like the dependency on boring activities and limited number of communication methods like reading, writing and listening. This is in addition to neglecting the use of other teaching and attractive methods like using pictures, videos, sounds, etc. The number of students per class in some countries affects the efficiency of education systems. Accordingly there became an increasing need to find an innovative way that cares about and deals with all of these challenges. Here arise some important questions. What would happen if 3-dimensional object is not just viewable on screen? What if you can touch, rotate or scale it? How can we effectively enhance the learning experience, increase student's engagement and meaningful interaction with the world? What will happen if we use surface computing and tablets in learning process? Augmented Reality (AR) and Gaming Techniques could perfectly answer these questions. AR is the variation of Virtual Environments (VE), or Virtual Reality as it is more commonly called. VE technologies completely immerse a user inside a synthetic environment. While being immersed, the user DOI: 02.WCMCS.2013.1.13 Association of Computer Electronics and Electrical Engineers, 2013
Proc. of World Cong. on Multimedia and Computer Science
cannot see the real world around him. In contrast, Augmented Reality allows the user to see the real world, with virtual objects superimposed upon or composited with the real world. Therefore, Augmented Reality supplements reality, rather than completely replacing it . Figure 1 shows the meaning of Augmented Reality and how it differs from Virtual Reality.
Figure 1. Migram's Reality-Virtuality Continuum
Today, scientists, architects, medical students, engineers, and countless other professionals use Augmented Reality for training, education, research exploration, and the refinement and testing of designs. Augmented Reality has vast potential implications and numerous benefits for the augmentation of teaching and learning environment , :
Helping students to explore class materials from different angles;
Enhancing collaboration between students and instructors and among students,
Enhancing student creativity and imagination,
Helping students take control of their learning at their own pace and on their own path,
Learning with various styles of learning.
Chen, Y tried to investigate how students could interact with Augmented Reality and physical models to evaluate their perceptions regarding representations in learning about amino acids. In this experiment, using markers, students enjoy rotating objects to see them in different orientations . , , and  demonstrate 3D molecules structure and simulation of molecular behavior and interactions. In astronomy, the Augmented Reality technology is applied as a method for better students understanding of sun-earth system concepts of rotation/revolution, solstice/equinox, and seasonal variation of light and temperature . In the biology area, a learning system on interior human body is produced to present the human organs in details . Construct3D specifically was designed for mathematics and geometry education with three-dimensional geometric construction models . It can help teachers and students to explore properties of interesting curves, surfaces, and other geometric shapes. Physics is another area where Augmented Reality can be used. Duarte, Cardoso, and Lamounier evaluated Augmented Reality to dynamically present an object that varies in time, such as velocity and acceleration . Video Game could be another way of interactive education such that it assists students in easily grasp class concepts. Augmented Reality games give the educators the opportunity to utilize a new highly visual and highly interactive form of learning to show relationships and connections between objects. Malone  used these concepts to outline several guidelines that should be included in any education program. These guidelines include:
having clear and meaningful goals,
giving students feedback on their progress through multiple goals structuring and scoring,
having different difficulty levels. The decision of each used level must depend on the learner skills, and
surprising the player with random elements.
Making use of these guidelines will bring a new area of education methodologies and techniques. In this paper we introduce our Augmented Biology Lab (ABL) that mixes Augmented Reality concepts and Gaming Techniques to improve learning process. In our ABL we target to satisfy more than one need. It is trying to decrease the gap between biology knowledge and understanding. This gap exists due to the difficulty to imagine the positions of body organs, their shapes inside the body, how they interact, and the diseases related to each organ, etc. Augmented Reality and visualization techniques present a promising
Reality (AR) Virtuality (AV)
solution for this need. Using Gaming Techniques improve the student engagement in the education process. This leads to enabling the students of self-managing the learning process in an interesting way. The rest of this paper is organized into six more sections. In section II, we explain our biology lab in details, its targets, and how to implement these targets in a game. The methodology we followed to provide our concept in Augmented Biology Lab (ABL) is discussed in sections III to VI. Finally the conclusion and future work are introduced in section VII.
II. AUGMENTED BIOLOGY LAB
Biology is a natural science concerned with the study of of life and organisms. Human structure is from the main approaches of biology science. In this field Students had difficulty with:
a) visualization of what they have learned in lectures; 2D materials are not easy to reconstruct in 3D world, b) the relationship of each organ to its surrounding structures, c) 3D zooming in interactive software to explore deeper layers such as vessels and/or nerve structure, d) visualizing and applying knowledge practically.
Human body structure requires students to memorize a great deal of information and contextualize this within the range of body functions. It involves teaching through pictures, diagrams and real models for easier understanding, and the application of virtual reality and Augmented Reality to such activity has great potential. Through 3D visualization, students can understand human structure in a less complex way when compared to other traditional teaching methods. In our Augmented Biology Lab we aim to mix studying and entertainment in the same educational platform to avoid boring from studying and consuming time in other activities. Our lab emphasizes in this phase on teaching biology specifically. The direct objective of the ABL is to target mainly the elementary school students. Our ABL makes students able to learn the shape of their bodies' organs, their positions and their functions. In that way the students will gain a gradually increased amount of information about their organs, and their biological systems. It emphasizes moreover, on the functionality of the biological systems. As an application for this concept we propose a multi-player game that contains a combination of organs and their names. At the beginning of every playing session a combination of organs in column and their names will appear in another column. The player will have to select the organ and its right name. After selecting the organ and its right name the system will position the organ in its right place on the image of the player's image. Figure 2 shows a sample of the playing session.
Figure 2. The proposed game