Conference Paper

Briviesca in the 15th c.: A Virtual Reality Environment for Teaching Purposes

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Abstract

The virtual visualization of historical sites opens the door to a variety of new classroom teaching methods for students. Two of these methods are semi-guided tours around 3D immersive environments and the screening of videos rendered from 3D models. Both are compared in this research that integrates a 3D model, designed for off-line rendering, in a 3D immersive environment, operating on Oculus Rift. First, the hardware and the software associated with the immersive environment are described. Then, the suitability of the 3D teaching environment is assessed in relation to historical knowledge, urban layout, and the portrayal of everyday medieval life. The evaluation of undergraduate student experiences, by means of post-session surveys, points to the effectiveness of both methods: higher scores were awarded to video screenings with background narrative in relation to the acquisition of historical concepts, while the virtual tour was the best means of transferring visually acquired knowledge such as urban concepts.

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... The first version of the 3D model was designed with off-line rendering and video creation in mind. It was then implemented in a VRE (Checa et al. 2016). The teaching experience narrates the establishment and growth, over the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, of the population center known as Briviesca (Spain). ...
... In this research, we take previous studies one step further by evaluating the different kinds of knowledge that may be acquired: explicit, implicit and spatial. Besides, this research goes a step further than a first version of the VRE teaching experience in the Middle-Ages Briviesca already cited (Checa et al. 2016): It improves the major limitations of this teaching experience that could only be considered a prototype, and it is tested with a larger number of students, producing significant conclusions from the statistical point of view. These major limitations were related to (1) a very small sample of end users without any statistical value; (2) the use of first-generation HMDs with strong motion sickness effects; (3) a low VRE resolution and visual quality; (4) the inclusion of a new procedure to measure the capabilities of the students at spatial identification of the locations of the main buildings of the city; and, (5) the improvement of the first questionnaire that includes questions with 100% right answers (because these kinds of questions will not help to detect advantages or disadvantages between the different learning methodologies). ...
... Although this investigation is not focused on the technical procedure to create the VRE of Briviesca in the fifteenth century, a summary of this procedure is required to analyze its potential for teaching purposes. The detailed procedure to create the VRE has already been presented in an earlier work Checa et al. 2016). ...
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Two teaching methodologies are presented and compared in this study: on the one hand, semi-guided tours in immersive virtual reality and, on the other, viewing video renderings of 3D environments. The two techniques are contrasted through 3D modeling of a fifteenth-century Spanish town called Briviesca, in an immersive environment, viewed with Oculus Rift. The suitability of virtual reality for teaching is assessed through questions on historical knowledge and urban layout. The understanding of the undergraduate students is evaluated, through questionnaires, after the viewing sessions. The responses of the students underline the effectiveness of the two methodologies: Video screenings received higher scores for historical ideas and the virtual tour was the most effective method at conveying knowledge learnt while viewing. Additionally, two user movements for controlling the virtual reality environment were tested: (1) gamepad locomotion and (2) roomscale movements combined with teleporting. The clear advantage of the second option was the total lack of motion sickness effects. However, the natural tendency using teleporting was to move very quickly through the city areas with no singular buildings and to spend more time in front of these types of buildings. They therefore missed visual information related to the first areas while retaining more information related to those buildings. Finally, the spatial location of singular buildings was clearly better acquired with the virtual tour.
... This solution is more affordable than explorative experiences that require the complete development of the VR-environment. In the case of interactive experiences, the VRenvironment will only have to be developed in high resolution in the areas where the user is permitted, while any secondary area can be roughly modelled, saving costly human and computational resources [29]. Along the same lines, the number of explorative experiences is very limited, due to their high cost. ...
... Short viewing times were expected in the past, due in part to the immaturity of HMD technology that caused VR sickness syndrome [20]. But those problems now appear to have been resolved with the new generation of HMDs and new strategies for user interaction with the VR-environment [29]. Besides, if longer VRexperiences are developed, the learning time can be considered a key factor and effective time ranges for different learning tasks can be done. ...
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The merger of game-based approaches and Virtual Reality (VR) environments that can enhance learning and training methodologies have a very promising future, reinforced by the widespread market-availability of affordable software and hardware tools for VR-environments. Rather than passive observers, users engage in those learning environments as active participants, permitting the development of exploration-based learning paradigms. There are separate reviews of VR technologies and serious games for educational and training purposes with a focus on only one knowledge area. However, this review covers 135 proposals for serious games in immersive VR-environments that are combinations of both VR and serious games and that offer end-user validation. First, an analysis of the forum, nationality, and date of publication of the articles is conducted. Then, the application domains, the target audience, the design of the game and its technological implementation, the performance evaluation procedure, and the results are analyzed. The aim here is to identify the factual standards of the proposed solutions and the differences between training and learning applications. Finally, the study lays the basis for future research lines that will develop serious games in immersive VR-environments, providing recommendations for the improvement of these tools and their successful application for the enhancement of both learning and training tasks.
... Lack or limited processor powers for application inputs or development [30];  Issues involve 3D space inputs: lack stability leads to motion sickness [38];  PC platforms lack mobility for users to experience outdoor and level of immersion is lower for desktop and mobile platform [39];  External environment factor cannot be easily manipulated Internet connection, battery consumption and overheating of device is dependent for each user [40]. ...
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In recent years, virtual reality (VR) is at its maturity level for real practical exercises amongst many fields of studies, especially in the virtual walkthrough exploration system of cultural heritage (CH). However, this study remains scattered and limited. This work presents a systematic review that maps out the usability and accessibility issues that are challenging in using VR in CH. We identified 45 challenges that are mapped into five problem groups: system design, development process, technology, assessment process and knowledge transfer. This mapping is then used to propose 58 recommendations to improve the usability and accessibility of VR in CH that are categorized in three different recommendation groups namely, discovery and planning, design and development, and finally the assessment factors. This analysis identified the persistence in certain accessibility and usability problems such as there is a limit in navigating the view and space that constraint the users’ free movement and the navigation control is not ideal with the keyboard arrow button. This work is important because it provides an overview of usability and accessibility based challenges that are faced in applying, developing, deploying and assessing VR in the usage of digitalizing CH and proposed a great number of constructive recommendations to guide future studies. The main contribution of this paper is the mapping of usability and accessibility challenges into categories and the development of recommendations based on the identified problems.
... Within this line, it could be interesting to identify the granite varieties used in the original constructions, something that has not yet been possible due to the fact that neither the works' contracts, nor the payment letters of the Provincial Historical Archive of Lugo, specify their origin or characteristics. Given the wide variety of this type of stone in Galicia, together with the fact that in Lugo the ruins of the old city were converted into improvised quarries-the reuse of Roman ashlars was very common-obtaining new data could shed light for the realization of more realistic reconstructions [31], which could have application in other areas, such as the teaching of cultural heritage or graphic computing [32]. ...
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  • M Alaguero
  • A Bustillo
  • L S Iglesias
  • L Martinez
The Virtual Reconstruction of a Small Medieval Town: The Case of Briviesca (Spain)
  • M Alaguero
  • A Bustillo
  • B Guinea
  • L S Iglesias
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3D scanning and replication for museum and Cultural Heritage applications. Techniques de balayage et de reproduction en trois dimensions pour applications muséales et culturelles
  • M J Wachowiak
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Virtual reality: a knowledge tool for Cultural Heritage
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The Church of the Charterhouse of Miraflores in Burgos: Virtual Reconstruction of Artistic Imagery
  • M Alaguero
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Alaguero, M., Bustillo, A., Iglesias, L.S., Martinez, L.: The Church of the Charterhouse of Miraflores in Burgos: Virtual Reconstruction of Artistic Imagery. Fusion of Cultures Proceedings of the 38th Annual Conference on Computer Applications and Quantitative Methods in Archaeology, Granada, Spain, April 2010 (BAR International Series 2494). (2013)