Mental educational method of using VR and AR

Exercises related to history educational programs based on VR

One use of AR is for practical exercises for learning history through participation in the events of a particular time. My Street Story 360 (mental method) is presented at Vincas Kudirka Library and is based on VR. The purpose of this solution is to present Kaunas district history by using 360 panorama images taken by the participants of the project. Around 100 high-quality panorama pictures were taken, mostly in the forts of Kaunas’ fortress. These panoramic images were used to create the four following products: virtual tour around the district, the web-based game, the game for Windows operating system and the VR game to be used on the Oculus platform devices (see Figure 6.2).

These products are exhibited and used in educational programs at the library. The resources were used for scientific research as well. The educational

game (a cropped version of the game designed for a library) was created to test the impact of immersive learning. The aim of the game is to find historical objects scattered around real environments. In order to proceed a learner has to read information and find out the right answers to the questions that appear at certain moments. Some results were published in the article ‘Virtual reality in education: new ways to learn’.

Mental method in educational programs based on AR is used for engagement of learners

The mental method following is used to gain new skills in history and virtually participate in an event. The method presents historical airplanes in AR, and they are exhibited in Vytautas the Great War Museum and Lithuanian Air Forces. The purpose of this application is to present historical Lithuanian airplanes created in independent Lithuania during the period between the two world wars (i.e. 1919-1939). The application contains six historical airplanes (ANBO I, ANBO IV, ANBO VII, DOBI I, DOBI II, DOBI III), the legendary airplane ‘Lituanica’ and the first Lithuanian tank ‘Slibinas’.

By using this application, one can place these vehicles on the ground and inspect them. Some vehicles are interactive: one can start the engine of the airplane or make the tank shoot. All vehicles can be scaled from the original size to the ratio 1:16. One can also take a photo with people standing beside the historical vehicles in order to share it on social networks. The application can be used on Android and iOS devices (see Figure 6.3).

The mental educational method based on simulation

The simulation method is based on 3D objects and environments that deliver immersive and engaging learning experiences. The Battle of Salakas VR historical game is exhibited in Vytautas the Great War Museum. Its purpose is to depict the battle of Salakas from the first person point of view and to allow the user to familiarize him/herself with a real weapon that was actually used in that battle. It makes use of the HTC Vive system and its trackers as well as a replica of the Mauser firearm, which serves as the controller. The VR game depicts the battle scene in which the Lithuanian military defended a city against advancing enemies. The player is located in the ruins of a destroyed house and endeavours not to allow advancing enemies to get close. The game finishes after the player fails to protect the building or when one succeeds to protect it for 5 minutes. It is exhibited as part of a World War I and independence battles exhibition where a big painting of the Salakas battle and historical firearms are located.

Another example related to the mental educational based on VR is provided at the history learning program and suggests a flight over the Atlantic in the airplane ‘Lituanica’. It is an educational game with many different activities allowing learners to participate in a team or individually. It engages learners to learn and read more about the event. The game is exhibited at Vytautas the Great War Museum. It covers a story of two Lithuanian pilots, Steponas Darius and Stasys Girenas. In 1933, they set out to fly over the Atlantic Ocean in a modified plane they called ‘Lituanica’. They took off in New York and sadly met their tragic fate right before reaching their final destination - landing in the city of Kaunas (Figure 6.4).

Many exercises related to the historical event are provided to the learners, who must follow the flight and do the intended educational exercises (Figure 6.5). These educational exercises include searching information in the real environment. Figure 6.4 shows a real situation with wreckage of the airplane and Figure 6.5 shows exhibited objects by inspecting airplane in AR and solving the tasks mentally.

A game consists of 9 mini-games. Each mini-game is assessed by points collected at the end of the game. This game can be played by teams or individuals competing with each other.

The mental method related to engagement

Staging and participation in real events by using VR allow the learners to acquire new skills. An additional history learning example gives learners the possibility of participating in the Battle of Saule using a ‘live picture’ movie. ‘Live’ means that the point of view of the battle changes according to the position of the viewer.

The Battle of Radviliskis, based on a VR solution, is another example of a history educational program related to the mental method and engagement. This VR movie depicts one of the main independence battles fought in Radviliskis city. The battle was fought against numerous Ber- montian forces, which were located in the city. This battle raged for several days. Bermontians turned mills into strongholds. During the battle, mills changed hands several times. The solution makes use of the VR systems supporting 6 degrees of freedom (6DoF) tracking. The person who watches the movie in VR can relive a scene of capturing a mill by the Lithuanian military forces. The person can walk around on the battlefield, but the movie is not interactive.

Engagement into educational programs by using VR and AR

Scientific research (Allcoat & von Miihlenen, 2018, Collins et al., 2018, Reger et ah, 2019) identifies engagement as the major factor involving learners in educational programs and inviting them to learn more not only in the VR environment. It is also mentioned by many scholars that VR and AR engage learners to learn more about different topics after participation in the VR experiences.

One of the examples of how to engage participants in knowing more about aircraft is an Anti-aircraft shooting game based on VR that is exhibited at Vytautas the Great War Museum. The purpose of this VR game is to showcase WW I anti-aircraft weapons that are exhibited nearby. The player is located in the trenches and fires an anti-aircraft gun. One must shoot enemy targets and avoid hitting friendly aircraft and deliverables. The game is suitable for Samsung Gear VR and compatible devices (Oculus Go and similar).

Another example is virtual tour-based Vehicles of Lithuanian Armed Forces that can be presented to the young learners at Vytautas the Great War Museum. Its aim is to present the vehicles that are now used in the Lithuanian armed forces. The technology includes a virtual tour for the web, a virtual tour for VR (Oculus platform) and a 3D shooting game created for VR (Oculus platform). Virtual tour (for both web and VR) includes the M113 armoured personnel carrier, a helicopter and a military airplane (Spartan). High-quality panoramic images were taken using stereoscopic photography so that the depth is sensible when viewing in VR application. A virtual tour for the web is accessible here at tai/muziejus/. The 3D VR game depicts a present-day training session. The environment is modelled to be a generic shooting range for training. The player shoots from an М3 Browning machine gun mounted on an Ml 13 armorer personnel carrier. The game turned out to be very successful. Its mobility allows the museum to take it on various trips. Moreover, the look and feel of the game as well as the ability to compete for the highest score are attractive both to young learners and adults.

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