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Thursday, November 12 • 1:30pm - 2:00pm
Designing Inclusive Learning Path through Digital Storytelling: A Pilot Experimentation in a VR Interactive Etruscan Exhibition

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In recent years, museums are growingly recognized to be educational sites which could promote social and cultural integration through different methodologies such as Digital Storytelling (DST), Virtual Reality (VR) and Personalised Education. Starting from this assumption, the Centre for Museum Studies Roma TRE University (IT) has been working for the last three years in the “Inclusive Memory” project (http://host.uniroma3.it/progetti/inclusivememory/en/index.html) based on the idea that cultural heritage within the museum could be exploited as a social and active participation driver. The experimentation here presented is aimed at testing an Inclusive VR Etruscan Exhibition designed to foster the construction of a shared collective social memory by combining DST methodologies with learning instructions based on Visual Thinking and Critical Reflection.
The learning paths were meant to blend the physical visit at the National Etruscan museum "Villa Giulia" (Rome) with Digital Stories available by a custom-designed App for smartphone. The stories were designed to represent the voices of the minorities, stigmatized and marginalized groups such as migrants, elder people, people with cognitive/physical impairments and women. However, the worldwide Covid 19 health emergency - together with the need to follow social distancing - required us to redesign the visit and, as a consequence, we tried to turn this challenge into an opportunity. We asked ourselves “How we could visit Museums in the new post-covid world based on digital experiences?”
In this new scenario, virtual interactive exhibition could be one of the possible solution. To do this, we had to design cultural and educational interfaces. We proposed a particular experience of interactive virtual museum. The user - after an initial profiling phase - is required to collect the Etruscan coins placed above the main museum objects. After gaining the coin, an object-related story pops up on the screen. Different kinds of interactive activities were designed to stimulate the user learning experience: all the stories are interactive containing questions aimed at stimulating the user reflection. In addition, the user is invited to answer an open-ended question designed to both stimulate and assess Critical Thinking Skills.
The interactive virtual museum should not be simply conceived as a simulation of the physical museum experience. The aim is to offer a completely different experience - virtual and augmented - of the museum exhibition. Thus, we exploited a visual abstraction approach. Firstly, it was necessary to design the museum space in 3D - through 3D modeling software Rhinoceros. For greater clarity and conceptual abstraction, it was decided to design the rooms of the museum, according to a typical architectural plan of contemporary buildings at the Etruscan Museum: a row of rooms in succession. Each section follows the same pattern: inside the room there is the main exhibition object - also designed in 3D - and five abstract empty display cases.
Then, the specific User Interface for the interaction between the user and the space / object has been designed. Through a first prototyping with the software Adobe XD, it was possible to define the wireframes and the graphic and interaction elements of the interface. Subsequently, the project has been uploaded in the Unity platform for coded development. The interface reflects the maximum inclusiveness fees for DSA and non-DSA subjects. The strong use of visual contrasts given by the color palette, and the choice of a specific typeface - Biancoenero font - make the interface easy to read without losing elegance and style.
For the first experimentation, we tested only one of the six learning paths named “The highest ambition of a woman in ancient societies ... and today?”. The learning path describes the contrast between the subordinate role of the woman in the ancient Greek society and the strong figure of the powerful barbarian sorceress Medea, an outcast in Greece. A group of (N) post-graduate students in “Museum Education” will test the Virtual Learning Path. Our research questions are the following: 1. Do participants enjoy the visit? 2. Does Virtual Learning Path stimulate participants’ critical reflection? 3. Are there any correlations among participants characteristics and their preferences for stories, pieces of arts and fruition styles? In order to answer these questions, different kinds of data will be collected and analysed: log data and participants reactions to stories and pieces of arts will be used to understand to which extent participants enjoy the visit. These data will be also used to calculate correlation with participants personal characteristics (e.g. gender, age, personality traits, artistic preferences and so on). Open-ended answers will be analysed through a content analysis methodology to assess participants’ critical thinking reflections. In a Design-Based Research perspective, these data would be used to improve the quality of the learning paths and to better understand how to improve the personalization of the learning experience within the Virtual Etruscan Exhibition.

Speakers
avatar for Antonella Poce

Antonella Poce

Associate Professor, Roma Tre University
Antonella Poce is Associate Professor, qualified full professor, in Experimental Pedagogy at the Department of Education – University Roma TRE, where she chairs the Centre for Museum and Digital Studies and the post graduate courses: annual Museum Education and biennial Advanced... Read More →
avatar for Maria Rosaria Re

Maria Rosaria Re

PhD, Research fellow, Università Roma Tre, Dep. of Education, Centre for Museum Studies
avatar for Alessio Caccamo

Alessio Caccamo

Research Fellow / Visual Communication Designer / Creative Director, Roma Tre University
Visual Communication Designer and Research Fellow at the Department of Education of Roma Tre University. Graduated with honors in Design, Visual and Multimedia Communication at Sapienza University of Rome, he combines theoretical research - in the academic field - with practical experimentation... Read More →
CD

carlo De Medio

Ph.d Researcher, Roma TRE
avatar for MARA VALENTE

MARA VALENTE

Resercher fellow, Roma Tre University
I'm a research fellow at the Department of Education of University Roma Tre. I'm carrying out research activities regarding digital innovation in the education to the cultural heritage for the development of transversal skills and social inclusion. Since September 2019, I have been... Read More →


Thursday November 12, 2020 1:30pm - 2:00pm EST
Live Q&A for pre-recorded session