Exploiting the best sensory modality for learning arithmetic and geometrical concepts based on multisensory technology and serious games.
Technology is starting to be widely used in classrooms. However, in schools, the visual channel is often the one most frequently exploited in teaching. In particular, to date no technology has exploited ICT for multisensory integration in teaching. Yet, recent results from psychophysics and developmental psychology [Gori et al. 2008, 2010, 2012, 2014] show that children have a preferential sensory channel to learn specific concepts and that the visual signal in not always the most powerful channel.
Starting from these recent advances in educational literature, weDRAW proposes that different sensory-motor signals be used (audio, haptic, visual and movement) to teach new concepts to primary school children, adopting art as a source of inspiration for developing novel multimodal, embodied and enactive teaching and learning paradigms and technologies.
The main idea behind weDRAW is to develop a technology that associates music with numeracy and drawing with geometry in new ways. In particular, weDRAW shows that it is possible to learn arithmetical concepts from rhythm and music and geometrical concepts from body movement and drawing. The project creates a new understanding of the association of music and arithmetical concepts and of drawing and geometrical concepts, and exploits such an understanding in technologies for learning in an innovative way to achieve a “deeper learning of Science and Mathematics combined with Arts” that improves the learners’ creative capacities.
The new technology, including serious games platforms, is developed in a way which involves teachers in the learning process, having the final goal, on one hand, of improving the creative capacities of children and, on the other hand, of supporting the teacher’s role in the learning process. The main idea behind the project is to create a four-phase approach in which the teacher is directly involved in the evaluation of the modules to be used for each specific learning aspect. Starting from this initial evaluation, the teacher can identify the best modality to teach the specific concept to each child in a personalised way and use this modality to teach further concepts. The interaction between students who perform the task, by using different modules (visual, audio or haptic), provides a unified multisensory concept of the circle that will help the child to internalise it better. At the end of the process, the learning is evaluated by the teacher.
A major goal and output of this project is to apply the proposed multisensory approach and technologies to two specific populations, namely: visually impaired and dyslexic children. weDRAW expects to improve the deficits of these two groups, as has already been done in previous activities with visually impaired children (e.g. see www.abbiproject.eu). Whereas dyslexic children encounter problems with rhythm, visually impaired children have problems with space and geometry.
weDRAW develops and validates two multisensory technology prototypes and three serious games to learn numbers and geometry starting from music and drawing. By adopting such a multisensory learning approach and technology, typically developing children will exploit their preferred sensory channel complemented by the other ones, whereas visually impaired and dyslexic children will supplement the missing or impaired preferred sensory channel with the other ones.
Moreover, the adoption of such a multisensory learning ecosystem contributes to an early diagnosis of dyslexia and other learning difficulties. The two prototypes and the three serious games developed by the project provide such evidence.