Applying enhanced virtuality to language learning

February 21, 2012
Merging the real world with its mirror in a virtual world so that students can be immersed in a hybrid learning environment that permits improved language teaching: that is the objective of scientists at the Universidad Carlos III de Madrid who have developed the first prototype that demonstrates how a platform of this type works. Credit: UC3M

Merging the real world with its mirror in a virtual world so that students can be immersed in a hybrid learning environment that permits improved language teaching: that is the objective of scientists at the Universidad Carlos III de Madrid who have developed the first prototype that demonstrates how a platform of this type works.

These researchers have used an open code platform to create distributed three-dimensional virtual worlds (OpenWonderland), and they have made use of geolocalization, which is already incorporated in smartphones. The purpose is to take advantage of the characteristics that virtual worlds offer along with the interaction of these three spaces (reality, the and the hybrid one) in order to create e-learning activities in the field of languages.

The researchers have recently carried out a pilot test of the prototype in the center of Madrid in which Spanish was taught to . "We created a mirror of the , in this case of the Gran Via in the capital, and we superimposed on the reality that the users observed through a camera and a mobile phone screen; this way we were able to create a world of enhanced reality ", explains María Blanca Ibáñez, of UC3M's Telematic Engineering Department. In this way, the users who are walking along the street can see the avatars that represent the participants in their smartphones, which are connected to the platform via Internet. "In addition - Professor Blanca Ibáñez states – the real world participants have a representative in the virtual world who follows the same route, so we obtain an 'enhanced reality' world in which both types of users can interact ".

The video will load shortly
Merging the real world with its mirror in a virtual world so that students can be immersed in a hybrid learning environment that permits improved language teaching: that is the objective of scientists at the Universidad Carlos III de Madrid who have developed the first prototype that demonstrates how a platform of this type works. Credit: UC3M

Between the real and virtual worlds

With this system, students who are inside of the system can see the movements of the avatar who represents the teacher, who may really be in the street, and who can, in turn, interact with the students by means of his/her mobile phone. The experiment, as described by the scientists in the Telematic Applications and Services Group (GAST – Grupo de Aplicaciones y Servicios Telemáticos) at UC3M in an article published in the journal, IEEE Internet Computing, is part of the research project "España Virtual" funded by the Ingenio 2010 Program, subcontracted by Deimos Space, with the participation of the firm DNX and the support of the Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia (National Distance Learning University.

The advantages of the application of these technologies in the field of e-learning are quite varied, according to the researchers. On one hand, it is hoped that students will be motivated to participate in the learning process due to the more interactive nature of the activities and because they are able to experience a variety of situations. In addition, these are worlds that can be seen as laboratories where the teachers can control the variables to a greater or lesser extent. "They are interactive spaces where the subject can be contextualized and where the impossible can be made possible", Professor Blanca Ibáñez affirms. "For example, if we are studying the discovery of America, we can accompany Columbus in his historic accomplishment, or we can travel through the arteries of our own bodies, see a magnetic field or modify the structure of a molecule ", she concludes.

Explore further: Avatars develop real world skills

More information: Learning a Foreign Language in a Mixed-Reality Environment, María Blanca Ibáñez, Carlos Delgado Kloos, Derick Leony, José Jesús García Rueda y David Maroto. IEEE Internet Computing. Volume: 15. Number: 6. Pages: 44-47

Related Stories

Avatars develop real world skills

December 7, 2011

New research suggests that far from disengaging young people from real life, virtual worlds can provide unique environments that can help them learn and negotiate new situations.

3-D virtual-learning platforms

June 28, 2010

A 3D virtual world such as SecondLife, cannot in fact be considered a teaching platform, although it provides a good foundation for one. To do so, it must include some elements such as a training program, with a sequence ...

Breathing second life into language teaching

October 9, 2008

An international team has developed a wireless virtual reality environment that can help promote language learning and let students practice. The researchers have demonstrated their Collaborative Virtual Reality Environment ...

A virtual reality scent system that fools human taste

April 19, 2011

(PhysOrg.com) -- Can you fool the human sense of taste in the world of virtual reality? Up until recently that question was impossible to answer, most because it had not been tested. Most of virtual reality relied on sight ...

Recommended for you

Chinese fans trash blackout as Google AI wins again

May 25, 2017

Chinese netizens fumed Thursday over a government ban on live coverage of Google algorithm AlphaGo's battle with the world's top Go player, as the programme clinched their three-match series in the ancient board game.

Shedding light on how humans walk... with robots

May 24, 2017

Learning how to walk is difficult for toddlers to master; it's even harder for adults who are recovering from a stroke, traumatic brain injury, or other condition, requiring months of intensive, often frustrating physical ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.