S2-CDISC1-5 - Development of an Educational Mixed Reality Game on Water Desalination Plants

1. Innovative Practice Work In Progress
Sofian Ghazali1 , Hana Abdalla1, Muhammad Zaid Kamil1, Amy Hodges1, Konstantinos Kakosimos1
1 TEXAS A&M UNIVERSITY AT QATAR

With the integration of technology into education, new forms of learning are possible in STEM classrooms, encouraging humans to innovate and develop new technologies while training for tasks that can benefit them in their future careers. Thus, the goal of this Work in Progress research project is to investigate how Mixed Reality (MR) technology can be incorporated as a significant form of learning for students. MR is at the forefront of many emerging technologies and it benefits the academic field in many ways [1].  In industry, Mixed Reality allows employees and students to gain access to valuable knowledge of how real-world facilities and plants work [2]. This eliminates the need to be physically present at a factory and allows high risk events to be replicated in an augmented environment where no injuries can occur. MR technology has proven effective in increasing student learning [3, 4], but few have investigated its impact on students’ perceptions of experiential learning. The research team has drawn upon the experiences of the Petroleum Engineering department in Texas A&M University at Qatar, who implemented a virtual reality application visualizing LNG spill and Dispersion in one of their research projects [5]. However, in our project, we aim to not only simulate the facility for visualization purpose but also to provide a more interactive content for the users in STEM courses. We will ensure students interact with the system and manipulate the surroundings so that they can feel a sense of agency when participating in this active learning technique, turning the lecture-based classes into a “game-like” application of what situations they can encounter in the workplace. This technique not only benefits the students but the teachers as well by providing Needs-based technology education which is shown to have a rapid, positive effect on teacher attitudes [6]. The undergraduate research team has developed a prototype of a Mixed Reality model application using the Unity engine Software. The 3D model assets have been recreated using SolidWorks and imported from an online 3D CAD library. They have added interactions and animations to the 3D Industrial model and cross-built the Unity application to the HoloLens device allowing the user to interact with the 3D model in a real-world environment. In addition, the research aims to make the game competitive in nature by introducing time constraints and a point system to incentivize students while developing their analytical skills which also makes it more fun and stimulates competition. This Work-in-Progress paper reports on the development of the prototype and proposes methods for testing its effectiveness as a learning tool. We will develop a survey tool to assess the educational impact of the game. In the process of designing the MR game, we aim to address the following research questions: 1) Do students’ attitudes towards a specific subject change after the inclusion of Mixed Reality technology? 2) What tools best measure the relationship between immersive technology and student learning?

References

 [1] Acer for Education, “Mixed Reality in Education: boosting students' learning experience,” Acer for Education Newsletter, 13 June 2017. [online] Available at: https://eu-acerforeducation.acer.com/innovative-technologies/mixed-reality-in-education-boosting-students-learning-experience/ [Accessed 9 Feb. 2020].

 [2] A.C. Uzialko, “How Mixed Reality is Changing the Manufacturing Industry,” Business News Daily, 29 March 2018. [online] Available at: https://www.businessnewsdaily.com/10382-mixed-reality-in-manufacturing.html [Accessed 9 Feb. 2020].

 [3] Müller, D., Bruns, F., Erbe, H., Robben, B. and Yoo, Y., “Mixed reality learning spaces for collaborative experimentation: A challenge for engineering education and training,” presented at 4th International Conference on Remote Engineering and Virtual Instrumentation, 2007.  [online] Available at: https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/0133/437cf7f5e5ea6963acd7b1611bb455bc9f21.pdf [Accessed 9 Feb. 2020].

 [4] Häfner, P., Häfner, V. and Ovtcharova, J., “Teaching Methodology for Virtual Reality Practical Course in Engineering Education,” Procedia Computer Science, vol. 25, pp. 251-260, 2013.

 [5] Waldram, S., Nayak, S., Olewski, T., Basha, O. and Hassiba, R. “Visualization of LNG Spill and Dispersion: Safety Assessment,” Texas A&M University at Qatar Research Computing, n.d. [online] Available at: https://www.qatar.tamu.edu/researchcomputing/visualization/visualization-of-lng-spill-and-dispersion-safety-assessment [Accessed 9 Feb. 2020].

 [6] Christensen, R., “Effects of Technology Integration Education on the Attitudes of Teachers and Students,” Journal of Research on Technology in Education, vol. 34, issue 4, pp.411-433, 2014.