The potential for haptic-enabled interaction to support collaborative learning in school biology
Abstract: This paper discusses the rationales and design considerations for developing the use of haptics (virtual touch) for learning aspects of cell biology in secondary schools. The paper considers issues in understanding concepts in cell biology and how a 3-D environment enabled by haptics could support learning of difficult concepts. In this endeavour, a number of educational and design challenges need to be addressed. First we need to identify the level of detail and realism that will support learning and visualisation rather than confuse through its overcomplexity or create misconceptions through oversimplification. Secondly we need to integrate the use of the 3-D environment into classroom teaching by identifying relevant curriculum and pedagogical challenges and solutions. Significant design challenges include navigating the content and scale changes involved in moving between the visible, microscopic and nanoscale in an intuitive and realistic way and enabling collaborative learning.