Biological Realistic Education Technology (BRET)
Thesis DisciplineHuman Interface Technology
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster Human Interface Technology
The aim of this project was to develop and evaluate an interactive Augmented Reality interface for teaching children aged 8 to 15 about biological systems present in the human body. The interface was de- signed as one component of a “human body scanner” exhibit, which is to be featured at the ScienceAlive! Science Centre. In the exhibit, the interface allows visualization and interaction with the body systems while being moved across a human male mannequin named BRET. Prior research has shown that Augmented Reality, Visualization applications, and games are viable methods to teach biology to university aged users, and Augmented Reality and interactive systems have been used with children and learning biology as well. BRET went through three iteration phases, in the first phase, prototypes were evaluated by ScienceAlive! and designs and interactions were implemented, while the use of Augmented Reality through a transparent display was rejected. Iteration two included integration of the non-transparent touch display screen and observational evaluation of six children from 9 to 15 years old. This evaluation resulted in design and interaction changes. Iteration three was the last iteration where final interface and interaction modifications were made and re- search was conducted with 48 children from the ages 8 to 15. This was to determine whether learning, fun, and retention rates were higher for children who interacted with BRET versus those who watched video clips, or read text. Each child used one learning method to learn the three different body systems: skeletal, circulatory, and digestion. The results of the final evaluation showed that overall there was no significant difference in the children’s rating of fun or the amount of information they retained between the different learning methods. There was a positive significant difference between some of the expected fun scores and the actual fun scores. It was also found that learning with text was higher than the interactive condition but there was no differences between learning with video and interaction, or with text and video.