Teaching students to build historical buildings in virtual reality : A didactic strategy for learning history of art in secondary education

Part of : Themes in science and technology education ; Vol.2, No.1-2, 2009, pages 165-184

This article is a summary and conclusions of a field study carried out in a secondary education classroom with the aim of experimenting and observing how 13-year-old students learn the history of architecture by using complex virtual reality software. Within the framework of autonomous and active learning, students act as builders of some of the historic landmarks studied during the course. Thus, students learn, for instance, the features of Romanesque and Gothic architecture as they are asked to build block by block –and with the aid of a computer equipped with virtual reality software– various buildings of the periods concerned. The student-centered approach which concentrates on students’ learning also allows for a high degree of student autonomy and creativity. At the same time, this method fosters interactivity, and the spectacular results of virtual recreation and its stimulating activities are highly motivating and contribute to improve student concentration and achievement alike.
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