Ancient Spaces — An Experiential Approach to Teaching Archaeology: Virtual Reality in the Humanities Classroom

By:
Ms. Jo McFetridge
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The Ancient Spaces project was initiated in May 2003 by three graduate and senior undergraduate students. It aimed to bring experiential and game-based learning to the highly traditional curricula of the Classical, Near Eastern and Religious Studies department in a student-driven, modularized fashion.

A set of 3D digital learning objects were developed by the senior team for junior students to use as "building blocks" with which to reconstruct ancient Greek architecture. Junior undergraduates worked in teams to research ancient buildings and reconstruct them in three-dimensions using a commercial game engine.

Through this exercise, students learned about the general processes of reconstructive archaeology, and the results of their work will be used by their peers to gain a more in-depth understanding of the form and function of ancient architecture. Future expansions of the Ancient Spaces project are planned for implementation in the 2005-6 academic year which take more steps towards a game-based pedagogy and will allow students to participate in short myth- and history-based adventure games.

Ancient Spaces represents the first attempt in the Faculty of Arts at the University of British Columbia to implement a student-driven, student-focussed learning technology into the Humanities classroom, and has thus far enjoyed huge success despite the project's shoestring budget.


Keywords: Experiential learning, Virtual reality, e-learning, archaeology, student driven
Stream: Technology in Education
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: A paper has not yet been submitted.


Ms. Jo McFetridge

Graduate student, Department of Classical, Near Eastern and Religious Studies, University of British Columbia
Canada

Jo graduated with honours in Classical Studies and Physics from the University of British Columbia in 2003, and is currently completing an M.A. in Classical Archaeology. Since 2000, Jo has also worked as an educational technologist with UBC's Instructional Technology support unit, teaching faculty members how to use technology in the classroom to enhance teaching and learning. She also works on special e-learning projects, including mixed-mode (hybrid) curriculum conversion, the development of learning objects and interactive media. Jo hopes to pursue a Ph.D in either Ancient History or Educational Technology.


Ref: T05P0158