Proceedings of CSCL '97: The Second International Conference on Computer Support for Collaborative Learning, December 10-14, 1997, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

By Rogers Hall; Naomi Miyake et al. | Go to book overview
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Interactive Cooperative Learning System Based on Virtual Shared Space: HyCLASS
Katsumi Hosoya1, Akihisa Kawanobe1, Susumu Kakuta1 and Munish Sharma21 Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corporation2 University of Toronto, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering
Abstract
A collaborative educational system has been designed that enables several students in distant locations to share a virtual three-dimensional space. It can be used to perform virtual experiments and carry out creative tasks. Students can dynamically create a new object and modify its properties. The system maintains a consistent status of the virtual space as seen by each student present in a room. An efficient communication method to maintain this consistency is proposed. Within the virtual space, the three- dimensional materials are based on OMG-CORBA, a distributed object modeling architecture. Furthermore a method to create a new object and modify its properties is also introduced. Lastly, after developing and implementing the prototype system, we evaluate the various issues centering on the proposed methods.Keywords--CSCL, virtual reality, shared space, CORBA, multicast
1 Introduction
Recent studies on intelligent Computer Assisted Instruction (CAI) have suggested that interactive learning, in which students actively interact with the educational material, and collaborative learning, in which students talk with others in a group, play significant roles in the process of acquiring new knowledge. Additionally, people are becoming more interested in education supported by computers, especially "Computer Supported Cooperative Learning (CSCL)". In CSCL, various technologies are used, such as electronic mail/news, chatting, voice/video conferencing, and "white boards".With recent improvements in computer technology, three-dimensional computer graphics (3D-CG) is being applied in various fields, including education. By using educational materials presented using 3D-CG, students can more intuitively understand three-dimensional knowledge, and actively study, for example, moving around the space and observing a object from various viewpoints [1]. This 3D-CG technology enables the building of a virtual world that cannot be built in the real world, and to describe complicated structures.Recent works have described educational materials by using the virtual reality modeling language (VRML) [2]. Using VRML, modeling data can be downloaded from a server in a remote location through networks, enabling several users to access the same virtual world. However, a user cannot recognize other simultaneous users and cannot cooperatively manipulate a virtual object with those users.We have been developing an environment where users can perceive and respond to the actions of other users and manipulate the objects cooperatively [3]. In this paper, we propose a collaborative learning environment that runs on computer networks and discuss the requirements for managing a multi-user virtual space. We then explain how we place the educational objects in distributed locations, and synchronize communication between them. Finally, we evaluate our proposed methods based on their performance in a prototype system.
2 Collaborative learning environment using a virtual space

2.1 Features
Our learning environment has the following features:
1. virtual shared space (room)

An ordinary school oontains several units of space, each classified as a classroom. Students inside a given room work on the same educational material. A student can exist in one room at a time, but can freely move from one room to another.

2. view of three-dimensional educational materials and walk-through

Students in the same room see the same three- dimensional objects. If a property of an object changes, then all students see it changing at the same

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Proceedings of CSCL '97: The Second International Conference on Computer Support for Collaborative Learning, December 10-14, 1997, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
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