The interaction in Bill’s Computer Workshop is gaze-based, meaning that the player can use teleporter points or pick up objects by looking at them and pressing a button or clicking the mouse. Once an object was picked up, it appears in the user’s “hand”, meaning that it is now attached to the lower right corner of the screen (when using the mobile VR or the laptop). A selected object, RAM or CPU, can only be put down by inserting it into the right socket, once again by looking at the slot and clicking a button/pressing the mouse. When interacting with the mechanic Bill, the user has to look at him and click the mouse/press a button to address him or to get the next part of his statement. When using the HTC Vive, selected objects are attached to the controllers so that the user can have a closer look at them. Moreover, the user can walk freely within the boundaries of the VR room-scale area. However, to reach higher levels within the environment or to get to locations, that are beyond the room-scale area, the player needs to use teleporter points.
Skills / Lessons Learned:
Even though this is still a prototype, it already had several revisions as we learned the following lessons:
- free teleportation leads to distraction and the students will do anything except following the game's instructions ;-) => fixed teleportation points are useful to direct students' attention
- interactive objects need to be highlighted, especially for children and teenagers. This is why we added the "sparkling" effect to objects with interaction (same with teleportation points and the hovering lights)
- a "start" level with a portal to the game increases orientation and presence
- higher levels of technological immersion lead to higher learning outcomes (we tested desktop-based, Mobile VR and HTC Vive)
- the level of presence correlates positively with the learning outcomes (significantly!)
The immersive experience can be integrated in the everyday classroom in several ways: First, it can be introduced as a motivational game with the objective to engage the students with the topic. But it can also be used as a tool to establish important terms regarding the different hardware parts and their functions to repeat and deepen this knowledge later. A third field of application would be the repetition/conclusion of the topic. This immersive approach can be combined with the other Unplugged or virtual approaches as well. Especially when introducing the components and their individual functions with the EVE, teachers can add the Unplugged classroom computer activity to explain the interactions between the components.