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Development of an Interactive Immersion Environment for Engendering Understanding about Nanotechnology: Concept, Construction, and Implementation

Konrad J. Schönborn, Gunnar E. Höst, Karljohan E. Lundin Palmerius and Jennifer Flint
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Konrad J. Schönborn: Department of Science and Technology, Linköping University, Norrköping, Sweden
Gunnar E. Höst: Department of Science and Technology, Linköping University, Norrköping, Sweden
Karljohan E. Lundin Palmerius: Department of Science and Technology, Linköping University, Norrköping, Sweden
Jennifer Flint: Department of Science and Technology, Linköping University, Norrköping, Sweden

International Journal of Virtual and Personal Learning Environments (IJVPLE), 2014, vol. 5, issue 2, 40-56

Abstract: The advent of nanoscientific applications in modern life is swiftly in progress. Nanoscale innovation comes with the pressing need to provide citizens and learners with scientific knowledge for judging the societal impact of nanotechnology. In rising to the challenge, this paper reports the developmental phase of a research agenda concerned with building and investigating a virtual environment for communicating nano-ideas. Methods involved elucidating core nano-principles through two purposefully contrasting nano “risk†and “benefit†scenarios for incorporation into an immersive system. The authors implemented the resulting 3D virtual architecture through an exploration of citizens' and school students' interaction with the virtual nanoworld. Findings suggest that users' interactive experiences of conducting the two tasks based on gestural interaction with the system serve as a cognitive gateway for engendering nano-related understanding underpinning perceived hopes and fears and as a stimulating pedagogical basis from which to teach complex science concepts.

Date: 2014
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