Hey Chico @nearestchico, I’m so sorry for answering just now. But as I had agreed with you, here it is. I hope this material can contribute to the discussion.
In 2015, in a public school on the outskirts of the city of São Paulo, I developed a project in the computer lab that combined three purposes: digital literacy, cartographic literacy and critical development on the city’s architecture, especially the inclusion of people with disabilities. The issue of virtual reality is present in the way the project was developed, as we use sketchup as a tool. The challenge was for students aged 8 to 11 to discuss and build virtually, in sketchup, the ideal school. In the challenge there were no restrictions on ideas, but the project always had to answer the question: does this school exclude anyone? In the class there was a student in a wheelchair and a deaf student and they also designed the school thinking about their own reality.
This project was part of the annual policy pedagogical plan’s technology lab for which I was responsible. The laboratory had the following goals: inclusion and digital literacy; principle of encoding by gamification; development of critical data analysis. There were 3 classes of approximately 25 students.
For students from 8 to 11 years of age, the School of Dreams project was aimed:
- Develop cartographic literacy, three-dimensionality and laterality
- Practical application of knowledge in mathematics and geometry.
- Develop a critical and inclusive view of responsibility, solidarity and autonomy.
In order to make this possible, a methodology was developed with the following steps: awareness, approach, election, development 1, self-assessment, development 2, collective assessment, public presentation.
- Awareness > In this step I presented some possibilities of working with Minecraft and Sketchup as a way to learn. I also made some assumptions that we would have to abort throughout the project. Duration: 3h per class.
- Approximation > during a period the students had time to test and investigate about the two softwares and have an opinion about them. 8h.
- Election > in assembly the students discussed the two programs and voted which would be used for that project and why. After the vote it was decided to use the sketchup. And the students also decided that the project could be developed in pairs. 4h
- Development 1 > I asked the students to build a playground. With this challenge, it was possible to guide the tool’s commands, what the possibilities were. At this stage, the issue of three-dimensionality, some principles of scale, positioning, laterality and development of fine motor coordination were also addressed. 16h
- Self-Assessment > moment in which I discussed individually with each student how their development was, what they learned, what were the difficulties, what self-determined goal for the next assessment was. 4h
- Development 2 > building The Dream School. This stage was the one in which we invested the most time and attention, it was also the time to make it more complex, demanding that projects be inclusive, and that human proportions be respected (which implied dealing with real-world measurements to take them to the virtual world). 40h
- Collective evaluation > each pair had the opportunity to present their project to the class, they highlighted some points and had to answer at least 2 questions asked by colleagues. The class assessed whether each project was below expectations, in expectation or beyond expectations agreed upon at the beginning of the project: does the project include or exclude people? 8h.
- Public presentation > The Municipality of São Paulo periodically holds meetings between technology laboratories at schools, fablabs and public projects such as robotics. The Dream School project was highlighted at the event for reconciling ethical discussions and formal learning.
Considerations and Results
Approach the idea of three-dimensional axes using the hand and fingers. The index finger pointing forward represented an axis, eg depth, the thumb pointing upward represented the height axis, and the middle finger perpendicular to the index finger represented the base axis. The three fingers at the same time in this position represented the possibility of something being understood as three-dimensional or not. A crumpled paper ball was the study volume. So the student with his hand in the position indicated above could check if it’s possible for the paper ball to be an object with 3 axes, that is, with 3 dimensions. While we did a test with a sheet of paper and, according to the students, the sheet of paper didn’t have one of the axes depending on its position, which was not enough to say that the sheet of paper is three-dimensional. Students having the domain and physical knowledge of what 3D is, the association to the virtual was relatively simple, as the software on its display features colored lines that represent what they could perceive in reality: height, base and depth.
Geometry and math were necessary to develop the project. With this, students had to learn to take measurements of objects around them, think about the idea of scale and proportion. Issues such as building an area in the sketchup and knowing if a child up to 1.5 meters would fit there implied the need to measure the laboratory room. For example, how high was the door, how much a chair was and how could it be represented in the virtual world. In addition, considering the virtual space based on its relationship with the physical space, students began to point out problems that the school had and that these problems made it difficult to include people with a disability.
Autonomy, responsibility and solidarity are the principles that guided my position as an educator. At all times, I sought to position myself as a mediator and advisor whose role was to make it more complex and bring more challenges to the advancement of the learning process. I got that it wasn’t my role to pass content to students, but to build with them based on their reality. Very sensitive things started to happen: the deaf student who drew a school with a lot of written and drawn information on the walls caused the school to increasingly start to have non-vocal signaling and communications. The wheelchair student designed a school full of ramps and more spaced tables, which led teachers to discuss how to expand the autonomy of movement of students in this situation from the point of view of those who need it.