University of Calabria (ITALY)
About this paper:
Appears in: INTED2010 Proceedings
Publication year: 2010
Pages: 5845-5853
ISBN: 978-84-613-5538-9
ISSN: 2340-1079
Conference name: 4th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 8-10 March, 2010
Location: Valencia, Spain
As many researchers have pointed out, advanced technologies can be cognitive amplifiers for developing new ways of thinking in educational processes. This work presents an application for science communication. Linking educational contents and entertainment by using multimedia technologies, this paper introduces a web site, where virtual environments, images, videos, sounds, and music are collected together to present mathematical topics such as Chaos theory and the Chua’s circuit. These high specialized scientific topics seem to be very suitable to be shown through the use of innovative educational tools that allow users to employ mathematical models in a creative manner, making learning entertaining and enjoyable. In order to trigger young generations motivation and attention on science studies, the web site is made up by seven sections. The first one presents Chaos Theory and the Chua's Circuit. This section starts with a theoretical introduction to the basic concepts of chaotic phenomena and it follows with a didactic activity called “Building Chua's Circuit”. Chua’s circuit is a non-linear dynamic electronic device that has had a paradigmatic role in the mathematical, physical and experimental demonstrations of chaos. In this part we present a “step by step method” to build the circuit. The second section shows the “Gallery of Chua’s attractors” that represents a scientific visualization of chaotic behaviors. Here a collection of images and interactive 3D models, created by the numerical simulation of the circuit, is presented. Users can manipulate the 3D attractors to observe their highly evocative forms from different points of view, they can modify their shapes and create new and unpredictable attractors, by changing the system's parameters. The mathematical models of the Chua's circuit have also been used to produce artistic objects. In accordance with the new architectonic tendencies which use dynamical systems, the third section of the site presents a short movie on the “City of Imagination”, where Mathematics and Art are strictly linked. In this movie users can admire new buildings created by exploiting the forms of chaotic attractors. The fourth section named “Virtual Worlds” presents 3D futuristic spaces. Here, the movies show synthetic scenarios based on chaotic forms, where mathematics is the basis for the artificial worlds and chaos becomes a fantastic representation of the real world. Since the circuit and its generalizations can create a broad range of acoustic signals and melodies, the fifth section is dedicated to music and sounds from chaos. Furthermore, through the use of MIDI instruments, many musical pieces have been already generated. Many sound architectures created in Max/MSP allow users to produce sound and music from chaos. The sixth section presents an educational methodology that has been already experimented in primary and high schools, in order to introduce Chaos theory to students. This part presents a four step teaching/learning method through activity reports, pictures, videos, and test results.
The seventh section presents the “Virtual Museum”, which introduces a 3D navigable application in which users can explore more than thousand attractors as they were in a museum. Two final sections allow the download of software applications related to attractors, music and sound creation and the exchange/ sharing of artistic productions by using a wiki system respectively.
Chaos Theory, Advanced technologies for learning, Science education, Edutainment.