A NEW COLLABORATIVE TOOL TO MAKE ARCHAEOLOGY
New technologies bring innovative aspects to the field of education that involve a qualitative improvement in the forms of teaching and learning. Its use not only allows the effective implementation of some of the existing educational theories, but also opens the possibilities for exploration of new models, with a multidisciplinary perspective.
A large part of the proposals developed so far cover the area of individualized learning, where the relationship between computer and student is an image of that between teacher and student. This paper is focused on group learning, commonly called collaborative learning, where students learn in a process in which the ideas to solve a task are proposed and shared, and the thought and dialogue are favoured.
Up to now, research institutions or companies have usually done the generation of 3D models separately. Although the format of the 3D representations can be adjusted to certain standards, hardly any applications can share scans from different sources. There are no known examples of software tools in which a three-dimensional scenario can be generated collaboratively from models digitized with scanners. There are visual tools for chosen models, but the user does not interact with the tool or with others. Moreover, the models used are simple CAD models arranged for a simulated scenario.
The application we have developed combines parts of a viewer and a collaborative tool, providing viewing tasks, incorporation of pieces, spatial organization, and proposal and communication of ideas in the working group.
Thus, our proposal enables the development of initiatives that aim to integrate 3D models made by different teams, with different three-dimensional sensors and at different points in time. It leads to create virtual scenarios better represented and equipped and can become a tool in which the interested parties are able to discuss and plan virtual reconstructions of scenes by consensus.
This tool could become essential in the new and necessary approach that the teaching of a discipline as archaeology is undergoing in recent times. Traditionally, learning of this branch of knowledge is based on a simple act of faith by students of the theories that teachers propose to them, master classes in which the learner is mere recipient of data. Using a tool as the one we are developing would allow them to be participants in their own learning process since they can work with the digitized materials as if they were handling the real ones. Interacting with the teacher at the same time that with other students will provide the practical view of the different concepts learned so as to propose their own theories.
Furthermore, it also seems indispensable as a working tool in the multidisciplinary study of Archaeology. Researchers of its different branches often try to mitigate the distance and loneliness of the individual research by creating working groups that get periodic meetings when agenda and economic problems make it possible, for sharing the results obtained separately. Our software facilitates combining the data from each of the branches of research in Archaeology: urbanism, architecture, sculpture, mosaics, etc., so that all existing knowledge could be implemented on the same archaeological scenario. From the comparison of the various theories most feasible hypothesis could be launched. Moreover, the particular study of each discipline would be enhanced by the overall result of individual contributions.