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M.J. Merchán, E. Pérez, P. Merchán, S. Salamanca, M.D. Moreno

University of Extremadura (SPAIN)
It is a fact that studying subjects eminently theoretical as History, Philosophy, etc. may sometimes be boring for teenagers. In our current society, based on the immediacy of data, images, sounds..., telling stories in a traditional way ends up reversing in a counterproductive way for learners and teachers. New educational methodologies have been developed in the last few years (flipped classes, Project-Based Learning, etc.) in which an attempt to achieve a greater involvement of students in their own learning process is made. Although Arts subjects seem to be receptive to some of these novelties, they are not so much when technology is part of these new teaching methods.

In this paper, we intend to demonstrate how the current projects that are being carried out in the field of the three-dimensional digitization of Cultural Heritage can be applied to achieve new educational strategies in the Humanities for students in their teens. Using 3D models of sites, monuments, artefacts, etc. either directly or through Virtual Reality recreations based on them, it is possible to build a game environment with which achieving a more effective and fun immersion of the pupils into these type of subjects. The idea is to improve their experience by the utilization of a technological and visual language to which they are accustomed in his/her day-to-day, facilitating this way the teaching-learning process. Through individual or collective games based on 3D technology, students acquire knowledge actively, even without realizing it on many occasions.

We present here an experience carried out with teenagers aged 14 to 16 (in their third-fourth year at High School) that was held in the National Museum of Roman Art (MNAR, according to its Spanish initials), Mérida, Spain. With the objective of making them improve their knowledge about Art History of Ancient Rome, we prepared an activity that also looked for involving them in their own learning process. We led them through the practices of 3D acquisition, modelling and printing before showing them how the 3D models can be used in the teaching of History, Art and Archaeology. In this sense, we developed two experiences: one VR game, with which they could learn about a relevant Roman sculptural group and its location in an ancient Roman urbs, in this case, the ancient Augusta Emerita; and one ICT collaborative game, to improve their knowledge of both the Roman iconography and the very MNAR. The learning results were evaluated by the participants and their teachers, the games’ developers and the staff of the Museum and are shown at the end of the paper. We believe that this experience can be extrapolated to other contexts of the informal learning settings with the same good results.