Educational Personalized Contents in a Web Environment: The Virtual Museum Net of Magna Graecia

Educational Personalized Contents in a Web Environment: The Virtual Museum Net of Magna Graecia

Giuseppe Naccarato (Università della Calabria, Italy), Eleonora Pantano (Università della Calabria, Italy) and Assunta Tavernise (Università della Calabria, Italy)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60960-044-0.ch022
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This chapter presents a system called Virtual Museum Net of Magna Graecia, part of a Cultural Heritage project supported by the Regional Operational Programme 2000-2006 to promote archaeological patrimony of Calabria, a region of southern Italy. In particular, the Virtual Museum Net offers personalized learning paths though an intelligent match between a user’s preferences, needs, and requests and Calabrian Cultural Heritage data from museums, archaeological sites and libraries, including maps, images, movies, historical writings, and architectural reconstructions.The system provides educational contents and recommendations on the basis of a thematic search or a map, and the user can select both the contents to visualize and the level of detail. In this way, the educational quality, the users’ entertainment, and the learning process are improved by the virtual experience.
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In recent years, several researches have emphasized a scarce interest of some targets of users in Cultural Heritage (CH). For instance both young people and the elderly have been classified as groups that are not attracted by museums and galleries (Botti, 2000; Mason & McCarthy, 2006). Moreover, the Article 12 of the Council of Europe Framework Convention on the Value of CH for Society highlights that a wide effort should be expended for the enhancement of participation in culture for particular societal groups. In particular, it states the necessity to «improve access to the heritage, especially among young people and the disadvantaged, in order to raise awareness about its value, the need to maintain and preserve it, and the benefits which may be derived from it».

However, since younger generation feels comfortable using Information and Communication Technology (ICT), it has the opportunity to expand its own knowledge taking charge of the complete learning experience in the ways that best suit individual needs and interests (Berdichevsky, 2008). In fact, the current advances in ICT offer immersive tools which can be used to allow learners to explore both personalized environments and scenarios, harness their own skills and enhance their education. These new tools have important implications on lesson planning, didactic contents, and fruition (de Freitas & Neumann, 2009), as well on self-tuition.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Recommendation Systems: these are particular systems which support user’s decision process, focusing on profile, preferences and past actions. The opportunity to visualize only the information that better satisfy user’s needs reduces the information overload. Furthermore, the prompt availability of the information fitting the request, without the mental effort of a wide screening of materials, improves user’s learning and satisfaction.

Cultural Districts: the areas that are the centre of an economic exploitation. In fact, they refers to a model of economical development especially at a local level, centered not only on the exploitation of cultural goods, but on a complete productive process of a specific territory.

Personalized Learning Paths: these are paths which can be created directly by users, according to their own educational requests. In fact, users can localize the most interesting archaeological parks and museums on the territory and visualize them on a map.

Knowledge Navigation Service: it is a personalized navigation service which supports the process of self-learning and is based on the Interpretive Structural Modelling (ISM). In particular, this system allows to evaluate the learning performance, by figuring out of the already learned information and those that is to learn or review again.

Virtual Reconstructions: these consist of the reconstruction via 3D graphics tools of real objects and scenario, realized in order to engage users’ experiences and facilitate the learning process. They are particularly efficient in archaeological and historical contexts.

Web 2.0 Technologies: these technologies allow end-users to participate actively in the promotion ad diffusion of a digital contents globally. In particular, they offer virtual spaces and tools in order to share knowledge among users and create communities oriented to a specific topic. Meaningful examples are MySpace, YouTube and Facebook.

Virtual Museum Net of Magna Graecia: it is a project promoted by the Regional Operational Programme 2000-2006, which provides an unitary vision of archaeological patrimony of Magna Graecia in Calabria (a region of Southern Italy). The system offers an intelligent match between the offer’s and the user’s needs/requests, providing educational contents on the basis of a thematic search or a map, and the user can select both the contents to visualize and their level of detail.

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