Enhancing the Educational Experience of Calabrian Cultural Heritage: A Technology-Based Approach

Enhancing the Educational Experience of Calabrian Cultural Heritage: A Technology-Based Approach

Eleonora Pantano, Assunta Tavernise
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60960-497-4.ch013
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To achieve this goal, the chapter focuses on the use of 3D technologies, on virtual and augmented reality, with emphasis on the stereoscopic Virtual Theatre. These innovative tools support the creation of a global vision of the fragmentary archaeological Calabrian heritage, as well as the possibility to play with the virtual findings as in a videogame, by choosing what to explore and the contents to access. Moreover, these technologies exploit the entertaining components of the systems in order to provide personalized and interactive educational contents.
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In recent years, a great deal of research in the development of efficient Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) has driven to an increasing effort in the realization of virtual cultural goods, in order to support and promote knowledge transfer related to Cultural Heritage (Knipfer et al., 2009). As a consequence, the new concept of “Virtual Heritage” has been introduced, referring to the use of three-dimensional computer modelling in order to virtually reconstruct monuments, buildings, and finds (Roussou, 2002; Drettakis et al., 2005). Hence, an increasing amount of both digitalized museum materials (Styliadis et al., 2009) and cultural heritage educational contents have become available on the web, stimulating interest and curiosity especially in young people (Parry, 2005; Cutrì et al., 2008; Tonta, 2008). These materials offer a new kind of experience that is formative and amusing at the same time (Petric et al., 2003; Mason & McCarthy, 2006; Owston et al., 2009; Adamo et al., 2010): this new kind of learning has been called “Edutainment”, thanks to the mixture of the two terms “education” and “entertainment” (Bilotta et al., 2009; Pantano & Tavernise, 2009).

Knowledge transfer and acquisition in a both powerful and stimulating way enriches the experience, by focusing on a technology approach capable of supporting a deeper understanding of the artistic heritage in all of its components. Moreover, an archaeological site acquires visibility at a global level through the emphasis on its distinctive aspects (Bertacchini et al., 2007). In this view, Calabria region in Southern Italy represents a meaningful example of a very important but almost unknown archaeological site. In fact, it is a surely underestimated territory that offers a wide cultural and artistic patrimony as heritage of the Greek colonial expansionism in the Mediterranean area, which dates back from VIII cent. B.D. to II cent. A.D. (for this reason, the zone is also known as “Magna Graecia”).

The present work illustrates how a technology-based approach linked to Virtual Heritage, based on virtual tours, navigation system, virtual theatre, and virtual museum have been applied to Calabrian cultural patrimony in order to enhance users’ learning experience, as well as to promote the territory.

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