A Pilot Project to Teach Road Safety Using Desktop Virtual Reality

A Pilot Project to Teach Road Safety Using Desktop Virtual Reality

Emmanuel Fokides (University of the Aegean, Greece) and Costas Tsolakidis (University of the Aegean, Greece)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-61520-751-0.ch007

Abstract

In this work the issue of road safety education is presented. Virtual Reality can be used for this purpose with very good results. An application was developed based on a 3D video game. This application was simulating the environment of a town with traffic and contained not only all of its elements (cars, traffic lights, pedestrian crossings) but also special conditions such as night and rain. It was developed to simulate the walk of a pedestrian and could accommodate many users simultaneously. It was tested by the students of the last three grades of a primary school in Athens. The acquired capabilities of the students/users were compared with the equivalent capabilities of students that had training in the class using printed material only and with the knowledge of another group that had no training at all.
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Case Description

In our case, the task of creating a certain type of computer application was not that of converting the existing educational material in another form, since such material is non-existent. Consequently, we set the teaching objectives, determined the teaching methodology and we wrote, collected and modulated the teaching material. Furthermore, we considered the following conditions of great importance:

  • Effectiveness: Students should be able to learn a practical piece of knowledge and apply it in their everyday life;

  • Accessibility: A large number of students should be able to access and work with it. Since schools are not equipped with high-end computers, the application should be lightweight enough in order to run smoothly in mid-range or even low-end computers:

  • Compliance: The school life should not be disrupted with time consuming activities that will affect an already congested timetable and curriculum; and

  • Cost: Not to have significant cost regarding its development.

To form the instructive framework, the necessary knowledge, dexterities and behaviors which would enable children to a safer conduct in the street environment were determined. These are: i) orientation in space and the detection of traffic, ii) detection and the evaluation of dangerous situations, iii) evaluation of the vehicles' distance and speed and iv) synchronization of perception and movement as well as the co-ordination of information from various directions (Fokides & Tsolakidis, 2008).

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