DYNAMICAL EXPLORATION OF TWO-VARIABLE FUNCTIONS USING VIRTUAL REALITY1
DYNAMICAL exploration OF two-VARIABLE FUNCTIONS using VIRTUAL REALITY
Thierry Dana-Picard – Yehuda Badihi – David Zeitoun - Oren David Israeli
Jerusalem College of Technology
We present the rationale of an ongoing project, aimed at the development of a Virtual Reality assistant learning of limits, continuity, and other properties in multivariable Calculus. The Mathematics for which this development is intended is described briefly, together with the psychological and pedagogical elements of the project. What is Virtual Reality is explained and details are given about its application to the specific field. We emphasize the fact that this new technological device is suitable for self-teaching and individual practice, as well as for the better storing and retrieving of the acquired knowledge, and for identifying its traces whenever it is relevant for further advanced learning.
The institution and its pedagogical situation
The Jerusalem College of Technology (JCT) is a High-Tech Engineering School. During the Spring Term of first year, a course in Advanced Calculus is given, mostly devoted to functions of two, three or more real variables. A problem for many students is a low ability to "see" in three-dimensional space, with negative consequences on their conceptualization of notions such as limits, continuity, differentiability. Another bias appears with double and triple integrals, as a good perception of the integration domain is necessary to decide how to use the classical techniques of integration. Sik-Lányi et al. (2003) claim that space perception is not a congenital faculty of human being. They built a Virtual Reality environment for improving space perception among 15-16 years old students. With the same concern we address a particular problem of space perception with older students, using the same digital technology.
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