Two Turns Must Take Turns: Primary School Students’ Cognition about 3D Rotation in a Virtual Reality Learning Environment
Yeh, Andy J. (2004) Two Turns Must Take Turns: Primary School Students’ Cognition about 3D Rotation in a Virtual Reality Learning Environment. In Yang, Wei-Chi, Chu, Sung-Chi, De Alwis, Tilak, & Ang, Keng-Cheng (Eds.) Asian Technology Conference in Mathematics (ATCM), 13-17 December, 2004, Singapore.
This paper reports on five primary school students’ explorations of 3D rotation in a virtual reality learning environment (VRLE) named VRMath. When asked to investigate if you would face the same direction when you turn right 45 degrees first then roll up 45 degrees, or when you roll up 45 degrees first then turn right 45 degrees, the students found that the different order of the two turns ended up with different directions in the VRLE. This was contrary to the students’ prior predictions based on using pen, paper and body movements. The findings of this study showed the difficulty young children have in perceiving and understanding the non-commutative nature of 3D rotation and the power of the computational VRLE in giving students experiences that they rarely have in real life with 3D manipulations and 3D mental movements.
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