Developing Cultural and Linguistic Competencies through Virtual Reality
Dr. David Neville, Digital Liberal Arts Specialist
To leverage immersive VR experiences for language learning and cultural awareness, we intend to create three open-source VR games with supporting instructional materials. These games will teach sustainability, conservation, and environmental protection within the linguistic and sociocultural contexts of France, Germany, and Spain. The project has five objectives: (1) build an interdisciplinary and inter-institutional community of experts who use VR for teaching within the humanities; (2) train students in VR game design within the humanities; (3) create immersive VR environments intended for language learning in French, German and Spanish; (4) design instructional approaches using VR environments for language learning and culture acquisition in order to to increase student motivation, intercultural competence, and preparation for study abroad, and (5) distribute open source code that can be used in creating VR experiences for teaching other languages and cultures.
Meaning in Movement Project
Dr. Damian Kelty-Stephen, Former Assistant Professor of Psychology
Damian’s lab has been studying full-body motion capture in visually-guided actions (e.g., aimed tossing to a target), and his lab’s new project with GCIEL is going to begin integrating the full-body motion capture with the digitized virtual environment to capture not just how the body moves but a digital trace of how the body extends into the space of a task environment.
It’s possible to make small changes to available visual information in a non-VR lab space, but the immersive aspect of VR will allow Damian’s lab to manipulate specifically the “ambient arrays” implicated by research in the tradition of James Gibson’s ecological psychology. Beginning with a sparse environment, they will be building gradually more texture into these environments and exploring how bodily movement and immersive displays reshapes spatial perception.
The Uncle Sam Plantation Project
Dr. Sarah Purcell, L.F. Parker Professor of History
The Uncle Sam (Constancia) Plantation was a 19th-century sugar plantation located near Convent in St. James Parish, Louisiana. Constructed between 1829 and 1843, the Uncle Sam Plantation was once one of the most intact and architecturally-unified plantation complexes in the Southeastern United States and a prime example of Greek Revival-style architecture. Before the plantation complex was razed in 1940 to make room for a river levee, floor plans and elevations of the buildings were produced by the Historic American Buildings Survey. The GCIEL will develop 3D models based on these floor plans and elevations to create an immersive 3D/VR experience that will virtually recreate the spaces of the plantation complex and tell the forgotten histories of the people who lived there.