Research Highlights / Full Story

Now open your eyes—and log onto your computer, where your video game guides you through the church's twists and turns and allows you to clearly identify architectural styles and symbols on grave markers.

Elizabeth Goins, assistant professor of fine arts, has won a grant from the National Park Service and the National Center for Preserva- tion Training and Technology to develop an interactive game that will transport students to virtual worlds that will help teach key elements of historic preservation and conservation.

The project, which also includes professor Andrew Phelps and associate professor Chris Egert, both from RIT's interactive games and media department, seeks to determine how to create engaging interactive experiences that teach conservation and preservation through online methods. The team hopes to assess different avenues for both teaching conservation of cultural materials and developing new vehicles for presenting online historic worlds.

"Immersive worlds have the potential to create learning environments that can teach this multidisciplinary approach but game mechanics and pedagogical strategies have not yet been developed," says Goins. "For example, in the game, we have built a reconstruction of a real conservation project being conducted by the J. Paul Getty Trust on Nefertari's tomb. Through this we teach students about the materials and techniques of the ancient Egyptians and also the forensic methods developed in pigment identification."

Once the prototype has been completed, it will be tested and assessed on conservation classes at RIT and at the University of Delaware. Levels of engagement will be evaluated along with how well students learn the material.

Goins hopes the project will ultimately assist in increasing the use of gaming technology in teaching the concepts of conservation and preservation while also providing a more immersive experience for students.