Researchers develop and test new learning sphere

The Zurich University of the Arts (ZHdK) is trialing the use of augmented reality for its archaeology teaching materials. A 3D printed replica of an archaeological Roman find was provided for the innovative project. It was printed by Sintratec.

The ZHdK and Sintratec are collaborating on 3D printing.
The ZHdK and Sintratec are collaborating on 3D printing. Image Credit: zVg/Sintratec

The ZHdK has developed immersive teaching materials for secondary school students based on augmented reality in a first field test. Together with a replica of a Swiss archaeological find dating back to 400 BC, these will help students gain a deeper understanding about the working methods of archaeology. The laser sintered replica was produced using 3D printing technology by Sintratec, a company based in Brugg in the canton of Aargau. This project is testing modern teaching formats for digital learning of the future.

The object is a chain divider, which was uncovered at the Uetliberg, a mountain near Zurich in 2014. It was probably used as an ornament for horses. “The Sintratec technology allows us to visualize the delicate features of archaeological objects in great detail,” said Jonas Christen, Research Associate of the group Knowledge Visualization at the ZHdK, in a press release from Sintratec. In the first field test, the technology inspired the students and successfully contributed to the transfer of knowledge.

The ZHdK group also developed an immersive workbook for this immersive teaching method. With augmented reality glasses, students can “follow the archaeological object from its discovery, through excavation, documentation and reconstruction, until we finally try to find out what it was used for and where”. They experience each step of the process three-dimensionally and animated on the surface of the workbook.

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