Interdisciplinary Teaching Network (ITeN) Project
in the STUDIO for Creative Inquiry at Carnegie Mellon University
Ancient Egypt Programme of the World Cultures Project
Project Number 08 – 1993
Project Director (Author and Designer)
Associate Dean of the College of Fine Arts
Research Fellow of the Studio for Creative Inquiry
Carnegie Mellon University
Fax: (412) 268-2829LH00@andrew.cmu.edu
New multimedia technologies and computer systems now allow the design and development of multidisciplinary learning environments which can enhance knowledge exploration and retention for students in classrooms, studios and libraries.
The Ancient Egypt Programme of the ITeN Project is developing new interactive learning environments based on using interdisciplinary knowledge sources, particularly visual creations and representations, to provide integrated and unified educational experiences about human culture, its meaning and evolution across time.
This program is a powerful learning application which presents a broad range of in-depth materials organized in a flexible matrix, which can be used both by students doing research and instructors preparing presentations or doing research. There are also being developed sample materials for electronic publishing, going beyond what is possible with ordinary printed media or linear video formats.
The Egypt Programme explores and addresses important pedagogical issues and problems for interactive-multidisciplinary learning:
- Instructional system design for computer aided instruction.
- Linking structures in hypermedia systems.
- Instructional utilization of computer driven videodisc systems.
- Recontextualization of widely separated artifacts.
- Exploration of multisensory learning environments.
The approaches being employed focus on interrelating elements of knowledge sources from different media and disciplines which are then related to universal themes common to most historic cultures. Emphasis is on purpose and meaning of symbolic creations as a reflection of traditional cultural aspirations.
Interactivity allows a variety of accesses to the knowledge sources relative to the interests and perspectives of the user. Pathways are presented which offer broad thematic sequences across disciplines and media, as well as specific depth-sequences within disciplines leading to specific study areas. Particular subjects can also be accessed directly through a subject-theme index.
The knowledge materials are organized in a HyperCard-like environment (Spinnaker PLUS) which permits linking program segments in many different ways.
The content relies on utilizing original materials, as much as possible, to avoid copyright problems. These materials include; slide and video images, graphics, text and audio sources related to the most interesting and important people, places, ideas, events and artifacts, with each study area directly related to the others.
The program interface design reflects the ancient Egyptian aesthetic, so that even though it is a computer environment, orientation is towards the artworks being encountered. System icons and object or text hyperlinks interrelate materials from different disciplines.
The present state of the prototype program consists of a specific group of related sample learning segments focusing on; Language, Architecture (& History), Design, Science & Technology.
There is also a General Introductory VideoDisc Section offering ten five-minute documentary style scripted video segments, and a Reference Section with additional text-based materials.
Each major pathway offers an integrated mix of images and text in depth-sequences of three-to-eight screens, presenting eight- to-twelve study images and from ten to twenty-five minutes of informational text.
The existing materials – about sixteen half-hour segments, are only a sample to show the possibilities using off-the-shelf technologies, whereas the complete program will contain all the materials needed by students and teachers for an introductory course on ancient Egyptian culture, but still fit on a CD-ROM -like product.
Essential areas to be explored include;
- recontextualizing artifacts using computer reconstructed monuments.
- animating ancient reliefs and paintings.
- developing learning reinforcements components (agents and games)
- assessment and user testing.
- expanding notebook, disk-copy and printout capabilities.
The system components include:
Apple Macintosh Quadra 700 (8mb RAM) with 13in color monitor
LaserDisc Player with 13in monitor (Pioneer LDV-4200)
128mb rewritable optical storage disk
Video Spigot Card
Spinnaker PLUS Software Program
Adobe Photoshop Image Process Program
Adobe Premier Video Image Processing Program
Macromind Director Animation Studio Program
Quick-Time Video Program