Design of a 3D Interactive Math Learning Environment

Can 3D graphics help high-school students learn advanced mathematics? Can we create a sufficiently compelling application such that students would choose to play with advanced math concepts for fun? What usability problems does this technology pose for novice users? AquaMOOSE 3D is a desktop 3D environment designed to help students learn about the behavior of parametric equations. AquaMOOSE is based on an educational philosophy called constructionism, which advocates learning through design and construction activities [14]. Students use mathematics to design interesting graphical forms and also create mathematical challenges to share with others. In this paper, we present our iterative design process and the results from a formative evaluation with 105 highschool students in a six-week honors summer math program. We analyse their experiences through log-file analysis, a questionnaire, and interviews. A more detailed case study of one student's positive experiences shows the potential of the system. We conclude that students find the aesthetic qualities of the environment motivating, but usability still poses problems. Opportunities and challenges in leveraging 3D graphics for math learning are discussed. Trade-offs are presented between designing for learner's immediate needs versus leveraging technology to create fundamentally new learning opportunities.


Jason Elliott , Amy Bruckman


Elliott, Jason and Amy Bruckman (2002). "Design of a 3D Interactive Math Learning Environment." Proceedings of DIS 2002 (ACM conference on Designing Interactive Systems). London, UK, June 2002.