History alive with 3d!

IM Innovations adds new dimension to history lessons in Singapore schools

For the first time in Singapore schools, 250 elementary-grade students in 7 different classes in Pasir Ris Primary School experienced a new paradigm of learning using an integrated multimedia teaching resource.  Instead of traditional classroom lessons, students discover old Singapore using 3D educational games, animation and quizzes.  Students can wander around and explore a virtual environment when Singapore was only a fishing village in 1819. They will encounter and are able to engage with various key historical figures such as Singapore’s founding father Sir Stamford Raffles or Sultan Hussein and the Temenggong of Johore, to learn about Singapore’s past. Using hyperlinks to such characters, students can watch animated scenes and learn how Sang Nila Utama, the Prince of Palembang, survived the stormy sea on his journey to Singapore and named the island Singapura, the Lion City, after seeing a lion in the forest.  Students can play a mini-game to locate places in a village and will quickly appreciate how challenging the past was by using simple clues like a dead tree instead of addresses. Quizzes are also used to reinforce the learning process.  

“Singapore’s History Alive with 3D!”  seeks to ignite interest in Singapore’s history among young learners. Mr Justin Pierre Arul, principal of Pasir Ris Primary School and IM Innovations’ project partner school remarked: “It’s hard for younger kids to appreciate history.  With this project, history comes alive for them”.  This novel project, which is being developed by IM Innovations over 20 months, is supported by Singapore‘s Media Development Agency and Temasek Polytechnic. 
Ms Adila Ong, the Head of Department for Character and Citizenship Education, Pasir Ris Primary, gave this feedback after the school rolled out the pilot phase of this program for their 250 students in early 2011:

The teachers concurred and gave positive feedback that the package which leverages on 3D technology has indeed made the lessons for the Primary 4 Social Studies (SS) chapters more engaging for the students. Since the first lesson, the students have been more enthusiastic during the social studies lessons. Some students have even gone the extra mile in becoming motivated self-directed learners to find out more about the lessons covered in class through reading books or even surfing the web. They are more familiar with the various key characters and learning points. As the students were more engaged in their learning, very often during lesson closures, the teachers were able to elicit encouraging responses from the students about their learning that meet the lesson objective. As such, not only the students, but the teachers involved are also more convinced, encouraged and enthusiastic in seeing the positive outcomes in their students' learning through the effective use of the package in their classrooms.

All the 3D digital assets are modeled, textured, painted, rigged and animated in Cinema 4D. These assets are then exported via Cinema 4D’s built-in FBX exporter to Unity 3D, a game development platform. The integration between Cinema 4D and Unity 3D is seamless. Textures are automatically applied; new animation is added automatically; model names and structures are maintained. Objects that are multiplied and arranged in Cinema 4D using the Instance or MoGraph Cloner object with Render Instance activated will be recognized in Unity 3D as a placeholder for programmer to instance the object to populate the scene.  This feature helps greatly in reducing the size of and simplifying complicated scenes such as houses in a village.

Vincent Ong, managing director of IM Innovations, explained that this multimedia solution is designed to address a wide range of young students, from low to high academic ability. It is web browser-based and can run on multiple platforms such as Windows and Mac.  It is easy to use, does not need a powerful hardware configuration and can be quickly deployed in many Singapore schools.  This solution will eventually be available on iPad and iPhone as well as include stereographic features for large immersive displays.

Weblinks:
YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MktZ_zuLoHA&feature=youtu.be
IM Innovations:  www.im-innovations.com
Pasir Ris Primary:  www.pasirrispri.moe.edu.sg 
Temasek Polytechnic:  www.tp.edu.sg 
Media Development Authority:  www.mda.gov.sg 

Previous slide
Next slide