Nowadays most of the schools in developed countries have Internet access and the adaptation of new technologies in education opens new horizons for the development of new technological infrastructures. However, educational applications are limited, mainly multimedia material, simulations and Internet articles. The new pedagogical approach requires creation of educational material, which should stimulate the interest of students and support their direct and active participation in the educational process.
More specifically, in natural sciences laboratories, conducting real experiments is obviously necessary. However, conducting real experiments is not always feasible due to expensive equipment, dangerous material, complicated experimental setups etc.
Within the proposed project the Internet will be used to cover such needs. In particular, students will be able, via the Internet, to conduct experiments, which are located in a remote laboratory. This guarantees safety and does not include any financial or time restrictions. Special emphasis will be given to the students' interaction with the experiment (i.e. control of the experiment, camera control etc.), which will be realised via a user-friendly interface developed within the proposed project and will be based on virtual reality and 3-D visualization techniques using 3D graphics so as to stimulate the students' interest. Virtual reality equipment, such as a Head Mounted Display will be also supported and used, if available, in order to immerse the user into the experiment. The students will be able to observe the execution of the real experiment through the camera as well through the 3-D visualization. The results of the project will be recorded and displayed as graphs. Besides the possibility of conducting the real experiment, the user will be additionally able to perform a simulation of the experiment in order to compare the theoretical results with the corresponding real results. Special emphasis will be given to the following factors:
1. “pedagogical dimension”, in order to achieve a smooth introduction of the project results in the educational process
2. “ease of use”, in order to guarantee acceptance of project results by the end users, and
3. “re-usability”, in order to guarantee further exploitation of the project results, after the completion of the project.