Completion Date: October 2012
Keywords: HCI, Haptic Technology, Virtual Reality, Educational Games, Social Games, Virtual Learning Environments, Visual Impairment,
Personal Web Page: http://uk.linkedin.com/in/mariapetridou
I have recently passed my PhD viva – subject to corrections – at the University Of Nottingham, UK in designing and developing an Audio-Haptic Virtual Learning Environment in a form of a game for engaging visually impaired learners with geometrical concepts. My thesis is entitled: “Playful Haptic-Audio Environment for Engaging Visually Impaired Learners with Geometrical Concepts”.
The main aim of my research was to investigate the hypothesis that blind students at school level can learn about shapes by exploring 3D shapes in a tactile VE with the help of auditory and haptic feedback. A method to allow for evaluating the interaction with VE was the design and development of an interactive haptic virtual reality system that allows visually impaired users to study and interact with audio-haptic VLE in the form of a game. I have followed an activity based user-centred repetitive process to conclude on the final design of my educational game. End-users were involved from the initial steps of my research. Moreover, my research also aimed to examine the potential strengths of game-based learning among visually impaired students and to explore the potential of enjoyable and playful educational environments for these students. Also, it looked into ways of how educational games may encourage and promote collaboration and teamwork between sighted and non-sighted students. My research also extensively examined the potential strengths of game-based learning and emphasized the need of enjoyable and playful educational environments. I was also particularly interested in generating the emotions of end-users and try to blend different techniques to make the interaction with virtual environments constructive.
My scholarly interests range widely, from games to mobile applications. I am primarily interested in educational games both for blind and sighted students. For blind students I hope to carry my interest in designing playful VE to teach and practise geometry and more advance science modules. Furthermore, knowledge of geometry – the main theory of space – may contribute in building other game applications that contribute towards the improvement of other aspects of blind people’s life, e.g. navigation with the Nintendo Wii controller. Moreover, I am interested in what makes a game fun and at the same time promoting the educational aspects of it. I also have interest in using computer games in rehabilitation treatment for children. My interests expand in designing mobile application and games application for iPhone and Android.
I have also closely collaborated on a project that was investigating how blind users can generate and appreciate graphs. Particularly, its main goal was to enable visually impaired people to access computer-based visualisation techniques, mainly pie charts, bar charts and line graphs with the use of haptic feedback. The study also tried to investigate to some extent the integration of sounds so as to create a multimodal visualisation system. The system allowed users to evaluate a graph but also allowed them to construct their own by importing data from Microsoft Excel into the program.
I have attended a number of conferences and presented my work on gaming. Details of my publication can be found in the attached copy of my curriculum vitae.
My academic background spans from abstract computer science to management of IT and educational technology. My educational, working and research experience involved working in groups, collaborating with people from different department, backgrounds and capabilities. My experience taught me that the optimal solution is not the obvious one and that I need to examine and approach a problem from all different angles and critically evaluate all outcomes.
I used to teach Software Management Systems, a postgraduate module. I was responsible of preparing the exams papers, courseworks and seminar problem sheets and marking them. I have also been involved in marking courseworks and invigilating exams for other modules both undergraduate and postgraduate.
E-Mail: EMAIL OBFUSCATED
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AI / Machine Learning / Robotics / Vision, Computer Science Education / Educational Technology, Databases / Information Retrieval / Data Mining, HCI / CSCW, Information Systems / Information Science, Social Computing / Social Informatics