Designing a 3D-based computer-assisted instruction tool for teaching orthographic projection

Geeng-Neng You, Ming-Hsien Hung and Yung-Chou Hsu
National Taichung University of Science and Technology
Taichung City, Taiwan

In vocational high schools, students in departments such as machinery, architecture or design are required to take graphics-related courses. Courses on orthographic projection can help students to acquire spatial concepts for developing skills in their major area of study. However, the instructional support for teaching orthographic projection needs upgrading to take advantage of modern digital technology. Various multimedia technologies can be exploited to establish tools for a more versatile and flexible applications of computer-assisted instruction (CAI). We therefore explored various feasible technologies and designed a prototype of a 3D-based CAI tool for teaching and learning orthographic projection. The system prototype utilizes 3Ds Max to build solid models, Unity 3D to facilitate the projection, and Flash to integrates them into a web-based 3D visualization tool for helping students to interact with the orthographic projection. The prototype has been tested by students recruited from two tenth grade classes, with two different groups being formed after a preliminary test on students in the two classes. The experimental group used the CAI tool, while the control group followed the traditional practice. The outcome of the experiment provided convincing evidence that the problem-solving ability of the experimental group was generally better than that of the control group.