A Study on immersive technology in a Science Center setting (2006-2008)

Directed by
André H. Caron
Département de communication de l’Université de Montréal 

Letizia Caronia
Département des sciences de l’éducation de l’Université de Bologne

Description : 

A research project conducted by the Centre for Interdisciplinary Research on Emerging Technologies (CITÉ), the Centre for Youth and Media Studies (GRJM/CYMS) at the University of Montréal and the Montreal Science Centre engendered a very innovative study that explores how young people act in and with an immersive and interactive environment. A unique partnership was established between academia (University of Montréal), industry (Society for Arts and Technologies/SAT) and a science centre (Montréal Science Centre) for research and development of a technology called Panoscope 360o.

This innovation in the domain of technological and digital arts was studied from its creation to its reception by the user. During the implementation of the Panoscope 360o in the Imagine! hall of the Montreal Science Centre, the CYMS video-recorded observations of visitor behavior in situ. Four data collection sessions staggered over nine months allowed us to explore the appropriation of the Panoscope 360o in its natural exhibition setting, and to determine the public’s reaction to the technology and its environment.

The presentation discusses the qualitative approach used and summarizes the analyses of the device, the context and visitors’ appropriation practices. The converging and diverging uses of the Panoscope 360o are discussed, in particular the unconventional uses.

The analysis of the behavior of young visitors shows that the device lends itself to uses where the ludic component of the game dominates the epistemic component, and where the main approach is “What can we do with it”” rather than “What do we have to do? “ This form of appropriation we found stimulated the development of social skills in youth.

Partners :
Centre des Sciences de Montréal
Société des arts technologiques
Fondation canadienne pour l’innovation