Drawing in a Virtual 3D Space - Introducing VR Drawing in Elementary School Art Education
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Virtual reality (VR) technology makes it possible to directly interact with virtual 3D spaces. This enables the realization of VR drawing tools that allow everyone to create 3D drawings in a simple and intuitive manner. Introducing this new method of drawing to children at elementary schools can benefit them in multiple ways. One of the potential benefits is the enhancement of spatial skills. Previous work suggests that both the drawing of 3D objects and the usage of VR can improve mental rotation and spatial visualization skills. Since VR drawing is a combination of the aforementioned activities, it seems promising to investigate its effect on these spatial abilities. So far, no research has been done into the educational use of VR drawing or its relation with spatial abilities. This thesis takes a first step in gaining a better understanding of the benefits and obstacles that VR drawing brings when introduced at elementary schools. We performed an experiment with 18 children (ages 10-12). Several drawing exercises were implemented and tested. Furthermore, our tests studied the correlation between the participants’ spatial ability test scores and proficiency in creating a VR 3D drawing and whether a few VR drawing sessions are enough to increase these spatial ability test scores. Our results show improvement in the children’s 3D drawing skills but not in their spatial skills. Their drawing skills do seem to be correlated with their mental rotation ability, although further research is needed to conclusively confirm this. This thesis lays the foundation for future research into the educational use of VR painting tools and shows that it is indeed a promising direction for further evaluation.