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Organisation: Alpaca
Name: Daniele De Rosa
E-Mail: info@alpacaprojects.com
Category: Didactics

Name of Project: Dante´s Inferno

Description of Project: The aim of the project was to elaborate an alternative way to access Dante Alighieri’s text, which could exploit the non linear display of information and the potential of digital tools. The artifact is not meant to take the place of the traditional linear way of reading the poetic text, but to ease its navigation providing a visual topography. Understanding the language of the Divine Comedy and reading texts for long time on a backlit screen might prove to be an arduous task for a 11-13 year-old student. A non linear way to navigate through the information allows the users to freely explore the topographic space defined by Dante and to spot all the verses, characters and sins they want. This method facilitates the connection between the visual memory and the text helping the learning process. We have designed a poster and a website (www.alpacaprojects.com/inferno). These tools have been conceived as open laboratory projects, which is being improved through the support from the teachers and the students, as well as scholars and literary critics. In the poster we have displayed the topographical structure of the Dante’s Inferno. In that structure we have arranged characters, sins and places; all those elements were referenced to the cantica text. The website allows the users to explore the map and interact with the drawn characters. By clicking or tapping them their related tercets will be shown in a tab, together with links to their wikipedia pages and to the full text of their specific canto. The use of expressive illustration is meant to maximize the involvement of 11-13 year-old student, who the work is mainly addressed to. The website responsive layout is optimized for desktop computers, tablets and interactive whiteboards (IWB). The website design accommodates also smartphones, but some navigation patterns are modified. Dante’s Inferno website have been patronized by Società Dante Alighieri. The website and the poster were used as a supporting teaching tool in classroom environment by three teachers with students with the support of an IWB. The teachers involved are writing for us qualitative reports. We are working on the assessment of the reading performance. The sample will consists of 30 subjects in the range 11-13 years old and 20 subjects in the range 14-15. The subjects will wear an eye tracker and they will be asked to locate on the website a specific Circle and a specific sin. Afterwards, the subjects will be asked to report also the sinners present in the Circle. The quickness and accuracy of the answers will be recorded. Before and after the experiment the subjects will be asked to play a game based on reflexes. The following dependent variable will be recorded: the time taken from the request to the location; the heat map of the eye movements; the accuracy of the answers (number of mistakes); the fatigue (the difference between the first and second performance in the reflex test). All the data collected will be compared with the tests on the following updates.

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