A Digital Penguin for introducing Computer Science to beginners

The Issue
Every day Information Science teachers have to cope with a difficult issue: the goal is to communicate the concepts and the ideas underlying computer technology, but the audience is mainly interested in its practical aspects. The solution is to choose a presentation language that is a compromise between the necessary precision and scientific rigour and a seductive way of presenting multi-faceted concepts. The main problem is that applying such a solution is not easy, also because communication skills vary considerably from teacher to teacher.

This project was developed from a preliminary educational study carried out by a group of computer science professors and researchers at the Department of Computer Science of the University of Turin. All had matured educational experience with students from different backgrounds and with different goals, and they agreed to experiment with a new and attractive learning environment.

The Movie
One of the aims of the project was to produce a movie featuring Dip, a digital penguin, suited for distribution via streaming and DVD. As planned, the educational content is intended to encourage students to study information science ideas in depth, instead of boring them with a number of definitions to be mechanically memorized...
Starting in 2003, the
University of Turin is using this movie to introduce the lecture on binary codes and multimedia formats. It can be projected in the class room in front of the students and commented at the end. Students can freely visit the dipdigital.com site in order to see it again. The site will soon be completed with a number of links and references to aid the student to thoroughly explore the different concepts.

Further development
Further projects featuring Dip are currently in progress:


a DVD, containing the movie in an higher definition format than the one available via Internet streaming. It will contain some extras, i.e. a few sketches from the original story-board, extra information about the authors, a "making of" section, and much more. The DVD is a further step into the educational project and its main target is to present and analyze a multimedia project case study.
a Video Game, where Dip is asked to play an adventure in the Information Technology world.
The player is invited to explore Dip's world to find references allowing him/her to solve different problems.

a MHP (Multimedia Home Platform) application, incorporating Dip's movie, is being developed. The project focuses on an experimental and interactive direct access lecture

Happy e-learning to all!


©2003, Università degli Studi di Torino, Tutti i diritti riservati.