Southeastern Section - 54th Annual Meeting (March 17–18, 2005)

Paper No. 9
Presentation Time: 3:40 PM


BRANDE, Scott, Natural Sciences & Mathematics, UAB, CHM-289, Birmingham, AL 35294,

Personal computers and computer networks have transformed traditional geoscience classroom lectures from chalkboard text and diagrams, and carousels of 35 mm slides, to PowerPoint presentations that incorporate web content, digital images, animations and video media. Lecture presentations may be built from publisher-supplied content keyed to the textbook, web content, or legacy media such as scanned 35 mm slides.

The traditional use of images in the geoscience lecture is to show students particular features, e.g. outcrops, landscapes, minerals. The quality and suitability for projection of important details within such images, such as cross-bedding or single mineral grains depends in part upon the quality of photographic composition, macro (or other close-up) lenses, and film (or digital camera) resolution.

Pan-and-zoom effects, perhaps popularized first by Ken Burns, creates movement from still digital images. I have experimented with Imagemat!cs StillMotion Creator (IMSC), an inexpensive software program that is built to create ShockWave Flash (SWF) files from pan, zoom, and rotate operations on still digital images ( IMSC can load digital images as large as 8,000 by 8,000 pixels from a variety of image formats (e.g. JPG, BMP).

In the geoscience lecture, discussion frequently requires an attention to details of larger frames. For example, an image of a sedimentary rock outcrop may show the overall exposure of bedded strata, visible at a distance of some yards. Follow-up discussion may focus on smaller features, such as cross-bedding. In a traditional presentation, the instructor would show one static slide of the outcrop, and then show a close up of the detail.

With IMSC, a movie can be created to pan across the outcrop, and then zoom into a portion of it for focusing on its details. Alternatively, a movie can be made from a close up image to pan and zoom to the particular area of interest.

Benefits of using pan-and-zoom software, like IMSC, include 1) the ability to capture student attention with moving, rather than static, images, 2) the ability to zoom that portion of the static image to emphasize specific features upon which student attention should be concentrated, and 3) the incorporation of animation files directly into PowerPoint presentations.