Northeastern Section–41st Annual Meeting (20–22 March 2006)

Paper No. 10
Presentation Time: 8:00 AM-12:00 PM


SCHROEDER, Timothy J.1, HYATT, James A.1, DRZEWIECKI, Peter A.1, CORON, Cynthia R.2 and FLEMING, Thomas H.2, (1)Environmental Earth Science Department, Eastern Connecticut State Univ, 83 Windham Street, Willimantic, CT 06226, (2)Earth Sciences, Southern Connecticut State Univ, 501 Crescent Street, New Haven, CT 06515,

This poster reports on the development and use of a collection of multimedia learning resources, referred to as “Learning Tools in Earth Science” (LTES, ). This web site integrates field and laboratory activities in ways that are suitable for use with high school through undergraduate students. The primary modules for LTES include interactive mineral and rock identification tools, and virtual reality- and digital video-enhanced virtual field sites (VFS). Our poster emphasizes three new aspects of LTES. First, we demonstrate and describe a virtual petrographic microscope that allows users to manipulate images to simulate stage rotation in both plane- and cross-polarized light. Although petrographic analysis is more commonly introduced in sophomore university classes, our resource includes video explanations and links that allow students without prior experience to understand the relationship between thin sections, hand samples and field-based geologic problems. Second, the VFS module includes new content that integrates lake sedimentation and field-based geomorphology with virtual reality elements from several field sties. In particular, this poster emphasizes field work at an artificial lake (Andover Lake), and a local forest-wetland complex (ECSU Arboretum). Video and virtual reality content from Andover lake includes virtual walks, panoramic spins, and streaming video explanations related to the analysis of lakes sediments. This VFS is unique because it makes use of multimedia depicting conditions in the lake both at normal water levels, and at times when significant parts of the lake bed have been exposed by artificial lowering of lake level. The ECSU arboretum VFS includes multi-season virtual walks that allow users to traverse streams, paths, and sections of the forest floor simultaneously in two or more seasons. Geomorphological content focuses on the effects of land use, erosion, and sedimentation at the site. Finally, we report on initial efforts to build Spanish language versions of some of the LTES site. In general, both evaluations of the LTES site by high school teachers and assessments of LTES-based homework assignments in freshman geology classes have been positive.