Paper No. 1
Presentation Time: 1:35 PM
VIRTUAL TOURS OF THE GRAND STAIRCASE REGION OF SOUTHERN UTAH AND NORTHERN ARIZONA: USE OF VISUAL GEOLOGIC INSTRUCTIONAL MATERIAL IN UNDERGRADUATE EDUCATION
Geology is a discipline that relies heavily on visual aids to help explain, illustrate, and reinforce geologic concepts in undergraduate education. Although I use traditional still photographic images in classroom lectures, viewing a slide often does not give a full appreciation for the geology of the surrounding area. I frequently field questions from students about what they would see to the left or right in a picture, or even what is to the rear. This is where a virtual video tour of the geology solves this problem. Simple digital video allows 360 degree panning to view a full panorama of a site. Video images leave a lasting impression and understanding about present and past events. The main purpose of this project was to develop unique classroom visual aids of geologic processes and history that enhances and promotes teaching excellence in undergraduate geology courses, especially the Geology of the National Parks of North America course. Within national parks, and other public lands, examples abound of interesting geologic features of great scenic and scientific quality. Digital videos of geologic sites within the National Park, National Forest, and Bureau of Land Management lands in the Grand Staircase region of southern Utah and northern Arizona were developed to enhance the effectiveness of the classroom experience and to improve student attentiveness and interaction. The Grand Staircase region was selected because of its unique geology that attracts millions of visitors each year. The Grand Staircase is a series of enormous geological "steps" that climbs up from the floor of the Grand Canyon in Arizona, over the Kaibab Plateau into southern Utah, through Zion National Park, up again through Bryce Canyon, and finally reaching the 11,311-foot summit of Brian Head Mountain. As it rises up through successive layers of rock strata, one witnesses over two billon years of geologic history. Panoramic videos, with detailed still pictures embedded, allow students to visualize how geology played a major role in the creation of landscapes preserved in our public lands. These video tours of the Grand Staircase region provide visual learning tools designed to help students develop scientific observational skills and improve their ability in understanding natural geologic processes and geologic history.