2009 Portland GSA Annual Meeting (18-21 October 2009)
Paper No. 192-1
Presentation Time: 9:00 AM-6:00 PM

DEVELOPMENT OF INTERACTIVE VIRTUAL FIELD TRIPS FOR THE GEOSCIENCES

LEA, Peter D., Department of Earth & Oceanographic Science, Bowdoin College, 6800 College Station, Brunswick, ME 04011, plea@bowdoin.edu, CURRIER, Andrew, Information Technology, Bowdoin College, 9600 College Station, Brunswick, ME 04011, and WILLEY, Danielle, Geology Department, Bowdoin College, 6800 College Station, Brunswick, ME 04011

Geospatially tagged digital images are becoming increasingly easy to create or to find on the internet, providing powerful opportunities for students to learn via “virtual field trips” that can extend live field experiences. To date, however, the geoscience education community has not fully harnessed their potential for increasing student learning, rarely going beyond static images with expository captions. We address this concern through the development of interactive virtual field trips (IVFTs) that incorporate features of well-designed real trips: an inquiry focus, interactive navigation, and ability to take and share field notes.

Source data for the IVFTs include digital images that are geotagged, by a separate or integrated GPS track-logger, with latitude, longitude and bearing. Images overlap and range in scale from landscape overviews to feature close-ups. Uploading and processing of images and metadata is automated per hardware capabilities, with the capacity to edit manually if needed. The graphical user interface for IVFTs includes an open-source photo album with 3-D transitions, a Google Maps locator, and a panel for entry and geo-location of field notes. Students can navigate the trip interactively, constrained only by the links/transitions among the various images, and take field notes that underpin their discussion and trip write-up. Our prototype trip—a modification of a live version—involves a learning-cycle exercise on the distribution of bedforms along a Maine tidal inlet and their relationship to formative flows.

Our design principles for IVFTs seek (1) to put the ability to create such trips readily in the hands of a broad audience of geoscience educators and students, creating a growing common resource, and (2) to allow flexibility in trip design, including different levels of scaffolding for students of varied backgrounds. IVFTs afford great potential not only to improve student learning, but also to provide insights into how such learning occurs in complex settings, which can be reincorporated into pedagogical design. Of particular interest is design for the novice-expert continuum, including differing modes of navigation and tradeoffs between “cognitive chunking” afforded by discrete images versus seamless panoramas.

2009 Portland GSA Annual Meeting (18-21 October 2009)
General Information for this Meeting
Session No. 192--Booth# 359
From Virtual Globes to Geoblogs: Digital Innovations in Geoscience Research, Education, and Outreach (Posters)
Oregon Convention Center: Hall A
9:00 AM-6:00 PM, Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs, Vol. 41, No. 7, p. 499

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