2009 Portland GSA Annual Meeting (18-21 October 2009)
Paper No. 192-4
Presentation Time: 9:00 AM-6:00 PM

GOOGLE EARTH EXERCISES IN INTRODUCTORY GEOSCIENCE LABORATORIES

NUNN, Jeffrey A., Geology and Geophysics, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA 70803, gljeff@lsu.edu

As part of a HP Technology for Teaching grant, Google Earth based exercises were developed and tested in two freshman laboratory courses at Louisiana State University. The two introductory laboratories serve approximately 750 students per academic year including both majors and non-majors. Limited enrollments and 3 hour labs make it possible to incorporate hands-on visualization, manipulation of data and images, and access to geological data available online. Goals of the course redesigns include: strengthening student’s ability to acquire, manage, and interpret multifaceted geological information; fostering critical thinking, the scientific method, and earth-system science/perspective. IT resources available in the laboratory from the HP Technology for Teaching grant include twenty tablet PCs and associated peripherals.

The plate tectonics exercise asks students to identify plate boundaries using topography/bathymetry and earthquake focal depths. Topography/bathymetry data are from the National Geodetic Survey. Earthquake focal depth information is from the USGS. Students are also asked to draw cross-sections across trenches by taking data from Google Earth and importing it into MS OneNote. The earthquake epicenter exercise asks students to locate an earthquake epicenter within Google Earth using data from four seismographs. Three component seismic records from the seismographs are placed in Google Earth. Students take the records, cut and paste them into MS OneNote and determine the arrival times of P- and S-waves. Arrival time information is then converted into distance from the epicenter. A KML application takes distance from epicenter and latitude and longitude of the seismograph and plots a circle in Google Earth. Tutorials for Google Earth and MS OneNote are provided as part of the laboratory exercise.

Pre-tests and Post-tests have been used to assess the effectiveness of the exercises. Test results indicate that they are effective learning tools. However, there is considerable variance between laboratory sections which may be due to different laboratory teaching assistants or difference background of students within sections. Students also indicated a preference for using technology in the classroom.

2009 Portland GSA Annual Meeting (18-21 October 2009)
General Information for this Meeting
Session No. 192--Booth# 362
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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