2009 Portland GSA Annual Meeting (18-21 October 2009)
Paper No. 144-10
Presentation Time: 4:00 PM-4:15 PM

STUDENT CONSTRUCTION OF VIRTUAL FIELD ENVIRONMENTS AS PROJECT BASED LEARNING AND A VENUE FOR GEOCOGNITIVE RESEARCH

GRANSHAW, Frank D., 1) Physical Science / 2) Geology, 1) Portland Community College / 2) Portland State University, Portland, OR 97219, fgransha@pcc.edu, CADY, Sherry L., Department of Geology, Portland State University, 1721 SW Broadway, 17CH, Portland, OR 97201, and HUGO, Richard C., Department of Geology, Portland State University, PO Box 751, Portland, OR 97201

Desktop virtual reality and geospatial viewers add a simulated field component to many middle, high school, and college geoscience classrooms. They are also used to prepare students for field experience and to analyze field data. While much attention has been given to their use in geoscience education, there has been little discussion about how student construction of these tools can encourage and enhance field-based education. This presentation describes two experiments conducted in field courses with undergraduate and graduate students. In both instances students and their instructors designed and constructed virtual field environments (VFEs ) based on visited field sites. Though the VFEs are intended to be orientation tools for future field courses, some of the current students (practicing K-12 teachers) showed strong interest in using the environments for standalone use in their own classrooms. Preliminary results from these experiments indicate that VFE construction is a strong motivator for many students, provides a meaningful context for learning specific field skills, and requires students to work in teams and coordinate with other teams to produce a product. This product (a student created VFE) provides a temporal "snapshot" of field sites, a record of student field experience, a mechanism for post-field review, and a means of orienting future students to field sites. The experimental results also indicate that VFE construction projects can be used to investigate differences in expert and novice data gathering and problem solving in field situations. While there remain technical challenges that instructors and students must confront in construction, the construction process can provide significant insight into inquiry and project based learning in the field.

2009 Portland GSA Annual Meeting (18-21 October 2009)
General Information for this Meeting
Session No. 144
From Virtual Globes to Geoblogs: Digital Innovations in Geoscience Research, Education, and Outreach
Oregon Convention Center: B117/118/119
1:30 PM-5:30 PM, Monday, 19 October 2009

Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs, Vol. 41, No. 7, p. 385

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