A VIRTUAL BOULDER FIELD INSIDE THE CLASSROOM - THE INTERACTIVE ROCK GARDEN AT APPALACHIAN STATE UNIVERSITY
The Interactive Rock Garden (www.geology.appstate.edu/rockgarden) augments these physical exhibits with a more in-depth view of the various specimens, integrating images of not only the whole rock but also magnified and microscopic views, timelines, tectonic settings, rock cycle originations, analytical data, locality maps, and economic impacts. These are accessible using distinctive icons on “buttons” for each rock in a clear and informative fashion intended to be language-independent as an aid in educating students by providing additional visual information of the material.
With the aid of the Interactive Rock Garden, students are exposed to not just the basics of geology, but also the connections between different aspects of their environment. K-12 teachers can take their students on a virtual field trip to the garden without leaving the classroom; aiding those with limited hand samples or travel opportunities. It is also designed to serve as an active and engaging source of education for both those unable to visit the garden in person and visiting guests. With Wi-Fi readily available, visitors of the rock garden have access to the information without the clutter of extensive signage.