Paper No. 1
Presentation Time: 1:00 PM


BRUCE, Geoffrey1, SEMKEN, Steven1, ANBAR, Ariel D.2, KARLSTROM, Karl E.3 and CROSSEY, Laura J.4, (1)School of Earth and Space Exploration, Arizona State University, PO Box 871404, Tempe, AZ 85287-1404, (2)School of Earth and Space Exploration and Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ 85287-1404, (3)Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM 87131, (4)Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM 87131-0001,

The emerging landscape of digital Virtual Field Trip (VFT) technology enables geoscience teachers to take whole classrooms into geologically significant but remote or inaccessible regions, overcoming obstacles of distance, hazards, cost, time, and logistics. Integrating VFTs into cyberlearning environments affords students an infrastructure that enables them to do authentic field science in the classroom. Using advanced hardware and software tools such as robotic Gigapan systems, cameras with advanced spherical tripod heads, unmanned aerial vehicles, seamless 360-degree digital video, and unique software for online dissemination mechanisms, students are presented with engaging and rich educational experiences. A key objective of ongoing research, development, and authentic evaluation of VFTs is to deliver geoscience content to diverse audiences, including STEM teachers, informal educators, and students across multiple grade levels.

We selected and are using the entire length of Grand Canyon as a locality for VFT development and research because it is a world-renowned geological landscape encoding Earth-system processes from the Paleoproterozoic to the Holocene; because its rocks, landforms, and processes can be used to teach about geologic time, stratigraphy, tectonics, and Earth and life history; because it is ubiquitous in curricula and textbooks (so the VFT will be broadly applicable); and because Grand Canyon-based learning outcomes can be readily aligned with the Next Generation Science Standards and the Earth Science Literacy Principles. In tandem with developing and implementing the VFT, we are researching the comparative outcomes of in-person and virtual field activities on learning and on novelty space.

The recent media-enhanced controversy over the age of Grand Canyon has accrued considerable public interest. However, it is difficult for the general public—and even many geoscientists—to comprehend and weigh opposing arguments without experiencing Grand Canyon geology from rim to river. The Grand Canyon VFT offers this tantalizing opportunity, and thus contributes to Grand Canyon scientific literacy in particular and Earth science literacy in general.