2014 GSA Annual Meeting in Vancouver, British Columbia (19–22 October 2014)

Paper No. 28-7
Presentation Time: 10:30 AM


BRUCE, Geoffrey, School of Earth and Space Exploration, Arizona State University, PO Box 871404, Tempe, AZ 85287-1404, SEMKEN, Steven, School of Earth and Space Exploration and Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability, Arizona State University, PO Box 871404, Tempe, AZ 85287-1404, ANBAR, Ariel D., School of Earth and Space Exploration and Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ 85287-1404, KARLSTROM, Karl E., Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM 87131 and CROSSEY, Laura J., Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM 87131-0001, semken@asu.edu

Innovations in hardware make it increasingly easier to capture high-resolution spherical, panoramic, and close-up images and videos, and sounds, in remote and physically challenging regions. Comparably advanced software enables processing of these data into seamless, dynamic, immersive, interactive, content-rich, and learner-driven virtual field explorations that surpass conventional online exercises using mostly static imagery. Such explorations, which we have termed immersive virtual field trips (iVFTs), can be integrated into cyberlearning environments that allow geoscience teachers to take students to geologically important but inaccessible landscapes and environments, and empower students to conduct authentic scientific research in these places. Our team and collaborators are producing an extensive series of freely accessible, online, globe-spanning iVFTs for teaching geology, astrobiology, ecology, and anthropology.

We have produced an iVFT for Grand Canyon that integrates content and narration we obtained during a scientific river expedition through the greater Grand Canyon system, from rim-based observations, and from other interpretive resources such as the Trail of Time and Google Maps. This iVFT is a uniquely rich and flexible pedagogical resource that affords access to a world-renowned geological landscape that encodes Earth-system processes from the Paleoproterozoic to the Holocene. It can be used to teach broadly about geologic time, stratigraphy, tectonics, volcanism, and Earth and life history; and specifically about the geological evolution of the American Cordillera. Learning tasks and goals under development will align with the Earth Science Literacy Principles and Next Generation Science Standards.

We are beta-testing the Grand Canyon iVFT in several large-enrollment introductory geology courses at ASU (both online and F2F) to assess its usability and effectiveness in meeting specific learning objectives. Our team is also using the iVFT in a study of comparative outcomes of virtual and in-person geological field activities on learning and on novelty space. We invite geoscience educators to partake of this resource and find new applications to their own teaching.