GSA Annual Meeting in Phoenix, Arizona, USA - 2019

Paper No. 52-6
Presentation Time: 2:05 PM


KLIPPEL, Alexander1, WALLGRUEN, Jan Oliver1, ZHAO, Jiayan1, CHANG, Jack1, LAFEMINA, Peter2, SAJJADI, Pejman1 and OPREAN, Danielle3, (1)Geography, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA 16802, (2)Department of Geosciences, Penn State University, University Park, PA 16802, (3)Information Science and Learning, University of Missouri, Columbia, MO 65211

Immersive technologies such as augmented and virtual reality are transforming education. Place-based education, central to the geosciences, is in a particularly noteworthy situation as immersive technologies offer a virtual experience of key elements such as place, scale, presence, embodiment, and agency. We designed a research framework that combines these key elements with broader aspects of immersive virtual field trips addressing technical constraints such as the availability of sensors for tailored experiences and organizing iVFTs into a basic taxonomy distinguishing between basic, plus, and advanced iVFTs. More importantly, we use this framework as a road-map for guiding empirical evaluations of iVFTs and to ultimately develop a scientific basis for place-based learning supported through immersive technologies. To advance the science of iVFTs, we are combining basic research with applied, classroom-based evaluations. The theoretical framework is complemented by an evolving, comprehensive set of assessment methods that combine both qualitative and quantitative, established and tailored instruments that allow for drawing a detailed picture of how students’ geoscience learning and education can be supported through immersive experiences and which aspects of immersive technologies are essential.

In this presentation, we will lay out the foundations of our framework, discuss the results of continuous empirical evaluations that started in 2017, and will share our vision for future designs and evaluations of iVFTs. Overall, we are able to demonstrate that students are engaging with new technologies and value their experiences. We are additionally pointing out challenges and shortfalls of immersive technologies, some of which will be addressed within the next couple of years, others might remain as best experienced in physical reality.