GSA Annual Meeting in Phoenix, Arizona, USA - 2019

Paper No. 190-7
Presentation Time: 9:00 AM-6:30 PM


AMITAI, Wren1, NEITZKE ADAMO, Lauren1, IRIZARRY-BARRETO, Patricia2 and CRISCIONE, Julia1, (1)Rutgers University Geology Museum, Rutgers University, Geology Hall, 85 Somerset Street, New Brunswick, NJ 08901, (2)Rutgers University, Rutgers Science Explorer Bus & Geology Museum, Allison Road Classroom Building, 618 Allison Road, Piscataway, NJ 08854

Mobile applications as learning tools promote pedagogical change when explicitly designed to provide content via an experiential and interactive process (Cochrane, 2013; O’Shea and Elliot, 2016). Furthermore, mobile application-based learning lends itself naturally to active learning, as each student learns in their particular context and thus engages in higher-level learning (Ally and Prieto-Blázquez, 2014). Previous research has also shown that the inclusion of mobile applications in geoscience coursework was reported by students to better facilitate learning (Marcal et al., 2014). While the effectiveness of mobile applications as a learning tool has been studied extensively in a formal classroom setting, this project intends to expand on current research efforts to test the effectiveness of applications in an informal educational setting. More specifically, this project aims to improve upon a geoscience education activity previously conducted at the Rutgers Geology Museum by adapting it to a mobile app with the goal of promoting understanding of geologic time, animal adaptations, and climate change in elementary school students. The initial decision to create an application for this activity was also a product of feedback from museum attendees who believed the content would be more engaging when delivered in the form of a mobile application.

The application is an iOS mobile application built using Xcode 10 and Swift. When the app is opened, students will first examine virtual reconstructions of both the ice age and the current environment, as well as learn about the ice age through short, text-based, pop-up messages. Then, each student will create their own animal, choosing from a variety of body sizes and adaptations such as fur, beaks, or antlers. Based on the animals the students create, the app will display scores representing how well their animals would fare both during the ice age and in today’s climate, as well as give explanations describing the utility of their chosen adaptations in each climate. As a result, students will use inductive reasoning techniques to draw connections between animal adaptations and chances of survival in varying environments. This activity is aligned with the Next Generation Science Standards and materials are available upon request.