EARTH@HOME: A NEW OPEN ACCESS WEBSITE TO HELP GEOSCIENCE EDUCATORS AND THEIR STUDENTS LEARN ABOUT THE EARTH WHERE THEY LIVE
Earth@Home has several major components, all under active construction. First, “Here on Earth” delivers information about multiple aspects of geoscience at the scale of regions and subregional physiographic provinces. Information about geologic history, modern climates, and Earth hazards will be provided at the regional scale (e.g., geologic history of the southeastern U.S.), while information about rocks, fossils, topography, and energy resources will be presented for over 30 individual physiographic regions (e.g., fossils of the Coastal Plain of the southeastern U.S.). Most of this content is being redeveloped and updated from PRI’s existing “Teacher-Friendly Guides [TFGs] to Earth Science” book series. Second, the “Digital Encyclopedia of Earth Science” will feature detailed yet accessible introductions to most aspects of Earth science to better prepare high school teachers to teach about diverse topics across the geosciences, as well as to aid college students in their studies. Third, the “Virtual Science” component of Earth@Home is a tool kit of online learning resources and includes Virtual Fieldwork Experiences, Virtual Labs, and Virtual Collections of 3D specimens created using photogrammetry. Finally, Earth@Home includes a “Frequently Asked Questions” section that provides answers to common Earth science questions, as well as quick overviews of Earth science topics. Examples of all these types of pages are online now. Nearly all Earth@Home content will receive Creative Commons licensing to facilitate its usage by educators.
By reaching a broad audience of thousands of high school teachers and students, we anticipate that Earth@Home will result in an increase the number of students, including students from underrepresented groups, who enter college programs intending to major in the geosciences. We also anticipate that Earth@Home will be of interest to college students taking their first geoscience courses, as well as other members of the public.