Eye Tracking, Pupillometry, and Hand Biosensors in Geoscience Education Research: Current trends, Applications, and Future Directions

Monday 2:15pm REC Center Medium Ice Overlook Room
Oral Presentation Part of Geoscience Education Research I


karen mcneal, Auburn University Main Campus
Ritayan Mitra, North Carolina State University
Sarah Luginbuhl, North Carolina State University
Rachel Atkins, North Carolina State University
The field of Geoscience Education Research (GER) has been richly enhanced by methods traditionally used in the learning sciences, psychology, and science education. Specifically, the use of eye-tracking, pupillometry, and hand biosensors have recently afforded geoscience education researchers the opportunity to study people's physiological responses while engaging with multiple representations and/or activities in the geosciences. Eye-tracking is the process of measuring eye-position and movements defined by parameters such as gaze paths, fixation time and duration. Pupillometry is a related technique that measures eye-dilation and it can be utilized to determine the cognitive loading of viewers. These applications are often utilized for expert/novice comparisons, A/B comparisons, and/or usability studies. Hand biosensors or galvanic skin response measures skin conductance of the wearer that is related to emotional engagement in a given task. In this presentation we will provide general information on each of the highlighted applications, describe the type of studies that are appropriate for these tools, and include a case study for each technique as it relates to important research questions in GER. We will show how: 1) pupillometry was applied, for the first time, to understand cognitive load in novices during graph reading tasks, 2) eye-tracking was applied to understand how pre-service teachers navigate graphs about climate change and how they compare to experts, and 3) hand biosensors were applied to measure the engagement of undergraduate students during a variety of classroom teaching approaches. We will also discuss the outcomes of our work as well as the limitations and the advantages of each approach and provide recommendations for future research activities using these tools in GER.

Presentation Media

McNeal_GazePlot_Video ( 29.3MB Jul11 15)