Interactive, Web-Based Geoscience Education Resources
Steve Whitmeyer, James Madison University
Declan De Paor, Old Dominion University
Callan Bentley, Northern Virginia Community College
Show Abstract »
The geosciences are highly visual, and benefit greatly from computer visualizations, but also stress hands-on and tactile student experiences. Digital methodologies are recent additions to a toolkit of skills built upon analogue field and laboratory methods. Thus, geoscientists often face challenges with making the transition to technology-based teaching. In contrast, today's students are digital natives. They tend to approach learning differently because the use of digital devices has changed students' ways of thinking and learning. The GEODE (.net) project is developing digital geology resources to enhance geoscience education. These include virtual field experiences (VFEs), such as an interactive visualization of the breakup of the Pangaea supercontinent (geode.net/pangaea/) and GigaPan-based VFEs (geode.net/resources/gigapan/). We offer web-based challenges, such as EarthQuiz (.net) and the Fold Analysis Challenge (geode.net/fac/). EarthQuiz features web-hosted imagery, such as Street View, Photo Spheres, GigaPans, and Satellite View, as the basis for multiple-choice and geo-location questions. These questions can be grouped in themes relevant to geoscience courses. In the Fold Analysis Challenge, upper-level geology students fit planes to flatirons from Sheep Mountain, WY. After several are measured, students fit a fold axis and axial plane to the structure. Then they use bézier curves to fit a doubly-plunging fold structure to the virtual outcrop. We will demonstrate our web-based educational resources and hopefully encourage audience members to experiment and provide feedback. The GEODE research team is: Heather Almquist, Stephen Burgen, Cinzia Cervato, Gene Cooper, Paul Karabinos, Terry Pavlis, Jen Piatek, Bill Richards, Jeff Ryan, Ron Schott, Kristen St. John, Barb Tewksbury, and associated students. We are supported by NSF DUE 1323468 and Google Geo Curriculum Awards.