Expanding Pathways to Geoscience: Equity-Focused Virtual Field Experiences for Indigenous Student Success in Earth Sciences

Friday 3:00pm-4:00pm SERC Building - Atrium | Poster #24
Poster Session Part of Friday Poster Session


Eric Chaides, Arizona State University at the Tempe Campus
Darryl Reano, Arizona State University at the Tempe Campus
Ryssa Keeto, Arizona State University at the Tempe Campus
Kush Tandon, Arizona State University at the Tempe Campus

Utilizing Infiniscope's browser-based platform, Tour It and a Theta 360 degree camera, we are creating virtual field experiences (VFEs) that integrate place-based learning tools and equity frameworks, such as socioTransformative constructivism (sTc), to enhance diversity efforts in the Earth sciences. These VFEs aim to create opportunities for students early on in their earth science degree program to obtain foundational competencies in earth science knowledge by creating accessible and culturally relevant educational media, which will support the development of a strong geoscience identity for all students. Diverse, non-traditional students may have difficulties attending field camps due to life circumstances, mobility limitations, and discordance with the prevailing set of values within their field of study and their home community's cultural values.

Preliminary, in-person field trips were used to define the VFE's geologic instructional objectives, which resulted in an emphasis on the exploration of environments alongside diverse groups of people using dialogic conversation and authentic activities, two components of the sTc framework that was used to design the in-person experiences as well as the VFEs. In addition, geoethics was found to be important for several participants.

Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) is a sophisticated way of knowing and understanding the Earth. The field sites for this project are located near the Traditional Homelands of the Acoma, Zuni, O'odham Peoples, and Ute Peoples. Our project, guided by Indigenous community members and highly-trained physical scientists, aims to showcase the interconnectedness of natural environments with the people, plants, and animals that live within Earth's landscapes. Doing so responsibly and ethically requires using the CARE principles of Indigenous Data Sovereignty (IDsov) to protect the data belonging to Indigenous communities. With further development, we aim to collect feedback on how inclusively-designed VFEs are experienced by students with the intention to further refine the VFEs.