Live Interrogation and Visualization of Earth Systems (LIVES)
HP Technology is being used in the redesign of three laboratory courses. Goals of the redesign include: Visualization of Earth Processes and History; Enhance student’s ability to manage and interpret data; Foster critical thinking; Improve student communication skills; and Enhance the quantity, quality, and diversity of students pursuing Earth Science careers.
- Number of Students impacted to date: 1179
- Number of Faculty involved: 2
- Cohort (year that HP announced you had been selected for this grant): 2007
- Keywords: Geology, Geophysics, Google Earth, MS OneNote, Camtasia, Visualization
- Communication Skills, Critical Thinking
Project Abstract and Goals
HP Technology has been used in the redesign of three laboratory courses. Goals of the redesign include: Visualization of Earth Processes and History; Enhance student’s ability to manage and interpret data; Foster critical thinking; Improve student communication skills; and Enhance the quantity, quality, and diversity of students pursuing Earth Science careers. HP Technology and/or software/methodology promoted through their Technology for Teaching Program also has been used by individual faculty in communication intensives courses including: Honors Physical Geology, Human Response to Disasters, and Physical Hydrogeology.
Jeffrey A. Nunn
Impact on Student Learning
Past – Final exam performance has been disappointing. Average scores are between 50-60% indicating poor retention or lack of understanding. Instructor evaluations are positive but a common complaint is that geology is boring or that they will not use what they learned.
Today - Students like to use technology in learning and are comfortable with it. More than 50% had some prior experience with Google Earth. A Pre-test was developed and used for 3 semesters to provide a baseline of geoscience knowledge and to determine common misconceptions. Post-test results show a significant improvement over Pre-test knowledge (see Figure 1 below).
Future - We will focus on improvement in visualization skills, understanding of basic concepts, and appreciation of relevance of geoscience to everyday life. Exit survey will determine which lessons were most/least useful and interest level of students. We will track basic statistics about number and diversity of students impacted and how many students pursue a B.S. degree in geoscience or related fields.
Impact on Teaching
Laboratories have been taught using colored pencils and static illustrations provided in manuals. HP technology allows us to develop dynamic exercises using real data (see example below in Figure 2) and emphasizing concept sketches and Earth system science. Lessons plans are shared through the HP wiki and http://serc.carleton.edu. Our goal is an online laboratory experience that motivates students to explore outside of class. Google Earth is becoming a significant pedagogical tool in geoscience with exercises being developed by textbook publishers and instructors at multiple institutions. HP Technology allows us to fully utilize these resources on a large scale (almost 1200 students so far). HP technology has also allowed us to experiment with teaching small communication intensive classes that utilize relatively new modes of communication such as posters and stand alone power point presentations using software such as Camtasia.
Laboratory exercises are developed using XML, Google Earth, MS OneNote, and CMap Tools (see earthquake example above). Google Earth allows students to access, manipulate, and visualize geoscience data. OneNote and CMap Tools provide annotation and drawing tools that help students jump from “seeing” to “understanding” using the concept sketch pedagogy. Numerical simulation software developed by others has also been used.
http://serc.carleton.edu – Google Earth exercises developed as part of the LIVES program as well as other workers and a wide variety of other resources for teaching geoscience.