EARTHLAB: A TELEVISUALIZATION ENVIRONMENT FOR LEARNING THROUGH COOPERATIVE PROBLEM SOLVING IN EARTH EDUCATION

Period of Performance: 01/01/1993 - 12/31/1993

$75K

Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Ross Computational Resources
222 North Midvale Blvd.,, Suite 4
Madison, WI 53705
Principal Investigator

Abstract

THIS PROJECT DEALS WITH THE CREATION OF "EARTHLAB", A MODEL-BASED VISUALLY RICH INTERACTIVE LEARNING ENVIRONMENT FOR EARTH SCIENCE EDUCATION. IT IS BUILT ON A SYSTEM ARCHITECTURE DESIGNED TO SUPPORT INTERNETWORKING THAT WOULD FACILITATE AN INTEGRATED CURRICULUM, PROBLEM SOLVING, AND CROSS-DISCIPLINARY APPLICATION OF KNOWLEDGE AND SKILLS, EARTHLAB WOULD ENCOURAGE A JOINT EFFORT BY BOTH STUDENTS AND TEACHERS LEADING TO INCREASED UNDERSTANDING OF CONCEPTS AND ISSUES, PROCEDURAL COMPETENCE, AND ENTHUSIASM FOR SCIENCE. THIS EFFORT COULD ENRICH LEARNING ENVIRONMENTS FOR ALL STUDENTS BY PROVIDING VALUABLE SUPPORT FOR INNOVATIVE APPROACHES TO SCIENCE EDUCATION WHILE ATTEMPTING TO REMOVE BARRIERS TO LEARNING INCLUDING THOSE EXPERIENCED BY MINORITY STUDENTS, FEMALE STUDENTS, AND STUDENTS WITH DIFFERENT LEARNING NEEDS. AN ADVISORY GROUP OF DEDICATED EDUCATORS REPRESENTING BOTH UNIVERSITY EDUCATIONAL RESEARCH AND K TO 12 TEACHING BACKGROUNDS WILL BE CLOSLEY INVOLVED IN THE PHASE I RESEARCH. A BOOK-LENGTH DOCUMENT DESCRIBING SPECIFIC OBJECTIVES FOR LEARNER BEHAVIOR WILL BE DEVELOPED AS WILL THE FUNCTIONAL REQUIREMENTS FOR EDUCATIONAL SOFTWARE ENVIRONMENTS TO FACILITATE THESE BEHAVIORS, AND THE DESIGN OF AN EARTHLAB THAT WOULD MEET THOSE REQUIREMENTS. A LIMITED VERSION TO BE SET UP AT SEVERAL LOCATIONS ACCESSIBLE TO TEACHERS AND STUDENTS (INCLUDING THOSE WITH DISABILITIES) WILL BE IMPLEMENTED FOR THEIR EXPERIMENTATION AND EVALUATION. THE EMPHASIS IN THIS PILOT PROJECT WILL BE ON THE USE OF METOEOROLOGICAL CASE STUDY AND REAL-TIME WEATHER DATA TO SHOWCASE AN ENVIRONMENT SUPPORTING THE VISUAL INVESTIGATION OF ASPECTS OF CLIMATE THAT RELATE TO PHENOMENA FROM ALL AREAS OF EARTH SCIENCE, WHICH IN FACT HAVE LINKS TO OTHER AREAS OF SCIENCE AND MATHEMATICS AS WELL, AND TO DEMONSTRATE THE POWER OF SUCH AN INTERACTIVE AND INTEGRATED ENVIRONMENT TO INVOLVE STUDENTS AND TEACHERS IN THE JOY OF SCIENTIFIC EXPLORATION.