Session: Network Connections: Deepening and Expanding Access to Virtual Field Experiences
Evolving concepts in virtual field trips: New capabilities and democratizing VFT creation
Thursday, August 5, 2021
Link To Share This Presentation: https://cdmcd.co/93YGWm
Chris Mead, Thomas J. Ruberto, Geoffrey Bruce, Steven Semken and Ariel Anbar, Center for Education Through Exploration and School of Earth and Space Exploration, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ, Rimjhim Aggarwal, School of Sustainability, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ, Ariel Anbar, School of Molecular Sciences, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ
Center for Education Through Exploration and School of Earth and Space Exploration, Arizona State University Tempe, AZ, USA
Background/Question/Methods Virtual field trips (VFT) offer numerous inherent affordances for education in fields such as environmental science, geology, and sustainability. The accessibility of VFTs makes it possible to conduct field or place-based learning far more often than physical trips would permit. Our presentation will describe two current projects working to increase the impact and accessibility of VFTs. The first advances the cutting edge of immersive, interactive VFTs (“iVFTs”), while the second aims to democratize access to the tools and training necessary to create simplified VFTs.
We previously described the effectiveness of iVFTs (Mead et al., 2019; Ruberto, 2018). These sophisticated experiences incorporate two important learning design strategies: they promote active learning using interactivity and they enable guided inquiry learning with adaptive feedback. Surviving Extinction is a new iVFT that teaches concepts of vertebrate evolution. It extends prior work through novel interactivity; the use of game-like design elements such as collectibles and discoverable locations; and unique blending of scientifically accurate animation and captured media. We predict that these changes will make the lesson engaging and effective for a wide range of learners. We are employing pre-/post-lesson testing and learning analytics in our evaluation.
Even in their simplest form, VFTs are effective in conveying sense of place. Therefore, we have worked to bring the essential elements necessary to produce simple VFTs within reach of teachers and students. Through workshops for students and professional educators, we have taught the learning design, media, and other technical skills that go into VFT creation. Our experiences with these workshops informed our new web-based VFT creation tool, currently in pilot testing. For each of these trainings, we evaluate success based on completion and quality of created VFTs as well as participant feedback. Results/Conclusions Preliminary testing of Surviving Extinction in a pre-high school summer program (n = 28) found significant content learning and very positive affective feedback. In response to these data, we made several changes to the iVFT and revised the assessment instrument. A second round of testing with high school and undergraduate students is in progress.
The VFT creation trainings have been very successful, resulting in 13 completed VFTs. Teachers reported particularly strong benefits from their workshop, including interest in incorporating VFT creation into their curricula. We will also present user feedback from our new VFT creation tool, which we expect will lead to continued and wider adoption of this new mode of teaching and learning.