2014 Annual Science Report

Massachusetts Institute of Technology Reporting  |  SEP 2013 – DEC 2014

EPO Activity: Virtual Field Trips

Project Progress

“Our Virtual Field Trip (VFT) product, based on cutting-edge interactive technology, allows teachers to take whole classrooms into astrobiologically significant remote regions of the world and beyond by overcoming obstacles such as accessibility, cost, time, and logistics. Using advanced hardware and software tools like robotic Gigapan systems, underwater and surface-based cameras with advanced spherical tripod heads, seamless 360 degree digital video, and unique software for online dissemination, students are presented with engaging and rich educational experiences. We also deliver pedagogical paths through these sites and their scientific content by providing instructional modules for basic science concepts, as well as integrating those modules into facilitated and non-facilitated online courses throughout multiple grade levels.

During the reporting period, MIT and ASU team members Benjamin Kotrc and Jessica Swann continued to develop learning modules for VFT locations in Australia visited by the team in June 2013, including units on iron and the planetary history of oxygen at the Karijini Gorge location, and on basics of stratigraphy and using geological principles to reconstruct Earth’s history at the Marble Bar location.

During the final months of the reporting period, the team began logistical and pedagogical planning for a future set of VFT locations around the K/T boundary.”