2015 Annual Science Report

Massachusetts Institute of Technology Reporting  |  JAN 2015 – DEC 2015

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, Benjamin Kotrc led efforts in the logistical and pedagogical planning for a future set of VFT locations around the K/T boundary. This included working with ASU collaborator Steve Semken on collecting a set of learning outcomes for introductory college Historical Geology classes with the goal of defining community-sourced outcomes to orient the design of the next set of VFTs. It also included planning for VFT trips to Gubbio, Italy, Zumaia, Spain, and Stevns Klint, Denmark—all places where the famous K/T boundary can be seen in rock outcrop at the Earth’s surface.”