Effects of Teaching Science through Immersive Virtual Environments

Effects of Teaching Science through Immersive Virtual Environments

Lisa M. Daniels (North Dakota State University, USA), Jeff Terpstra (North Dakota State University, USA), Kimberly Addicott (North Dakota State University, USA), Brian M. Slator (North Dakota State University, USA), Donald P. Schwert (North Dakota State University, USA), Bernhardt Saini-Eidukat (North Dakota State University, USA), Phillip McClean (North Dakota State University, USA) and Alan R. White (North Dakota State University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59904-935-9.ch159
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Abstract

The North Dakota State University (NDSU) World Wide Web Instructional Committee (WWWIC) is an inter-disciplinary research team, which has, since the 1990s, developed multi-user, interactive virtual environments (IVEs) to teach the structure and process of various branches of science. The most developed of these include the “Geology Explorer” and the “Virtual Cell,” (VCell). This chapter describes the key features the Virtual Cell and the Geology Explorer, the underlying philosophy and educational theory guiding their development, and results of large controlled experiments that investigate their effectiveness on student learning. Additionally, ongoing projects andexperiments of the team relevant to the development and dissemination of these software programs are explored. The underlying purpose of our IVEs is to increase student achievement and scientific problem-solving skills while providing students with opportunities to learn-by-doing in a real-world context. Research findings collected for almost a decade demonstrate the positive impact of our IVEs on science students.

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