Virtual Worlds in Geoscience Education: Learning Strategies and Learning 3D Environments

Virtual Worlds in Geoscience Education: Learning Strategies and Learning 3D Environments

Annalisa Boniello (University of Camerino, Italy), Eleonora Paris (University of Camerino, Italy) and Flavia Santoianni (University of Naples Federico II, Italy)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-8179-6.ch037
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Describes studies and research on geoscience education in virtual worlds. A correlation between spatial reasoning skills and professional performance in many scientific fields has been demonstrated. Traditional models of education are linked by the ideas that the relationship between teacher and students is asymmetric; the teacher transmits information and the students receive it; With the Web 2.0, traditional models of education should have been passed in favor of post-cognitivist models, where knowledge is distributed, situated and embodied. In this framework of interpretation, learning is no more a task-oriented process and knowledge is no longer transmitted but shared, co-constructed, and negotiated within a learning community. Likewise, Web 2.0 learning approaches allow users to interact and collaborate with each other in a social media dialogue as creators of user-generated content in a virtual community, in contrast to previous websites where people were limited to passive viewing of content.
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The chapter is an introduction to use of virtual learning environments in education in general and in particular the use of virtual worlds in geoscience education. In the chapter the background of studies on this topic and experiences on education and geoscience education in virtual worlds are described.

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