Planning Grant to Support the Development of the Project "Visualization as a Tool in Informal Science Education at Lake Tahoe" (University of California-Davis)
A team from the University of California, Davis, and evaluation partners from the Institute for Learning Innovation (ILI) has provided evidence that 3-D visualizations of freshwater ecosystems can engage diverse audiences as well as increase awareness, understanding, concern and knowledge about freshwater ecosystems.
The work reinforces the benefits of using 3-D visualizations to communicate with and engage the public in science-related topics. It also establishes the feasibility of using an immersive 3-D approach in science museums and centers.
Visualization is a key tool in representing and extracting knowledge from the voluminous data files computer modeling creates. Many fields use 3-D visualization as a research tool to show the physical, biological and geochemical processes that have helped form watersheds, rivers and lakes, and the quality of the ecosystems they sustain (see http://keckcaves.ucdavis.edu/).
Funded by an NSF Informal Science Education Planning/Pathways grant, the study gathered evaluations from a variety of audiences including Spanish-speaking visitors. They rated the 3-D technology and its contribution to helping them understand environmental issues related to Lake Tahoe. Of those in the treatment group who saw the 3-D visualizations and received a tour (compared to the tour-only control group): 48 percent reported an increase in interest in learning science in general (versus 40 percent in the control), 54 percent reported an increased interest in using science to study Lake Tahoe (versus 32 percent in the control), and 46 percent reported an increased interest in learning what they could do to protect Lake Tahoe (versus 32 percent in the control).
This partnership provides science enrichment activities for 10 fourth-grade classrooms in three different schools on or near the Crow reservation, and professional development for their teachers.Research Areas: Education, Earth & Environment, Polar Locations: California, Montana
Students who experience extreme science through simulations excel on proficiency testsResearch Areas: Education Locations: California