Virtual Field Trips for LTER Sites
This workshop will introduce Virtual Field Trips version 2. We will explore developing an open access library of on-line, interactive virtual field trips for sites within the LTER Network. Individual field trips include site descriptions with links to data sources and on-line explorer tools, panoramic movies with hotspots linking to visual and audio descriptions of points of interest (teaching points), photo galleries that further describe key site features, and more. We believe the concept can greatly enhance ecological education and outreach through personal exploration of ecosystems and ecological phenomena, albeit virtual exploration. Successful workshop outcomes will include 1) agreements to begin an LTER library of virtual field trips, 2) identification of individuals interested in learning and applying the technology necessary to produce virtual field trips, 3) selection of sites to begin the project, and 4) developing strategies for acquiring funding for the effort.
Prototype virtual field trips are availabe in the working group materials and selecting the "Virtual Field Trips". These are being developed as part of the NSF Math and Science Partnership project: “Culturally Relevant Ecology, Learning Progressions and Environmental Literacy” and Colorado State University’s The Western Center for Integrated Resource Management programs and will be demonstrated at the Workshop. The prototype virtual field trips are being designed to address three levels of formal learners: Novice – 4th -6th graders; Intermediate – 7th – 12th graders; and Advanced – college and professional continuing education, including K-12 teachers. Targeted informal learning groups include policy makers, land and water managers, and interested public. The ecosystems and ecological phenomena represented are the same for all learners but the depth to which they are studied is obviously different for the different skill levels.
The demonstrations for the Workshop will integrate numerous “off-the-shelf” technologies and software packages (VR Toolbox for panorama movie development, Adobe’s Dreamweaver, Captivate, Presenter, and Photoshop) and on-line explorer tools (Google Earth, USDA Web Soil Survey, Southwest Online GAP Data Explorer Tool, and NatureServe Explorer).