Visible Geology: Creative Online Tools for Teaching, Learning, and Communicating Geologic Concepts
Published:January 01, 2016
Rowan Cockett, Tara Moran, Adam Pidlisecky, 2016. "Visible Geology: Creative Online Tools for Teaching, Learning, and Communicating Geologic Concepts", 3-D Structural Interpretation: Earth, Mind, and Machine, Bob Krantz, Carol Ormand, Brett Freeman
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Computer-based learning tools are becoming more prevalent in classrooms from elementary school to higher education. The potential value of interactive learning tools is particularly high in geoscience education. Students can benefit from interactive tools that allow them to explore different processes in one-dimensional (1-D), two-dimensional (2-D), and three-dimensional (3-D) space. Traditionally, geoscience education has relied on laboratory exercises to provide students with the opportunity to explore dimensionality. In this chapter, we introduce Visible Geology, an innovative web-based application designed for geoscience education. Visible Geology enables visualization of geologic structures and processes through the use of interactive 3-D models. As Visible Geology has been designed from a student-centric perspective, it has resulted in a simple and intuitive interface, allowing students to creatively explore concepts. We present a case study of a large first year class at the University of British Columbia, and show the utility of Visible Geology in teaching geoscience concepts of relative dating and cross-cutting relationships. The ease of use of the software for this assignment, including automatic grading, made this tool practical for deployment in classrooms of any size. The outcome of this type of large-scale deployment is that students, who would normally not experience a lab exercise, gain exposure to 3-D thinking. The level of ownership and interactivity inherent in Visible Geology encourages engagement, leading learners to practice visualization and interpretation skills and discover geologic relationships.
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3-D Structural Interpretation: Earth, Mind, and Machine
Three-dimensional geologic interpretation of surface and subsurface data requires integration and application of both geologic knowledge and spatial cognitive skills. Much surface geologic mapping still employs pen and paper techniques, but subsurface interpretation is usually accomplished using sophisticated visualization software. In both cases, successful interpreters use mental models that bridge internal and external forms of 3-D visualization to construct 3-D geologic interpretations. This AAPG Memoir 111 sets out to understand more about the convergence of geology, 3-D thinking, and software, which collectively provide the basis for truly effective interpretation strategies. It should appeal to all geologic interpreters, and especially those who investigate and teach interpretation skills.