Geo3D enables students to rotate, take apart, and bisect visual illustrations (see figure) of geological structures.
These manipulations were designed based on the outcomes of a study that characterized the specific spatial abilities in structural geology (see reference 1).
Students were provided these animated illustrations as means for solving visual problems throughout the software.
The Rationale Behind the Feature (Specific Design Principle):
Many students have difficulties in the perception of geological structures that are presented in two dimensional drawings (Kali & Orion, 1996). The rationale for designing the manipulations in Geo3D is based on analysis of such student difficulties. These animations are designed to assist students develop the spatial abilities required in order to solve problems in basic structural geology.
Context of Use:
Case studies showed that these illustrations are best used when students have an opportunity to choose the type of illustration that assists them the most (see reference 2). Therefore, we recommend to give a variety of illustration types, and to enable students to freely navigate within these illustrations.
We also recommend individual rather than collaborative use of the software. We found that student collaboration was not successful due to lack of vocabulary and communicational means considering cross-sections in geological structures. Individual studentsí paths throughout the software fit to their specific abilities and difficulties.
Ref 2 presents evidence that interaction with these animation, dramatically improved students skills in visualization of geological structures, following very short interaction times with the software (1-2 hours).
1. Kali Y., and Orion N., (1996). Spatial abilities of high-school students in the perception of geological structures. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, v.33, pp.369-391.
2. Kali Y., Orion N., and Mazor, E., (1997). Software for assisting high-school students in the spatial perception of geological structures. Journal of Geoscience Education, v.45, pp.10-21.