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  Feature Name: Combining visual and textual data in the Virtual Solar System (VSS...
Author: VSS team

Category: Visualization Tools (pre-designed): Models, Visualization Tools (pre-designed): Simulations, Visualization Tools (pre-designed): Data Visualizations, Visualization Tools (pre-designed): Visual Explanations (2D+3D), Visualization Tools (pre-designed): Virual Reality, Inquiry Tools: Open-ended inquiry, Inquiry Tools: Guided inquiry, Educational Games

Subject: Physical sciences

Kind: Element/Applet

 Elementary School
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 Higher Education
 Teachers & Principals


Software URL: Virtual Solar System (VSS)

Created by: Dr. Yoav Yair, Dr. Rachel Mintz, Shay Litvak The Center of Education Technology (CET) and Tel-Aviv University’s Science and Technology Education Center (SATEC), in Tel-Aviv, ISRAEL.

Reference URL

This Feature is connected to (4) Principles
  • Enable virtual navigation for exploring complex physical systems
  • Provide dynamic visual aids for the perception of 3D phenomena
  • Use multiple representations
  • Provide just in time guidance
    Feature in Visual Map
    Information contains numerical and parametric data and other information.
    This data can help users relate between the picture they see and the numerical data, and understand the relation between distance, motion and time.
    (Yair, Mintz & Litvak, 2001)
    The Rationale Behind the Feature (Specific Design Principle):
    The Virtual Solar System is a non-immersive 3D virtual environment. The user flies in the solar system by the computer mouse as a spaceship.
    While “flying” and navigating, the user can read information about a specific object by touching it (see figure). The goal of this data is to represent information that can not be represented visually, without changing the global picture on the computer screen. This way it does not capture the user’s attention.
    (Gazit & Chen, 2003; Gazit, Chen & Yair, under review; Yair, Mintz & Litvak, 2001)
    Gazit, E. (2004). The gain and pain in taking the pilot seat: Interaction dynamics within virtual learning environments. The 3d International Symposium on VR & Rehabilitation, The Institute for Interdisciplinary Applications of Computer Science, University of Haifa, Israel, 17-18 March 2004.

    Gazit, E. & Chen, D. (2003). Using the Observer to analyze learning in virtual worlds. Behavior Research Methods, Instruments and Computers, 35(3), 400-407.

    Gazit, E., Chen, D. & Yair, Y. (under review). Emerging Conceptual Understanding of Complex Astronomical Phenomena by Using a Virtual Solar System (VSS). The Journal of Science Education and Technology.

    Gazit, E., Chen, D., & Yair, Y. (2004). Using a virtual solar system to develop a conceptual understanding of basic astronomical phenomena. In: Cantoni, L., & McLoughlin, C. (Eds.). Proceedings of ED-Media 2004 World conference on Educational Multimedia, Hypermedia & Telecommunications. (p. 4344-4349). Lugano: Switzerland, June 21-26, 2004.

    Yair, Y., Mintz, r. & Litvak, S. (2001). 3D-virtual reality in science education: An
    implication for astronomy teaching. Journal of Computers in Mathematics and Science Teaching, 20(3(), 293-305.

    Yair, Y., Schur, Y. & Mintz Rachel. (2003). A “Thinking Journey” to the Planets Using Scientific Visualization Technologies: Implications to Astronomy Education.
    Journal of Science Education and technology, 12(1), 43-49.

    Image:(Click to enlarge)