The Virtual Rock-Cycle is designed to develop systems-thinking in the context of the rock-cycle by enabling students to navigate within a virtual model of this geological system. Navigation is done by choosing processes that “transfer” learners between different rock-forming environments. For instance students can choose rapid cooling of magama to navigate into a the volcanic eruption area, or slow cooling to navigate to a plutonic area.
The Rationale Behind the Feature (Specific Design Principle):
When students use physical procesess to navigate within a system, they can learn about causal relationships within the system.
Context of Use:
It is important to note that students DO NOT learn about the parts of the system (the geological processes) by using the software. Rather, students should interact with the software as means for knowledge integration and for systems thinking, after the content knowledge has been learned.
Students that have interacted with the software gained deeper understanding of the rock cycle as a cyclic system by interacting with the software (Kali, in press).
Kali, Y. (2003). A virtual journey within the rock-cycle: A software kit for the development of systems-thinking in the context of the earths crust. Journal of Geoscience Education.