Integrating an augmented reality sandbox challenge activity into a large-enrollment introductory geoscience lab for nonmajors produces no learning gains

Danielle Jackson, Haydeh Kaveh, Judith Victoria, Andy Walker, Natalie Bursztyn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Studies have consistently documented that introductory geoscience students struggle with visualizing features presented on topographic maps. This is a problem that has the potential to increase in a digital age when engagement with maps consists primarily of GPS navigation via smartphones. Since the first augmented reality (AR) sandbox in 2012, geoscience educators have been wondering how it might be used to improve students’ ability to read topographic maps. This study examines one potential approach. Here we present the results of research that took place over a full academic year at a large, primarily undergraduate-serving, public university in 40 lab sections of introductory geology. This research assessed data from 730 comparison and experimental group participants to determine (a) students’ ability to represent a 2D topographic map in 3D, (b) the impact of the AR sandbox on student engagement, and (c) the impact of the AR sandbox on student learning. The results of this study revealed that students were successful in representing a 2D map in 3D and reported increased engagement in the experiment group due to experience with the AR sandbox; however, there was no difference in student learning between the experimental and comparison groups.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)237-248
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Geoscience Education
Volume67
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - 2019

Keywords

  • Augmented reality sandbox
  • high enrollment
  • student learning
  • topographic maps

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