STEM educationOnline 3D immersive learning environments to boost kids’ science skills

Published 13 February 2014

For the first time, a new online 3D educational world which replicates real life environments is set to improve the science skills of students. Using their avatar, students will embark on a journey from their own research lab through and “immersive learning” environments which will mirror real-life places. As they progress through quests, they will explore the surrounding environment and complete inquiry based learning tasks which test their core science skills and gain rewards.

For the first time, a new online 3D educational world which replicates real life environments is set to improve the science skills of students.

CSIRO has joined a partnership with online education company 3P Learning, the company which developed the e-learning tool Mathletics.

A CSIRO release reports the 3D Online Education partnership will bring computer scientists from CSIRO together with science education experts from 3P Learning to develop “immersive learning” environments for their platform IntoScience which will mirror real-life places. This will allow students across Australia to explore these locations from their home or classroom while improving their science skills along the way.

“Imagine walking beneath the dense canopy of the Daintree rainforest, understanding the forces holding up the Sydney Harbor Bridge or exploring the life found amongst the elaborate underground structures of the Jenolan Caves,” CSIRO Research Leader Professor Jay Guo said.

“We’re very excited to be working with the team at 3P Learning to integrate their latest educational resource IntoScience with high-definition panoramic video and 3D models of real places scanned using our award winning laser mapping technology Zebedee.”

Using their avatar, students will embark on a journey from their own research lab. As they progress through quests, they will explore the surrounding environment and complete inquiry based learning tasks which test their core science skills and gain rewards.

A unique feature will be the ability for students to transition between exploration of the virtual world and viewing HD panoramic video from the exact same location in the real world.

Tim Power, managing director of 3P Learning said the company’s educational resources are about evolving the learning experience beyond the static textbook. “We’re expanding IntoScience to include highly engaging real-life environments which meet teacher curriculum and student engagement needs,” Power said.

“Many students may never get the chance to experience these locations, or their teachers may want to explore them before they venture out on a real excursion. By creating them digitally we can offer rich locations for all children to develop their science skills.”

The developers hope that school students in grades five to eight will be able to trial the new real-life landscapes by mid-2014.

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