Using A Digital Planetarium For Teaching Seasons To Undergraduates

Yu, Ka Chun and Sahami, Kamran and Sahami, Victoria and Sessions, Larry C. (2015) Using A Digital Planetarium For Teaching Seasons To Undergraduates. Journal of Astronomy & Earth Sciences Education (JAESE), 2 (1). pp. 33-50. ISSN 2374-6254, 2374-6246


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Computer-generated simulations and visualizations in digital planetariums have the potential to bridge the comprehension gap in astronomy education. Concepts involving three-dimensional spatial relationships can be difficult for the layperson to understand, since much of the traditional teaching materials used in astronomy education remain two-dimensional in nature. We study the student performance after viewing visualizations in an immersive theater and in non-immersive classrooms for the topic of seasons in an introductory undergraduate astronomy course. Using weekly multiple-choice quizzes to gauge student learning, comparison of curriculum tests taken immediately after instruction and pre-instruction quizzes show a significant difference in the results of students who viewed visualizations in the planetarium versus their counterparts who viewed non-immersive content in their classrooms, and those in the control group that saw no visualizations whatsoever. These results suggest that the immersive visuals help by freeing up cognitive resources that can be devoted to learning, while visualizations shown in the classroom may be an intrinsically inferior experience for students.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: Astronomy Education Research
Depositing User: Mr Saeed Salimpour
Date Deposited: 03 Apr 2017 08:01
Last Modified: 19 Aug 2018 09:25

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