A Case Study Exploring the Experiences of Preservice Teachers in a Live-Interactive Portable Planetarium Program
Planetarium research is a continually evolving field, dating back to the mid-twentieth century when planetariums began being installed at educational institutions around the United States (Chartrand, 1973). Much of the research on planetariums has focused on their ability to be used as a tool to promote student conceptual change in various content areas (Brazell & Espinoza, 2009; Lelliott & Rollnick, 2010; Slater, Ratcliff, & Tatge, 2017). With the recent introduction of digital planetarium systems that are capable of creating simulated immersive visual environments (SIVEs) (Sumners, Reiff, & Weber, 2008; Wyatt, 2005; Yu & Sahami, 2007), a new avenue of research has been opened to explore the qualitative nature of these simulated experiences. At the same time, there has been a lack of research examining the planetarium as a tool in preservice teacher education (Slater et al., 2017). The National Research Council ([NRC], 2012) has identified that “preservice teachers will need experiences that help them understand how students think, what they are capable of doing, and what they might reasonably be expected to do under supportive instructional conditions” (p. 257). Therefore, this study seeks to understand the experiences of preservice teachers who participate in a live-interactive planetarium program as part of their educational training.