A GeoDome Panorama with WorldViewer brought immersive, interactive data visualization into a K12 context during a month-long residency at Fridley Middle School in Minneapolis. Immersive Learning Labs engage students in the same way as traditional science labs, as they do their own investigation and inquiry. In the GeoDome, educators can expand on this, developing data literacy as well as allowing students to do direct manipulation and analysis in a controlled environment. In the GeoDome, students traveled the cosmos, explored global datasets, visited local wetlands, and looked inside a beehive, in a series of content created in collaboration with experienced classroom teachers. They also contributed their own content, taking fisheye cameras into the field. The project capitalized on the potential of immersive environments to transform abstract, complex information into something students intuit and understand in a personal way.
This project builds on the success of the Minnesota Regional GeoDome Network and is hosted by TIES, an education technology cooperative of K-16 educators who share costs, program opportunities, and teaching strategies. Working with the University of Minnesota STEM Education Center, researchers are measuring the impact this type of experience has on student learning and on the curriculum.