Immersive Virtual Environments for Science Education

Summer Semester 2006
Monday, August 14th to Wednesday, August 16th,
(Mon. 1-5 p m., Tue. 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Wed. 9 a.m. -1 p.m.)
Building: Library Cluster, NDSU, Fargo, ND
Prerequisite Courses: None
Semester hours: One

Due to space and budget constraints the course is limited to 25 in-service teachers, grades 6 - 12. Participants will be chosen on the basis of finding a balance between a) high school and middle school, and b) rural and urban schools, and by first-come-first-served within that distribution.

Course costs are supported by grant funds. In addition, participants will be awarded a $400.00 stipend (participants are responsible for the $50.00 "recording fee" required by NDSU). Travel costs and local lodging for out-of-town participants will also be covered by grant funds, and "working" lunch will be provided on the second and third days. Participants will also be provided a free copy of the textbook, "Electric Worlds in the Classroom".

See how to implement an immersive, computer-based environment to enhance your biology or earth science curriculum. Learn how these environments operate and the overall impact they can have on science education. Assist the development group at NDSU in implementing these worlds in your classroom.

The purpose of the course is to study the theory, practice, implementation, dissemination, and institutionalization of role-based immersive virtual environments (IVEs) for science education. The topics under discussion will therefore be broad. Particpants will engage in the study of immersive virtual environments for science education in the context of instruction in the grade 6-12 classroom. Participants will be expected to evaluate these systems in terms of current state standards and produce a portfolio document.

Course Organization:

I. (4 hours) Theory: Overview of Immersive Virtual Environment (IVE) Theory and Practice.
  • Design and implementation of IVEs
  • Meaning and implications of authentic science instruction in IVEs
  • Assessment of learning, and educational outcomes of IVEs
  • Roles and role formation in IVEs
  • Software agents and artifical intelligence in IVEs

II. (8 hours) Practice: Experience with science learning in IVEs (customized to participant interest).

  • Practice with the Virtual Cell (2-6 hours)
  • Practice with the Geology Explorer (2-6 hours)
  • Practice with other IVEs (1-2 hours)

III. (4 hours) Implementation, Dissemination, and Institutionalization: Portfolio documentation relating to science learning in Immersive Virtual Environments (IVEs).
Participants will prepare a portfolio of lesson plans and evaluative materials relating to their grade 6-12 curricula.

  • Prepare lesson plans incorporating IVEs into current instruction
  • Design new instruction based on IVEs
  • Design age-appropriate assessment and evaluation instruments (relating them to national and state standards).
  • Write implementation protocols based on technology
  • Actively participate in discussions arising from items above.

Click here for the 2006 Detailed Schedule

Final portfolio documents will be due Wednesday, August 30th (two weeks after the conclusion of the course).
The tentative plan is for exemplary portfolio materials to be collected into a "workbook" for possible use in future courses or possible state or national dissemination.

Online Registration Form:
(MS-Word format, print on 8.5" x 11" paper).
Modifed: 20Jun06; Contact: