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Virtual Marine Scientist

This project (funded by Marcus and Amalia Wallenberg foundation) is a collaboration between LETStudio, LinCS, three departments from the University of Gothenburg; the department of Education, Communication and Learning, the department of Biological and Environmental Sciences, the department of Applied Information Technologies and the Mikael Elias Teoretiska gymnasiet in Gothenburg and Malmö.

The project aims at inducting students (16‐19 years) into the concrete manners in which scientists work and research is carried out. In this activity students learn how to design and run experiments in environmental science with the help of a virtual environment. Virtual Marine Scientist is meant to offer a stimulating context for learning about experimental work with elements of cooperation and joint problem solving.

In this project the students take on the role of PhD students in a lab focusing on marine environmental issues. The students learn about the research field (climate change and ocean acidification), formulate a hypothesis and apply for funding. Then they design their own experiments, taking into account the constraints of time and budget. Students receive the data from their experiments, analyze them, and present their findings in the classroom.

The following research questions will be addressed in the empirical part:

  1. How can virtual labs be integrated into teaching? What are the major affordances and obstacles that teachers perceive? How can the use of virtual labs be facilitated?
    This implies exploring how teachers perceive virtual labs, and to try to ascertain when and how such resources can be made use of. These questions will be studied through interviews with teachers and observations of their work throughout lab work.
  2. What characterizes students' work and collaboration during lab work? How do they succeed in mastering principles of experimental work? To what extent do they learn about the relevant scientific concepts in environmental science in a virtual setting?
    This refers to studying the process of student work and collaboration. This will be documented through observations and video recordings of selected projects. We will also collect the lab reports and we can follow the students’ work through logged data in the system.
  3. A summative evaluation where the students' skills of carrying out experiments, explaining their work procedures and presenting results etc. will be carried out using observations, teacher evaluations as well as written tests.
    This will be studied through tests, teacher evaluations and evaluations of the form and contents of final reports delivered in class.


More about Virtual Marine Scientist

For more information about the project contact:

Géraldine Fauville, E-mail
Roger Säljö, E-mail

Page Manager: Elin Johansson|Last update: 4/19/2013

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