Supporting Practice, Integrating Research in Immersive Technologies into Educational Designs (SPIRITED), proposes an innovative, interdisciplinary approach involving faculty researchers from three University of New Mexico Colleges: the College of Education, Department of Teacher Education; The School of Engineering, Department of Computer Science; and the College of Fine Arts, Art, Research, Technology, Science (ARTS) Lab. SPIRITED brings together complementary, integrated expertise on learning, teaching, and technologies to develop understanding of how immersive technologies might be used to support inquiry teaching and learning. The study addresses an important problem; in schools, science is taught as a fragmented body of concepts and facts, rather than as inquiry process. The forthcoming Next Generation Science Standards seek to change this via a set of dimensions that highlight Scientific and Engineering Practices, Crosscutting Concepts, and Disciplinary Core Ideas that may deepen understanding (Committee on Conceptual Framework for the New K-12 Science Education Standards & National Research Council, 2012). However, teachers have not been taught in this style, nor have they received professional development to support them in teaching in this style. Although the forthcoming standards represent a significant opportunity to deepen and enrich science teaching and learning in New Mexico, without access to resources to efficiently support such activities, this opportunity is unlikely to be realized. This is further complicated by the diversity presented in the state; despite the being home to the national laboratories, significant science and technology industries, and other DOD/DOE facilities, New Mexico consistently ranks at the bottom of most economic and educational indicators (Economic Research Service USDA, 2011; National Center for Education Statistics & Institute of Education, 2009). While many resources will be deployed via internet, according to the 2009 US Census, 40% of New Mexico residents did not access the internet (United State Census, 2009), compared to nationwide estimates of 31% for the same year. While various factors drive these figures, we see value in pursuing approaches that do not depend solely on internet access, yet still incorporate technology in consequential ways to support deep inquiry learning.
Svihla, Vanessa; Tyson, Kersti; Kvam, Nicholas; Dahlgren, Matthew; Boyle, Justin; Bowles, Jeffrey (2013): DomeStroids [dataset]. The University of New Mexico. http://hdl.handle.net/1928/23395