Tree Investigators: Using Augmented Reality and Mobile Computers Outdoors

Heather Zimmerman Headshot

COIL is proud to have supported the Tree Investigators: Using Augmented Reality and Mobile Computers Outdoors project through our Research Initiation Grant Program.

Abstract:

Tree Investigators is a 12-month research project on how mobile computers can support engagement with the life sciences in people’s communities. Specifically, we compare forms of technologically enhanced facilitation in regard to supporting learners to think scientifically at the Arboretum at Penn State and Shaver’s Creek Environmental Center. The technologically enhanced facilitation supports observing to encourage deliberate noticing that will lead to the development of scientific concepts as learners coordinate information contained on the mobile computer with the specimens on-site.

Tree Investigators relies on mobile computers equipped with web browsers and photo capability to bring digital elements (e.g., text and photographs) to people in a nature center in real time, triggered by Quick Response (QR) codes or other mobile applications. Prior to this application, we conducted two small scale qualitative studies, and now we request funds to support a more rigorous series of qualitative and multi-condition, quasi experimental studies that will examine various aspects of mobile computing pedagogy.

This project will (a) further develop the existing Tree Investigators app, (b) conduct empirical research to develop design principles to advance mobile computing practice that incorporates outdoor learning spaces, and (c) support the development to a future NSF-proposal.

For up to date information on this project, please visit: http://sites.psu.edu/augmentedlearning/

Team:

  • Heather Zimmerman, Assistant Professor, College of Education, Penn State University Park
  • Susan M. Land, Associate Professor, College of Education, Penn State University Park
  • Brian Seely, Web and App programmer and College of Education doctoral student, College of Education, Penn State University Park
  • Christina Grozinger, Associate Professor, Director of the Center for Pollinator Research, College of Agricultural Sciences, Penn State University Park
  • Michael R. Mohney, Instructor, Department of Plant Science, and College of Education doctoral student, College of Agricultural Sciences, Penn State University Park
  • Lucy Mcclain, Youth and Families Coordinator, Shaver’s Creek Environmental Center

Contact:

Heather Zimmerman HeadshotHeather Zimmerman
College of Education
305c Keller Building
University Park, PA 16802
heather@psu.edu
(814) 867 2654


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