The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee's CoVis Project: Technological Tools for Active Learning in Science Education


Jonathan D. W. Kahl
Department of Geosciences
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee


The UW-Milwaukee CoVis (Collaborative Visualization) project embraces the "active learning" concept: students learn science by conducting original research rather than by memorizing a series of facts. Participating students must have access to relevant scientific data sets, software tools for visualizing and analyzing their data, communication tools to foster collaboration, and external scientists to serve as mentors for their projects. This presentation will describe the technological tools used to accomplish these goals. We will show how the Internet may be used as the primary delivery vehicle for professional-quality scientific data in many science areas. A variety of data visualization software packages will be presented, along with demonstrations of their use at various schools. Tools for collaboration will also be presented - these include videoconferencing techniques, mentoring by electronic mail, and a multimedia, networked, "lab notebook" software product that allows collaboration on individual projects by students, teachers and mentors at multiple locations. The presentation will also feature instructions for implementation at NESA schools.