Source: Journal of Research on Technology in Education, Vol. 43, No. 2, pp. 171–183. (Winter, 2010).
(Reviewed by the Portal Team)
This article presents Geodromo, which was designed to be an innovative prototype of an educational multimedia infrastructure.
The main goal was to provide young students and general public with knowledge of important concepts in several domains—including geology, climate, biology, and archeology—related to the specific context of the Natural Park of Aire and Candeeiros Mountain Range located in the center of Portugal.
Geodromo covers a large part of our planet’s history, backed up by computer technology of the last generation, simulating cosmic phenomena, geologic events, and climatic change.
The main goal of Geodromo is to launch the visitor on a virtual journey to discover historical and scientific knowledge and participate in an educational online game, as well as other activities available on the website.
Technology and Pedagogy
In the Geodromo video, the director and authors’ intention was to follow a pedagogical approach closer to video games that gives basic information first, provides an always-present timeline to follow, and deliberately motivates emotions.
Emotion and Cognition Issues
The authors argue that any project developing a game or multimedia environment must acknowledge the value of emotions as a tool to be used in the cognitive dimension, particularly when the education and training of young students is involved. There is also a need to shift curriculum focus from knowledge about things to knowledge significant to each learner, and this must include emotional play.
The Geodromo project also gave the authors the perception that it is pedagogically more effective for teachers and young students to be able to graphically “see” abstract concepts before discussing them, for example, in areas such as geology, climate, biology, and archeology.
Geodromo was a pioneer effort to bring about new ways of involving students in a holistic sensorial experience while exploring learning content beyond the usual keyboard, mouse, and screen practice.
At the same time, this project dealt with aspects of the instructional design process that are sometimes neglected.
In mastering the design process, the authors have learned to handle the cognitive side of instruction, but the authors have also learned to deal with the affective side of instruction.
So far, many teachers have been using both the platform and the online materials to engage students and integrate with formal curriculum and instruction.