3D Visualization Tools for Enhancing Awareness, Understanding and Stewardship of Freshwater Ecosystems – Summative Evaluation Report

October 1st, 2015 | EVALUATION

National Science Foundation (NSF) awarded an Informal Science Education (ISE) grant, since renamed Advancing Informal STEM Learning (AISL) to a group of institutions led by two of the University of California, Davisā€™s centers: the Tahoe Environmental Research Center (TERC) and the W.M. Keck Center for Active Visualization in Earth Sciences (KeckCAVES). Additional partner institutions were the ECHO Lake Aquarium and Science Center (ECHO), Lawrence Hall of Science (LHS) at the University of California, Berkeley, and Audience Viewpoints Consulting (AVC). The summative evaluation study was designed to examine how 3D visualizations could most effectively be used to improve the general publicā€™s understanding of freshwater lake ecosystems and Earth science processes through the use of immersive threeā€dimensional (3D) visualizations of lake and watershed processes, supplemented by tabletop science activity stations and a website. Two iconic lakes were the focus of the study: Lake Tahoe in California and Nevada, and Lake Champlain in Vermont and New York, with products readily transferable to other freshwater systems and education venues. The project included the development of 3D visualizations, hands-on activities as well as technology components, including apps for mobile devices. The purpose of the project was to implement, evaluate, and disseminate knowledge of how 3D visualizations and technologies could be designed and configured to effectively support visitor engagement and learning about physical, biological and geochemical processes and systems related to freshwater ecosystems. An additional part of the project was to evaluate how these technologies could be transferred more broadly to other informal science venues and schools for future career and workforce development in these critical STEM areas.



Team Members

Steven Yalowitz, Evaluator, Audience Viewpoints Consulting
Erin Wilcox, Evaluator, Audience Viewpoints Consulting


Funding Source: NSF
Funding Program: AISL
Award Number: 1114663

Related URLs

3D Visualization Tools For Enhancing Awareness, Understanding, And Stewardship Of Freshwater Ecosystems


Audience: Evaluators | Families | General Public | Museum | ISE Professionals | Youth | Teen (up to 17)
Discipline: Ecology | forestry | agriculture | Education and learning science | Geoscience and geography
Resource Type: Evaluation Reports | Research and Evaluation Instruments | Summative | Survey
Environment Type: Aquarium and Zoo Exhibits | Exhibitions | Games | Simulations | Interactives | Media and Technology | Museum and Science Center Exhibits | Museum and Science Center Programs | Public Programs | Websites | Mobile Apps | Online Media

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This material is supported by National Science Foundation award DRL-2229061, with previous support under DRL-1612739, DRL-1842633, DRL-1212803, and DRL-0638981. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations contained within InformalScience.org are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of NSF.

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