Assessing the Impact of Technology-Enhanced Field Trips in Science Centers and Museums

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Abstract:

The aim of this paper is to systematically assess an innovative approach that crosscuts the boundaries among schools, museums and science centers, and involved the participating students in extended episodes of playful learning. Advanced learning schemes that have been developed to facilitate in situ learning are implemented in an ambient, always available educational environment that has been developed with the support of emerging technologies. This was practically achieved by (a) the use of Augmented Reality tools, which enhance the learning experience of a physical visit by providing contextualized and personalized information, and (b) by setting up a real-time communication channel through broadband satellite connection between the science center and remote classrooms, offering unique learning experiences to those students who cannot perform physical visits. This paper presents and compares the findings from physical and virtual visits of twelfth-grade students to a Foundation of Interactive Exhibition, where technology is supported by augmented reality tools. The results demonstrate that the technology-supported physical visit provided significantly improved learning outcomes, increased students curiosity and their willingness to communicate and share their enlightening experiences with other students, their eagerness to use new technologies, and acquire knowledge through having fun and experiencing. Furthermore, the findings of the study demonstrate that the application of the specific emerging technologies can provide rich learning experiences via virtual visits, contributing to better learning outcomes and increased motivation of the participating students.
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  • ADVANCED SCIENCE LETTERS is an international peer-reviewed journal with a very wide-ranging coverage, consolidates research activities in all areas of (1) Physical Sciences, (2) Biological Sciences, (3) Mathematical Sciences, (4) Engineering, (5) Computer and Information Sciences, and (6) Geosciences to publish original short communications, full research papers and timely brief (mini) reviews with authors photo and biography encompassing the basic and applied research and current developments in educational aspects of these scientific areas.
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