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P. Alfonso1, N. Roca2, M. Garcia-Valles3

1Universitat Politécnica de Catalunya, Dept. d’Enginyeria Minera i Recursos Naturals (SPAIN)
2Universitat de Barcelona, Facultat de Biologia (SPAIN)
3Universitat de Barcelona, Facultat de Geologia (SPAIN)
One of the widely methods of teaching used to promote knowledge, consists of the use of virtual environments. The Internet access and use of Laptops have created the technological conditions for teachers and students benefit from the use of online information, communication, collaboration and sharing with others. Moreover, a critical education system can be developed using online “system thinking” tools. One of the student assignments in minerals and industrial rocks learning is a precise description of the features of minerals and rocks. It applies a system of concepts and terminology to describe, measure and determine the application of materials. This involves a combination of fieldwork and laboratory tasks for naked-eye and microscopic examination and determination of technical properties. This diversity of scales create difficulties for develop the teaching-learning activity. The purpose of our research is to create the Minrocind tool to integrate the learning of industrial minerals and rocks at different scales of study. In this way the student will study the same mineral or rock in the quarry and its macro and microscopic characteristics. The student by using Minrocind, can observe the characteristics of the quarry where the studied rock is, or was, exploited. In order to achieve this, Minrocind provides a file with the location (topographic map and ortophoto map) and a description of the quarry. A geological map of the surroundings is also present. In the laboratory the student will observe a hand sample of the rock and its thin sections to determine the mineralogy and texture under the microscope. These characteristics also appear in the file, so, the student can learn autonomously. In the file, the physical properties of the studied rocks are also included. The file is complemented with other information of interest as places built with the studied rock and the most relevant references. These teaching practices are composed of on-site and online activities and increase the options for better quality and quantity of information. Therefore, these tools can provide interesting alternatives to contribute to the development of autonomous, flexible and customized learning. Initially the Minrocind program was developed for the industrial resources of Catalonia and available only in Catalan language. The development of the tool has been supported by the Technical Unit for Research and Innovation of the Learning and Research Resources Centre of the University of Barcelona.