University of Valladolid (SPAIN)
About this paper:
Appears in: EDULEARN21 Proceedings
Publication year: 2021
Pages: 142-147
ISBN: 978-84-09-31267-2
ISSN: 2340-1117
doi: 10.21125/edulearn.2021.0063
Conference name: 13th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 5-6 July, 2021
Location: Online Conference
Our society and, in particular, the high-education system have faced severe challenges since the starting of the COVID-19 pandemic around February-March 2020. The safety restrictions that limited or eliminated the face-to-face teaching required of the fast development of new virtual teaching strategies. Trying to turn a crisis into an opportunity, these quickly adopted strategies should evolve into fully-developed resources that complement and improve traditional teaching, as well as substitute face-to-face teaching without a significant impact on the students’ learning opportunities. However, knowledge fields that require field practices or to be in contact with actual samples present additional challenges to develop efficient virtualization strategies.

In particular, the direct observation and manipulation of samples of minerals, rocks, and fossils are essential activities on the study of Geology-related subjects. Moreover, in crystallography studies, the students should be able to relate the analyzed dynamic and static structures with the actual materials. Accordingly, in both cases, the absence of face-to-face practical classes with access to minerals, rocks, and fossils collections is a high-impact drawback for the students.

With the aim to overcome this situation, the Crystallography and Mineralogy area of the University of Valladolid has recently started a teaching innovation project to develop a fully accessible virtual collection of minerals, rocks, and fossils. In addition to the traditionally employed datasheets and pictures, this collection includes photorealistic three-dimensional reconstructions of the samples, obtained by photogrammetry. This collection includes models developed by other Universities with the same interests, as well as new models developed within this project. The virtual collection is also complemented by detailed information and additional pictures or videos from the samples, including also resources for auto evaluation activities.

Herein, the design and development of this project are described, with a particular emphasis on the impact of the developed resources on the teaching of diverse Geology and Crystallography subjects. Finally, the efficiency and success of this project are evaluated from the feedback provided by the students who can take advantage of these resources, taking their opinions into account to propose further improvements.
Virtual learning, geology, photogrammetry.