The Construction of Place in Technologically-Mediated Learning Experiences: The Nature, Process, and Effects of Virtual Field Studies
Springer, Cathryn E.
This research examined the nature, process, and effects of virtual field studies (VFS) through three questions: 1) how do virtual field studies affect knowledge acquisition, spatial understanding, and perceptions of place and why; 2) how do students construct places within virtual field studies, as opposed to lecture-guided studies and traditional field studies; and 3) what do university faculty members perceive as the educational value of virtual field studies and the essential place characteristics for inclusion in a virtual field study. Place construction theory provided the basis for understanding the complex process of learning about place, which occurred in three different environments for this study, a lecture session, field study, and virtual field study, all of which were of the same field site. This study gathered data from two different populations through a mixed method methodology and included a pre-test, posttest quasi-experiment and focus groups with university students, and an on-line survey and in-person interviews with university faculty. Findings indicated that the VFS produced similar cognitive and affective learning outcomes as traditional field studies; however, VFS, traditional field studies, and lecture sessions differed in the nature and processes of the learning experience. Both students and faculty preferred traditional field studies over VFS and lecture sessions. However, faculty approached place construction in learning environments differently than students did. Results also suggested that faculty's teaching practices and perceptions of place construction, place, and VFS are intricately and closely related to each other and to various underlying factors.
virtual reality, higher education, computer network resources, effects of technological innovations, telecommunications
Springer, C.E. (2007). The construction of place in technologically-mediated learning experiences: The nature, process, and effects of virtual field studies (Unpublished dissertation). Texas State University-San Marcos, San Marcos, Texas.