Utilizing Geo-referenced Mobile Game Technology for Universally Accessible Virtual Geology Field Trips

Natalie Bursztyn, Joel Pederson, Brett Shelton, Andrew Walker, Todd Campbell
447 138


Declining interest and low persistence is well documented among undergraduate students in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math in the United States. For geoscience, field trips are important attractors to students, however with high enrollment courses and increasing costs they are becoming rare. We propose in this concept paper that the contextualized learning and engagement of field trips can be simulated by virtual field trips for smart mobile devices. Our focus is on utilizing the geo-referencing capabilities of smart devices within spatially scaled educational games. This technology is increasingly ubiquitous amongst undergraduate students, and consequently is an untapped pedagogical resource. The objective of our games is to give students real-world experience in selected fundamental principles of geology. Set in Grand Canyon, each module features images of exceptional geologic sites illustrating these principles. Students navigate “downstream” using their devices’ GPS and complete at least one interactive activity per location to progress to the next point. Student response to a pilot game suggests that this indeed is a viable method for making geoscience instruction engaging and enjoyable, and hopefully will result in greater motivation to pursue the geosciences.


Virtual field trip, Geoscience, Smart mobile device, GPS, STEM education, Educational technology

Full Text:



  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2017 International Journal of Education in Mathematics, Science and Technology



International Journal of Education in Mathematics, Science and Technology (IJEMST) 
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

Editors: Ismail Sahin & Mack Shelley

Place of Publication: Turkey & Name of Publisher: Ismail Sahin

ISSN: 2147-611X (Online)