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SpaceSafari
ARTICLE

Journal of Educational Technology Systems Volume 41, Number 1, ISSN 0047-2395

Abstract

Exploring the Solar System in the elementary school curriculum has traditionally involved activities, such as building scale models, to help students visualize the vastness of space and the relative size of the planets and their orbits. Today, numerous websites provide a wealth of information about the sun and the planets, combining text, photos, and graphics, and even interactive models. Some sites also include lesson plans and suggested classroom activities. Yet none of these resources allow for development of a lesson plan interactively, or offer tracking of student performance. Many lesson plans also have materials or space requirements that are impractical for some schools. SpaceSafari is an interactive multimedia software program for learning about the solar system that integrates information, exploration, and instruction. It employs a real-time 3D space for navigation, a module for learning about the planets, and an administrative interface for creating activities and tracking student progress. The design of the software resembles a first-person adventure game: a treasure hunt through the solar system in which the missions are created by the teacher. SpaceSafari was developed for both the formal (classroom) and informal (home) learning spaces, with a choice of input modes and display options. This integrated solution for teaching elementary Astronomy using personal computers poses an intriguing research question: "What is the impact of game mechanics, combined with an immersive, kinesthetic, 3D interface, on learning outcomes about the solar system?" (Contains 3 figures.)

Citation

Scarlatos, T. (2013). SpaceSafari. Journal of Educational Technology Systems, 41(1), 35-44. Retrieved May 20, 2019 from .

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Keywords