NASA Awards $10 Million Grant to Develop Digital Science Courseware
State University (ASU) will receive more
than $10 million over the next five years from the National
Space Administration (NASA) to develop next-generation
team of researchers from the ASU School of Earth and Space Exploration will receive a $10.18-million grant to develop a
learning design platform that goes beyond current science education
rely on lectures and the memorization of facts.
courseware the group hopes to develop will
incorporate online simulations, virtual field trips and adaptive
ASU team will work with the Inspark Science Network and ASU's Center for Education Through eXploration (ETX). The
Science Network is a joint initiative of ETX and Smart Sparrow, a
focuses on adaptive learning.
Professors Lindy Elkins-Tanton and Ariel
Anbar will be principal and deputy principal investigator,
a biogeochemist has already created an online course, "Habitable
is used at a number of colleges around the country to teach the
science as students take a virtual extraterrestrial journey exploring
"Are we alone?"
aim is to help learners become
problem-solvers capable of exploring the unknown, rather than just
what is already known," Anbar said. "It is learning science as process
and as a
universe of questions rather than as a dusty collection of facts."
researchers will work to develop personalized
and adaptive learning experiences that focus on astrobiology and "small
such as Saturn's moon Enceladus, Jupiter's moon Europa and asteroids.
so, the team will incorporate content that will be supplied by NASA.
most immediate goal is to develop learning
programs for so-called "self-learners" and the longer-term goal is to
program for formal K-12 students.
this grant, we can promote a greater public
understanding and appreciation for science, and inspire a new
explorers," Elkins-Tanton said. "We hope to share the exciting world of
science in a way that is both approachable and interactive."
Michael Hart is a Los Angeles-based freelance writer and the former executive editor of THE Journal.