Visualizing to Integrate Science Understanding for All Learners

VISUAL is a research and development project designed to investigate, compare, and refine promising visualizations and to determine when and how they improve science learning.

We will take advantage of cyberlearning by creating new tools and a powerful, open-source learning environment. The learning environment will readily integrate new visualizations, incorporate best practices from research, and support researchers, designers, and teachers.

The VISUAL project will study how visualizations can transform science instruction by addressing the following research questions:

  1. When and how do visualizations improve science learning outcomes?
    • How do students with a wide range of disciplinary knowledge, socioeconomic backgrounds, beliefs about science, and spatial experience learn from visualizations?
    • What makes some visualizations succeed and others fail?
  2. How can visualization-rich curriculum materials enable all students to learn complex science topics?
    • What are the best ways to embed visualizations in instruction, combine hands-on, probeware, and visualization experiences, and design assessments to enable all students to succeed?
    • How can teachers support students as they engage in these practices?
  3. What design practices and cyberlearning tools generalize to new curricula?
    • Which principles and patterns work for new topics and visualizations?
    • Which cyberlearning features consistently help students and teachers use visualizations successfully?
    • How can visualizations connect formal and informal learning?
    • How can we communicate our findings in authoring tools, teachers support tools, and curriculum design environments?