From the caves to the classroom

By on 26 August, 2014

CSIRO Jenolan Caves

The latest chapter in a long history of mapping technology innovation at JenolanCaves will see students from around Australia explore the caves in virtual reality as part of Australia’s biggest school excursion.

From classrooms around the country, students will go on a digital journey exploring the iconic JenolanCaves, an important scientific environment full of learning opportunities.

As they progress through quests, the students will explore the surrounding environment and complete inquiry based learning tasks that test their core science skills.

This virtual excursion is made possible by the partnership between computer scientists from CSIRO, together with science education experts from 3P Learning to develop ‘immersive learning’ environments.

It combines 3P Learning’s latest educational resource, IntoScience, with high-definition panoramic video and 3D models of real places scanned using CSIRO’s award-winning laser mapping technology, Zebedee. CSIRO’s technology is the first capable of mapping caves with lasers while continuously moving, which makes it more efficient and more detailed than traditional methods.

Acting Flagship director, digital productivity and services, Dr Michael Bruenig said that scientists from CSIRO originally became involved in scanning the JenolanCaves to assist ANSTO with its research into cave formation processes that required three-dimensional maps of the caves.

“It’s exciting to see our cave models now brought to life as a virtual world that students can explore and perform their own scientific investigations in,” Dr Bruenig said.

Students will be able to access the caves through IntoScience, 3P Learning’s latest platform. Using their personalised avatar, they will explore the JenolanCaves and carry out scientific investigations to discover how the caves formed.

3P Learning managing director Tim Power said IntoScience, utilising technology developed by the CSIRO, have created an exciting step forward for education in Australia.

“Students have the freedom to explore and work through problem-based activities in exciting real-world environments. And we have only just begun – this innovation in learning has spectacular potential,” Mr Power said.

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