8th International Nannoplankton Association Conference
Microworld simulations are computer simulations that create virtual worlds in which the conditions that dominate a specific reality ('world') can be 'played', controlled and operated by the user. Microworld simulations are currently among the most attractive educational and training applications of the virtual capabilities of multimedia. They combine a 'real-world experience' with fun and engagement, and lead to an in-depth and serious learning of the investigated topic.
Frontiers Ahead! is an award-winning microworld simulation in the curricular domains of geography, life science, earth science and history. Being inspired by the famous 19th Century exploration of the mid-west and western USA, made by Lewis and Clarke, the program takes the student into an unknown terrain that should be explored. In the simulation, the students play the role of 19th Century explorers who explore an unknown terrain in seeking for passages through it. The students have to navigate in the terrain, use a sextant to find their location, identify rocks, minerals, soils, plants and animals. They generate maps for various uses, such as soil quality maps and maps of useful minerals. Besides solving scientific problems as they work, the students acquire various map skills and logical thinking skills, as they work with Frontiers Ahead!.
Frontiers Ahead! was developed within the scope of a large-scale, technology-integration thematic-learning project that was conducted with 60 schools in a US elementary school district between the years 1993 and 1998, under the author's supervision.
Copyright © 2000, most recent revision July 24, 2000Tania Hildebrand-Habel (email@example.com)