on March 17, 2001
The purpose of this educational CD-ROM is to teach and review skills and concepts for basic earth and space science classes. Its 300,000 words of text are divided into 14 lessons organized into five sections: Earth System; Geology; Hydrology and Oceanography; Weather and Climate; and Satellite Remote Sensing. The software also includes 25 appendices, 25 minutes of digital video, dozens of interactive projects and virtual labs, narration and music, a link to the EarthStation web channel, and a teacher's manual.
In addition to the textbook information and assignments, each section provides interesting facts, videos and animations, pictures, charts, and interactive exercises. The lessons also usually provide a student assessment tool and an associated appendix where more detailed information on the topics can be found for curious students.
High school and undergraduate instructors will find the variety of the lessons useful in introductory and basic classes. Instructors will also find that the details of the appendices and the easy-to-find organization of the topics, exercises, and videos permit the disc to be used as a review or outline in upper-level specific classes such as petrology, mineralogy, and sedimentology.
The interactive exercises provide a clever and amusing way to teach important skills and concepts that can be difficult to explain. For example, instead of merely defining the Coriolis effect, the CD also presents the user with a game in which the player must consider the deflection caused by the rotating earth to hit a target at high latitudes from a location at the equator. Other concepts and skills successfully demonstrated by the software's interactive exercises include radioactive decay and the geological activity of plate boundaries.
Fully interactive virtual labs such as the Rock & Mineral ID Lab allow students to choose between 16 minerals on which to run a battery of tests, including hardness, streak, acid reaction, luster, magnetism, cleavage/fracture, color, luminescence, and specific gravity. The software supplies all of the virtual equipment and provides a Mineral Data Sheet printout form for students to see the results of their testing. The entire lab also sets up and tears down in less than 10 seconds.
E-O-A-S Explorer, Version 5.0 is a useful teaching aid. The software's multimedia features are extensive and include online links and reference material. The interactive exercises are meaningful, and challenging concepts are built into the lesson design to give teachers/students at different levels opportunities to extend learning in many ways.
- Loretta A. Leist, research staff member, Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences, Miami, FL 33149-1098.
Review also available in the Journal of College Science Teaching, December 2000/January 2001, Volume XXX, Number 4
on November 4, 2002
I am an Earth Science teacher and recently purchased this software for use in our curriculum. My colleagues and I reviewed the CD and concur that although the disk presents a lot of information, the presentation, and most specifically, the graphics in the videos and animations, pictures, charts, and interactive exercises are so amateurish that students are not going to be able to learn very much from it. Almost all of the graphics are poorly drawn animations. The Rocks and Minerals Lab was the only activity that we felt was salvageable.