Friday, August 23, 2013

Virtual Fieldwork & Ancient Denvers: A Teacher Professional Development Workshop Series at the Museum of the Earth

Last Updated: August 23, 2013

This fall, the Museum of the Earth at the Paleontological Research Institution (in cooperation with the Geological Society of America), will offer a series of professional development workshops on creating and using Virtual Fieldwork Experiences (VFEs). The workshop series will include live connection to the Geological Society of America's field trip to Colorado's Dinosaur Ridge and Red Rocks Park. In concert with trip leaders and participants, a VFE of Ancient Denvers will be developed for use in your classrooms.

The workshop series brings our popular Virtual Fieldwork and Teacher Friendly Guide professional development programming back to Central New York for the first time in many years!

The workshop series includes two face-to-face sessions and a final online session. The dates and times are:
  • Saturday, October 5, 2013 from 2:00 to 5:00 p.m. EDT, in Ithaca;
  • Sunday, October 27, 2013 from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. EDT, in Ithaca;  and;
  • Either:
    • Wednesday, December 4, 2013 from 7:00 to 8:30 pm EST, online, or,
    • Saturday, December 7, 2013 from 10:30 am to noon EST, online,

Registrants should plan to attend all three sessions. The registration form is linked below and here. Registration is free but space is limited! Sign up today! 

Participants should bring their own laptop computers to the workshops. 

On Saturday, October 5, 2013 from 2:00 to 5:00 p.m., the first workshop will offer an introduction to VFEs, including approaches and resources for their use and how to make your own with your students. We will work with a draft of the Ancient Denvers VFE and develop suggestions for the most important and practical ways to extend it. We will also work examples from New York State and share tools, strategies and resources for participants to create their own.

The morning of the first workshop, from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. on October 5, the Museum of the Earth will also host its annual Teacher Resource Day. 
  • Meet Museum of the Earth scientists and educators!
  • Take home free fossils, specimens, and publications.
  • See our new permanent exhibit on glaciers and our new coral tanks! 
  • Learn about museum exhibit design and get an advanced look at "Moving Carbon, Changing Earth," our upcoming exhibit on the carbon cycle, from the Museum of the Earth's Director of Exhibitions, Beth Stricker.
Register here for Teacher Resource Day or for both Teacher Resource Day and Virtual Fieldwork & Ancient Denvers! 

To register just for Virtual Fieldwork & Ancient Denvers, click here.

On Sunday, October 27,2013 from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m., participants will continue their work and also engage in live discussion with geologists and teachers in the field at Colorado's Dinosaur Ridge and Red Rocks Park. Participants in the actual field trip will be collecting data and taking pictures for inclusion in the Ancient Denvers VFE. Participants in the Virtual Fieldwork (those at the Museum of the Earth) will join via live interactive video at two field sites -- stromatolites in the Lykins Formation and dinosaur trackways in the Dakota Formation (shown in the first Gigapan below).

The field trip description, for those going on the actual field trip is here (scroll down to #418). It is also included at the end of this announcement.

In December, there will be two online sessions to share the updated Ancient Denvers VFE and to discuss its use, and the use of VFEs in teaching more broadly. Field trip participants will also participate in the calls. Participants should plan to attend one of the two final online sessions.

Participate in one or the other of the online wrap-up webinars:

  • Wednesday, December 4, 2013 from 7:00 to 8:30 pm EST, or,
  • Saturday, December 7, 2013 from 10:30 am to noon EST.

Here are a couple of high resolution images from the field sites:

See these Gigapans and more in A Google Earth file here. Additions will be made to Google Earth file before the first workshop, and we will add to it and create other resources for the VFE as the program progresses.

You will also want to download the Colorado and New York Google Earth geologic maps from the US Geological Survey's Digital geologic maps of the US states page.

Check back to this site for updates.


  • Don Duggan-Haas & Alexander Wall, PRI & its Museum of the Earth (in Ithaca and Colorado)
  • Sarah Miller, DCMO BOCES (in Ithaca)
  • Lon Abbott, University of Colorado (in Colorado)
  • Richard Kissel, Yale University Peabody Museum (in Colorado)

Instructional Technology Support:

  • Brian Gollands, PRI & its Museum of the Earth
  • Rene Carver, GST BOCES

Additional Support:

  • Justin Samuel, Geological Society of America (in Colorado)
  • Davida Buehler, Geological Society of America (in Colorado) 
  • And others will be added!

Field Trip Description:

418. Ancient Denvers: A Journey through the Front Range’s Geologic History. 
Sun., 27 Oct. US$88 (L, R).
Leader: Lon D. Abbott, University of Colorado
Cosponsor: GSA Geosciences Education Division
Show Leader Bio
On this trip, we will journey through the entire geologic history of Denver. Of necessity, the coverage of each chapter in that story is general. The trip is intended for convention attendees who seek a broad overview of the area’s geologic history, for their guests, and for K–12 teachers. We will start by viewing the evocative “Ancient Colorados” paintings at the Colorado Convention Center. From there we head to Red Rocks amphitheater to begin our conversation with the rocks that narrate the story depicted by the paintings. At the amphitheater, we will listen to rocky tales (via our observations of their characteristics) of Denver’s changing landscape between about 1700–250 million years ago. Next, we’ll journey to nearby Dinosaur Ridge, where the rocks pick up the story of Denver from the Jurassic to the middle Cretaceous. From there, we’ll travel to the Colorado School of Mines campus, where we can walk in the footsteps of latest Cretaceous dinosaurs. We will end our journey through time with trips to South Table Mountain and Green Mountain, whose rocks tell stories of the birth of the Rocky Mountains at the dawn of the Cenozoic era.

Register here.
To register for both Teacher Resource Day and Virtual Fieldwork & Ancient Denvers, use this form instead.  

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Making a Zoomable Image Using Prezi

This post will show you how to convert a series of photos taken at different distances (or different zoom levels), compile them into a "zoomable image" in a small Prezi, (and maybe embed that into a Google Earth placemark).

What do I mean by "zoomable image?" Take a look:

Click "Start Prezi" and then the forward arrow to zoom in and you'll see what I mean.

How do you make a zoomable image in Prezi?

Note that a video is below the instructions that steps you through the process. 

Note that Internet Explorer makes this procedure more difficult than it is in Firefox, Chrome or Safari. Step 8 will not work in Internet Explorer, so use one of these other browsers.

The steps to create your zoomable image are:

  1. Take pictures of a feature from either multiple distances or using the zoom of your camera to give the same effect.
  2. Either download those pictures to your computer or upload them to the web.
  3. Go to
  4. Log in if you have an account or create one if you don't. Everything shown here can be done with the free account. If you are a teacher or student, be sure to sign up for the education account as it provides more features for free. 
  5. Create a blank Prezi -- I suggest not using a template for this kind of Prezi.
  6. Delete the title. We'll create our own later.
  7. Click on the "Insert" button at the top of the edit window. 
  8. Choose "Image."
    • If uploading from your computer, hit the "Select files..." button and upload your picture.
    • If using photos on the Internet, (from Picasa or Flickr, for example), 
      • go to the picture in a window or tab separate from your Prezi. Right-click (or control-click) on the picture to bring up a pop-menu. The pop-up menu includes an option to "Copy Image Address" or something similar. The exact wording is different in Firefox, Chrome and Safari, but they all include the option. 
      • Select that option to copy the image URL.
      • Return to your Prezi, still in edit mode, and paste in the URL in the Insert Image box.
  9. Zoom to the approximate area of your next picture.
  10. Repeat step 8 to insert the next image. 
  11. Align the second picture on top of the first:
    • To move the picture, click and drag on the hand in the picture's center. 
    • To resize, click and drag any corner.
    • To rotate, scroll to the corner and grab the round handle that sticks out from the corner. 
  12. Repeat with each image.
  13. To put in a path:
    • Click the pencil icon on the left side of the screen. 
    • Click on each picture in your series in the order you would like to zoom.
    • The pictures will appear along the left side, showing the order. You can click and drag to reorder. 
  14. Add a title by double clicking. If your pictures have a clear space, like sky, you may insert the title on top of the picture. In the example in the video, the title is above the picture. 
  15. In the past, it was possible to embed Prezis into Google Earth placemarks. At this writing, that feature is not working. When it did work, you simply copied the embed code from Prezi and pasted it into the placemark in Google Earth. 
Click the video to see the steps to create a zoomable image in Prezi. 

Monday, March 4, 2013

Creating Virtual Fieldwork Experiences as Professional Development

Updated March 31, 2014

This post is an overview of both how creating Virtual Fieldwork Experiences (VFEs) can serve as professional development and a brief resource guide for creating them. It's an update of materials created for conference workshops, and the entire text with illustrations can be downloaded as a pdf below. The entire post (excluding this introduction) may be downloaded as a pdf, or specific parts and associated resources may be downloaded separately.

The worksheets ask questions that can be asked of any site, though the Ecology Worksheet requires defining specific locations within the site for closer examination. They are Microsoft Word documents so that teachers may adapt to the specifics of their field sites and curriculum needs.