of Education and Learning Sciences
Developed and based at Northwestern University under my leadership, The Learning through Collaborative Visualization (CoVis) Project was launched with NSF funding in early 1992 and completed in 1998, in partnership with The Exploratorium, the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign Atmospheric Sciences Department, Bellcore, Ameritech, Apple, Sun Microsystems, Spyglass, and school partners. Louis Gomez joined our team from Bellcore in 1994 as Professor.
Through the use
of advanced technologies, the CoVis Project sought to transform science learning
to better resemble the authentic practices of science. The CoVis Project explored
issues of scaling, diversity, and sustainability as they related to the use
of networking technologies to enable high school students to work in collaboration
with remote students, teachers, and scientists on project-based inquiry science
Participating students studied atmospheric and environmental sciences through inquiry-based activities. Using state of the art scientific visualization software, specially modified to be appropriate to a learning environment, students had access to the same research tools and data sets used by leading-edge scientists in the field. The CoVis Project provided students with a range of collaboration and communication tools. These included: desktop video teleconferencing; shared software environments for remote, real-time collaboration; access to the resources of the Internet; a multimedia scientists notebook; and scientific visualization software. In addition to deploying fundamentally new learning technologies, we worked closely with teachers at participating schools to develop new curricula and new pedagogical approaches that take advantage of project-enhanced science learning. Thousands of schools used the CoVis Geosciences Web Server for curriculum support, project and activity ideas, and access to datasets and analysis tools.
At its peak activity, CoVis was a community of thousands of students, many hundreds of teachers, and dozens of researchers all working together to find new ways to think about and practice science in the classroom. This research is being continued under the auspices of the Center for Learning Technologies in Urban Schools (LeTUS) and a number of other research projects in the Learning Sciences Program at Northwestern. The CoVis web site now serves as an archive of CoVis materials.