For Parvinder Sethi, applying emergent technology to teaching is as much a joy as the landscape that makes up the world's geology.
The RU Professor of Geology had a unique opportunity to meet with the engineers who developed the technology used by NASA on its Curiosity 2 expedition to photograph the Martian landscape. During his week-long visit with GigaPan, makers of ultra-high-resolution imagery systems, he shared his experience from using their technology and his view of its potential.
At the company's factory and research facility in Portland, Oregon, Sethi, who has produced two multi-media products for teaching geology, worked in the field and the conference room with the team to enhance the educator's end user experience.
"The tour of their operations facility allowed for two important things to happen in my mind as an end-user - first, it demystified the whole black robotic box aspect of the hardware," he said. "Second, it allowed me to understand the mechanics of the hardware from the inside to the outside, rather than just the outside - both of which will hopefully allow me to create better geological imagery for my students at RU."
He described his time at GigaPan as "an open dialogue." He said they were eager to hear more about the potential Sethi sees for using their technology to help students discover the process of scientific discovery in a powerful, visual way.
"They were completely absorbed in what I had to share and they asked when I would need their solutions," he said.
Along with his faculty colleagues in the department of geology, Sethi is developing a project using GigaPan imagery to create a series of virtual field trips for RU students to national parks and local, regional and state parks of geologic interest. This summer, that effort will take preliminary steps forward as Sethi and Geology Department Chair Jonathon Tso will scan, or photograph in minute detail, a section of local roadside that exposes a rich example of geologic activity.