Project Overview

Virtual Galapagos: An Innovative Science Outreach Project

Faculty Sponsor

Karen Harpp (




The objective of this project is to design a way for children around the world to learn science by visiting the Galapagos Islands, virtually. We are designing modules that allow students to explore the Galapagos, through images, maps, interactive activities, and video. These explorations lead them to explanations of previous and ongoing scientific investigations, carried out by researchers across the sciences. During the summer, the creative team will write educational modules and implement them as online activities, design interactive experiences for children using the resource, produce whiteboard animations to explain scientific concepts, carry out interviews with leading scientific experts in Galapagos research, and produce videos introducing those scientists’ work to kids. Ultimately, our goal is to convey fundamental concepts about geology, volcanology, conservation ecology, and evolutionary biology to children as a kind of “make your own adventure”. We will also be working with colleagues in the Galapagos to integrate naturalist guide content into the outreach project. Finally, we are putting the resource on a small, affordable solar-powered base that will allow us to share the outreach project with educational groups in the Galapagos and beyond, something we need to develop this summer in detail.
The students participating in this project will be working with Karen Harpp (in Geology) and Joe Eakin (from the Vis Lab) as members of our creative team.  We expect students to be creative, open to experimentation, willing to learn and use a variety of different technologies (video editing, app programming, animation design), carry out research in a range of scientific fields from geology to biology, have a profound interest in education and science outreach, interface professionally with scientists doing research in the Galapagos, think innovatively about using technological tools in education, be committed to producing resources for children to learn science, and, most importantly, be able to think like a kid most of the time.

Student Qualifications

Students need to have a strong interest in bringing science to children in innovative ways. Preferably, students will have a background in either geology, biology, or educational studies. Individuals with video editing, photographic, basic programming for the web, and/or artistic inclinations are particularly encouraged to apply, as are students with previous experience working with children in educational/outreach settings. Students need to be bold, innovative, intellectually playful, and open to experimentation.

Number of Student Researchers

2 students

Project Length

10 weeks / student weeks

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If you have questions, please contact Karyn Belanger (