Earth Science instruction is challenged today by rapid information growth and a need to integrate information from a number of disciplines. Fortunately, most of this information is in digital form, so the computer's capacity to integrate, process and display data can help students learn from data. The Lament Data Viewer, originally developed for research, has been modified to help students with this task. With it: students can view large data sets as maps, cross-sections or x-y plots of subdata sets or make calculations on the data set and view the resulting data as similar displays. All calculations and data transformations are made on a large Lament server with the resulting figure or table being transmitted to the user via the Internet. Consequently, students can easily and rapidly access and process large data sets from disparate disciplines and view the resulting figures and tables in similar formats. Easy access to large Earth Science data sets adds a new dimension to the way students can learn about the Earth and requires certain data analysis skills. The educational value of acquiring and using such skills is beyond dispute, for they teach how science is done and are applicable to both scientific and nonscientific inquiry. Nevertheless, learning directly from data is a little explored activity, below the graduate level, and much needs to be learned to maximize the gain from this form of pedagogy. (C) 2000 Published by Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.
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