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Name of Collaboratory :


CoVis - Learning through Collaborative Visualization (CoVis)


URL :  

Collaboratory Status :

Completed   Start Date : 1992 End Date : 1998 Info Last Updated : Fri, Dec 5 2003 4:01am PST

Primary Collaboratory Function :

  Distributed Research Center  

Secondary Collaboratory Functions :

  Virtual Learning Community  

Domain(s) :

  K-12 science education, educational technology

Brief Description of the Collaboratory :


CoVis was a 5 year project to develop and use a set of advanced communications technologies to support project-enhanced K-12 science classrooms. Emphasis was placed on students working together to do authentic scientific inquiry. This project brought together researchers at Northwestern, teachers in Chicago-area and other schools, and other experts from SRI, Bellcore, the San Francisco Exploratorium, and the University of Illinois.

Over the course of the project several collaborative tools were developed:
1. The Weather Visualizer and Climate Visualizer for scientific visualization of atmospheric data using GIS technology adapted for students
2. The Collaboratory Notebook to support small group communication and project management in science classes
3. The Mentor Database, used to match students with professional mentors who would advise them on projects.

CoVis also worked on curriculum development and teacher professional development to facilitate the integration of technology into the science classroom.


Access to Instruments :


Access to Information Resources :

  visualization tools (accessed atmospheric data in visual format appropriate for K-12 students)  

Access to People as Resources :


Funding Agency or Sponsor :

Illinois State Board of Education
SBC (this-used-to-be-Ameritech-SBC)

Notes on Funding Agencies/Sponsors:


Notes on Participants/Organizations:


Communications Technology Used :

  Students were provided with videoconferencing tools (Cruiser from Bellcore), screen-sharing, email, and an online discussion system for use in science projects.  

Technical Capabilities :

  Management of technical resources
Access control/login facilities
Simulation, modeling, visualization
Support for transition between synch and asynch
Directory of services/experts/resources
Asynchronous object sharing
Index/metadata, Vetted knowledge based of multiple authors, Common file space, Email/attachments
Asynchronous conversation
Threaded discussion, Email
Synchronous object sharing
Share visualization, Application sharing
Synchronous conversation
Audio, Video
  Key Articles :  

Edelson, D. C., Pea, R. D., & Gomez, L. M. (1996). The Collaboratory notebook. Communications of the ACM, 39, 32-33.

Finholt, T. A. (2003). Collaboratories as a new form of scientific organization Economics of Innovation and New Technology, 12(1), 5-25.

Fishman, B. (2000). How activity fosters CMS tool use in classrooms: Reinventing innovations in local contexts. Journal of Interactive Learning, 11(1), 3-27.

Gomez, L., Fishman, B., & Pea, R. (1998). The CoVis project: Building a large-scale science education testbed. Interactive Learning Environments, 6(1-2), 59-92.

Pea, R. D. (1993). The Collaborative Visualization Project. Communications of the ACM, 36, 60-63.


Project-reported performance data :

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