SZABOLCS CZIGÁNY – LÁSZLÓ NAGYVÁRADI – ERVIN PIRKHOFFER – ÁKOS HALMAI – KITTI KLIMÁSZ – KINGA KISS – ZSUZSANNA M. CSÁSZÁR – JÁNOS VARJAS
University of Pécs, Institute of Geography
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Small-scale modelling is a widespread method for the simulation of large-scale natural processes in the fields of hydrology, hydraulics, geology, geomorphology and river mechanics. At the University of Pécs a computer-controlled sand table (hydrologic and tectonic geomodel) was put into operation in 2014 for both research and educational purposes. The table can be tilted at any arbitrary angle between ±7.5° along its longitudinal axis, and by ±10° along its transversal axis. Lateral deformation of the medium is simulated through the displacement of four lateral pushblades to the extent of 100 mm. The four interior units can be uplifted to model orogenic processes. All motions in the flume are executed by computer-governed electroengines.
Geomodels, flumes and stream tables may ease the understanding of geographic processes through problem-oriented based teaching methods and hand-on-experiences. The benefits of problem-based learning (PBL) have also been confirmed during the visits of various age groups at the geomodel. Our observation during these demonstration sessions revealed one of the major weaknesses of the Hungarian educational system, i.e. teachers are forced to follow the conventional geographical curricula, therefore hindering their adaptation to cutting-edge educational methods and the learning-by-doing approach of the Western European and North American syllabi.
Keywords: computer-controlled geomodel, problem-based learning, geography education, popular science