Skip to main content

Integration of Innovative Technologies for Enhancing Students’ Motivation for Science Learning and Career


This paper analyzes the outcomes of an innovative technology experience for students and teachers (ITEST) project, Mayor’s Youth Technology Corps (MYTCs) in Detroit, MI, which was funded by the NSF ITEST program. The MYTC project offered an integration of two technologies, geographic information system (GIS) and information assurance (IA), to stimulate students’ interests in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) career pathways and learning opportunities among high schools in underserved communities of the City of Detroit. Pre- and post-surveys demonstrated that the MYTC students showed growth in nearly every area covered in the surveys, including dispositions about STEM career and learning. A STEM career goal measure showed that overall interest in having a career in STEM increased 9 % throughout the program, with an additional 10 % for those who participated in an internship experience, the capstone of the MYTC project.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Fig. 3


  • Baker DR (1985) Predictive value of attitude, cognitive ability, and personality to science achievement in the middle school. J Res Sci Teach 22(2):103–113

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Baker TR (2005) Internet-based GIS mapping in support of K-12 education. Prof Geogr 57(1):44–50

    Google Scholar 

  • Bednarz S (1995) Researching new standards: GIS and K-12 geography. In: GIS/LIS ’95 conference proceedings, Nashville, TN, pp 44–52

  • Bednarz SW, Ludwig G (1997) Ten things higher education needs to know about GIS in primary and secondary education. Trans GIS 2(2):123–133

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Bednarz SW, van der Schee J (2006) Europe and the United States: the implementation of geographic information systems in secondary education in two contexts. Technol Pedagogy Educ 15(2):191–205

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Beeler C (2010) Camp trains future cybersecurity experts. Accessed 1 May 2011

  • Bergersen B, Mellerio D, Pedagno T, Noga V, Hartwell B (2012) Winning the cybersecurity war: continuous monitoring, leveraging intelligence data, and government-wide collaboration. Government Technology Research Alliance Council Meeting, Dec 2–4, 2012, Bedford Springs Hotel, Bedford, PA. Accessed 3 June 2013

  • Boss S (2013) Project-based learning: a short history. Accessed 16 July 2013

  • Breetzke G, Eksteen S, Pretorius E (2011) Paper-based GIS: a practical answer to the implementation of GIS education into resource-poor schools in South Africa. J Geogr 110(4):148–157

    Google Scholar 

  • Carver S (2001) Public participation using web-based GIS. Environ Plan B Plan Des 28:803–804

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Clark AM, Monk J, Yool SR (2007) GIS pedagogy, Web-based learning and student achievement. J Geogr High Educ 31(2):225–239

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Donaldson D (2001) With a little help from our friends: implementing geographic information systems (GIS) in K-12 schools. Soc Educ 65(3):147–150

    Google Scholar 

  • Drennon C (2005) Teaching geographic information systems in a problem-based learning environment. J Geogr Higher Educ 29(3):385–402

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Ebenezer J, Columbus R, Kaya O, Zhang L, Ebenezer D (2012) One science teacher’s professional development experience: a case study exploring changes in students’ perceptions of their fluency with innovative technologies. J Sci Educ Technol 21:22–37

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Elder J (1998) Teaching at the edge. In: Elder J (ed) Stories in the land: a place-based environmental education anthology. Great Barrington, The Orion Society

    Google Scholar 

  • GDIA (2011) GIS system administrator. Accessed 9 May 2011

  • Getis A (2008) What holds us together. ArcNews 29(4):1–4

    Google Scholar 

  • Gewin V (2004) Careers and recruitment: mapping opportunities. Nature 427:376–377

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Green DR (1997) Cartography and the internet. Cartogr J 34:23–27

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Guskey TR, Yoon KS (2009) What works in professional development? Phi Delta Kappan 90(7):495–500

    Google Scholar 

  • Hawley W, Valli L (1999) The essentials of effective professional development. In: Darling-Hammond L, Sykes G (eds) Teaching as the learning profession: handbook of policy and practice. Jossey-Bass Publishers, San Francisco

    Google Scholar 

  • Henry P, Semple H (2012) Integrating online GIS into the K-12 curricula: lessons from the development of a collaborative GIS in Michigan. J Geogr 111(1):3–14

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Hunter B, Xie Y (2001) Data tools for real-world learning. Learn Lead Technol 28(7):18–24

    Google Scholar 

  • Kali Y (2002) CILT2000: visualization and modeling. J Sci Educ Technol 11(3):305–310

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Kerski J (2000) The implementation and effectiveness of geographic information systems technology and methods in secondary education. Ph.D. dissertation, University of Colorado at Boulder

  • Kim MS, Kim KY, Lee SI (2013) Pedagogical potential of a web-based GIS application for migration data: a preliminary investigation in the context of South Korea. J Geogr 112(3):97–107

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Krapfel P (1999) Deepening children’s participation through local ecological investigations. In: Smith GA, Williams DR (eds) Ecological education in action. State University of New York Press, Albany, pp 47–64

    Google Scholar 

  • Kulo V, Bodzin A (2013) The impact of a geospatial technology-supported energy. J Sci Educ Technol 22:25–36. doi:10.1007/s10956-012-9373-0

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Lay JG, Chen YW, Chi YL (2013) GIS adoption among senior high school geography teachers in Taiwan. J Geogr 112(3):120–130

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Leidner D, Jarvenpaa S (1995) The use of information technology to enhance management school education: a theoretical view. MIS Q 19(3):265–291

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Li HT, Peng QS, Li YH (2009) Data security analysis of WebGIS based on tile-map technique. In: Proceedings of the 2009 international symposium on web information systems and applications (WISA’09), Nanchang, P. R. China, May 22–24, 2009, pp 190–193

  • Liaghatdar MJ, Soltani A, Abedi A (2011) A validity study of attitudes toward science scale among Iranian secondary school students. Int Educ Stud 4(4):36–46

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Literat I (2013) Participatory mapping with urban youth: the visual elicitation of socio-spatial research data. Learn, Media Technol. doi:10.1080/17439884.2013.782037

  • LRC (2012a) ITEST program snapshot. ITEST Learning Resource Center. Accessed 7 Sept 2013

  • LRC (2012b) ITEST Learning Resource Center, Accessed 7 Sept 2013

  • MRM (Market Research Media) (2013) U.S. Federal Cybersecurity Market Forecast 2013–2018. Accessed 3 June 2013

  • Nabhan GP, Trimble S (1994) The geography of childhood: why children need wild places. Beacon Press, Boston

    Google Scholar 

  • Newson C (2012) About ITEST. Accessed 7 Sept 2013

  • Niedomysl T, Elldér E, Larsson A, Thelin M, Jansund B (2013) Learning benefits of using 2D versus 3D maps: evidence from a randomized controlled experiment. J Geogr 112(3):87–96

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • NRC (National Research Council) (2006) Learning to think spatially: GIS as a support system in the K-12 curriculum. Accessed 18 April 2013

  • NRC (National Research Council) (2010a) Understanding the changing planet: strategic directions for the geographic sciences. The Committee on Strategic Directions for the Geographic Sciences in the Next Decade, Division on Earth and Life Studies, National Research Council. The National Academies Press, Washington, DC, USA, p 172

  • NRC (National Research Council) (2010b) Report of a workshop on the scope and nature of computational thinking. Committee for the workshops on computational thinking computer science and telecommunications board division on engineering and physical sciences. National Academies Press, Washington, DC, USA, pp 3–5

  • NRC (National Research Council) (2011) Expanding underrepresented minority participation: America’s science and technology talent at the crossroads. The National Academies Press, Washington, DC, USA, p 269

  • NSF (2012) Innovative technology experiences for students and teachers (ITEST)—Program solicitation. Accessed 7 Sept 2013

  • Owen SV, Toepperwein MA, Marshall CE, Lichtenstein MJ, Blalock CL, Liu Y, Pruski LA, Grimes K (2008) Finding pearls: psychometric reevaluation of the Simpson–Troost Attitude Questionnaire (STAQ). Sci Educ 92(6):1076–1095

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Peng ZR, Tsou MS (2003) Internet GIS: distributed geographic information services for the internet and wireless networks. Wiley, New York

    Google Scholar 

  • Rohrer RM, Swing E (1997) Web-based information visualization. IEEE Comput Graph Appl 17:63–69

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Rye J, Landenberger R, Warner TA (2012) Incorporating concept mapping in project-based learning: Lessons from watershed investigations. J Sci Educ Technol. doi:10.1007/s10956-012-9400-1

  • Sánchez J, Olivares R (2011) Problem solving and collaboration using mobile serious games. Comput Educ 57:1943–1952

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Scher L, O’Reilly F (2009) Professional development for K-12 math and science teachers: what do we really know? J Res Educ Eff 2(3):209–249

    Google Scholar 

  • Simpson RD, Oliver JS (1985) Attitude toward science and achievement motivation profiles of male and female science students in grades six through ten. Sci Educ 69(4):511–525

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Simpson RD, Troost KM (1982) Influences on commitment to and learning of science among adolescent students. Sci Educ 66:763–781

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Stake JE, Mares KR (2005) Evaluating the impact of science-enrichment programs on adolescents’ science motivation and confidence: the splashdown effect. J Res Sci Teach 42(4):359–375

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Tobin K (2005) Using science education to expand the agency of urban youth—keynote address. Paper presented at the Second Annual Symposium on Optimizing Science Achievement for All Students, University of Maryland Institute for Minority Achievement and Urban Education

  • Tomei L (2012) Advancing education with information communication technologies: facilitating new trends. IGI Global, p 456. doi:10.4018/978-1-61350-468-0

  • USCB—U.S. Census Bureau (2013) 2007–2011 American community survey (ACS) 5-year estimates—demographic and housing estimates Accessed 4 June 2013

  • USDL-BLS (U.S. Department of Labor—Bureau of Labor Statistics) (2004) BLS releases 2002–2012 employment projections, February 11, 2004. Accessed 1 June 2013

  • USDL-BLS (U.S. Department of Labor—Bureau of Labor Statistics) (2012) Employment projections—2010–2020, February 1, 2012. Accessed 1 June 2013

  • USDL-ETA (U.S. Department of Labor—Employment and Training Administration) (2010) High growth industry profile—geospatial technology, Accessed 4 June 2013

  • van Eijck M, Roth W (2007) Rethinking the role of information technology-based research tools in students’ development of scientific literacy. J Sci Educ Technol 16(3):225–238

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Wang CH, Ke YT, Wu JT, Hsu WH (2012) Collaborative action research on technology integration for science learning. J Sci Educ Technol 21:125–132. doi:10.1007/s10956-011-9289-0

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Wessels T (1999) Reading the landscape’s history. In: Zwinger Ann (ed) Into the field: a guide to locally focused teaching. The Orion Society, Great Barrington

    Google Scholar 

  • Whittaker Z (2013) Obama’s cybersecurity executive order: what you need to know. ZDNet, February 13, 2013. Accessed 3 June 2013

  • Wing J (2006) Computational thinking. Commun ACM 49(3):33–35

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Zogby (2011) The state of K-12 cyberethics, cybersafety and cybersecurity curriculum in the United States. Accessed 18 Sept 2013

Download references


This paper was supported in part by Innovative Technology Experience for Students and Teachers Program at NSF under the Award #, DRL-0737589. The supports from Information Assurance Program at Eastern Michigan University, Detroit Public Schools, and the City of Detroit Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, and the evaluation data collection and analysis from The Education Design, INC, are also acknowledged.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to Yichun Xie.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Xie, Y., Reider, D. Integration of Innovative Technologies for Enhancing Students’ Motivation for Science Learning and Career. J Sci Educ Technol 23, 370–380 (2014).

Download citation

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI:


  • Science education
  • STEM career
  • Student motivation
  • Geo-spatial technology
  • Information assurance
  • Innovative technology
  • Future career
  • Low-income cities