Teaching Science and Investigating Environmental Issues with Geospatial Technology

Designing Effective Professional Development for Teachers

  • James MaKinster
  • Nancy Trautmann
  • Michael Barnett

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xi
  2. James MaKinster, Nancy Trautmann, Michael Barnett
    Pages 1-9
  3. Designing Effective Professional Development Projects

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 11-11
    2. Michael Barnett, Meredith Houle, Sheron L. Mark, Daphne Minner, Linda Hirsch, Eric Strauss et al.
      Pages 13-33
    3. Lisa M. Blank, Jeffrey W. Crews, Randy Knuth
      Pages 65-81
    4. Steven D. Moore, Don Haviland, Allison Whitmer, Jenny Brady
      Pages 99-117
    5. Beth Kubitskey, Barry Fishman, Heather Johnson, Kirsten Mawyer, Daniel Edelson
      Pages 153-171
    6. Rita A. Hagevik, Harriett S. Stubbs Emeritus, Christiane Gioppo, Diane C. Whitaker
      Pages 173-190
  4. Designing and Implementing Innovative and Effective Curricular Materials

  5. Final Chapters

About this book


This book provides research-grounded and practically-minded insights into teacher professional development in support of integrating GIS and other geospatial technologies into K-12 science teaching. In this volume 50 designers, educators and researchers share their experiences, knowledge, and lessons learned from a wide variety of projects. Readers will find a myriad of ideas and perspectives that they can apply to their own teacher professional development projects, as they work to provide students with engaging opportunities for learning science.

Geospatial technologies enable teachers to teach in fundamentally new ways, building student interest and skill through active engagement in critical thinking and project or inquiry-based learning. Students are naturally drawn to looking at landscapes and interpreting features through analysis of both shape and form. Given the chance to manipulate spatial data, students revel in deciphering mysteries, exploring scientific explanations, and linking causes with consequences.

The passion and interest demonstrated by students using geospatial tools has motivated an increasing number of K-12 teachers to embrace the use of these technologies for teaching and learning science. Given the nature and complexity of these tools, high quality professional development is essential for providing teachers with the support and guidance they need to use geospatial technologies effectively.

This book will be of special interest to scientists, geographers, and science educators who are designing or delivering teacher professional development in support of teaching with technology. The case studies make it possible for readers to identify specific paths forward regarding both research and practice.

GIS and other geospatial technologies offer teachers an effective way to engage students in the analysis of authentic data in ways called for by the Next Generation Science Standards and the National Geography Standards. With the improvements in the usability of the tools, the time is right to bring GIS and other geospatial technologies into all K-12 classrooms. The chapters in this book will enable teachers and teacher educators to make that happen.

Daniel C. Edelson, Ph.D., Vice President for Education, National Geographic Society

While increasing numbers of people use basic geospatial technologies, their power to enliven science has not yet been explored by most educators. This robust and thoughtful compilation focuses on how to support teachers as they introduce and implement these technologies in their classes. It examines curricular, philosophical, pedagogical, and professional development considerations through an array of real-world projects. Of particular interest are explanations of how programs were tailored to meet the varied needs of participating teachers and their students. I encourage educators who work with pre-service or in-service science, environmental science, social studies, or geography teachers to build their efforts based on the insights accumulated in this collection.

Christine M. Cunningham, Ph.D., Vice President, Museum of Science, Boston

This is the finest collection of professional development wisdom from thought leaders across 20 years of GIS and science education. It's a must read for educators, researchers, and curriculum developers interested in emerging educational technologies.

Tom Baker, ESRI


GIS GIS4MT GIT SpatialSci design experiments educational technology environmental education geographic information systems geographic information technology geography education geospatial skills geospatial technology science education teacher professional development urban ecology

Editors and affiliations

  • James MaKinster
    • 1
  • Nancy Trautmann
    • 2
  • Michael Barnett
    • 3
  1. 1.Hobart & William Smith CollegesGenevaUSA
  2. 2.Cornell Laboratory of OrnithologyIthacaUSA
  3. 3.Lynch School of EducationBoston CollegeChestnut HillUSA

Bibliographic information