Impact of Science Teacher Professional Development Through Geospatial Technologies: A 5-Step Program of Support

  • Rita A. HagevikEmail author
  • Harriett S. Stubbs Emeritus
  • Christiane Gioppo
  • Diane C. Whitaker


This study addressed the effectiveness of using geospatial technologies (GT) to provide authentic experiences for teachers and their students in environmental science. The 5-Step GT program is cumulative. Each step increases in complexity, leading participants from basic computer skills and environmental science content to conducting community-based projects. Through a problem-based approach, teachers build upon their own understanding and share knowledge with their students. Continuous support, scientist collaboration, geospatial technology community support, and direct pedagogical instruction proved to be essential components of the program. The program offered flexibility, as participants could repeat each of the five steps as many times as needed. In addition, teachers could become teacher leaders at any level of the 5-Step GT program. Our research showed that approaching teacher professional development from a personal development perspective resulted in teacher expertise and confidence in using geospatial technologies in the teachers’ classrooms.


Environmental education In-service teachers Professional development Geospatial technology Geographic information systems Global positioning systems Google earth Teacher leaders 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rita A. Hagevik
    • 1
    Email author
  • Harriett S. Stubbs Emeritus
    • 2
  • Christiane Gioppo
    • 3
  • Diane C. Whitaker
    • 4
  1. 1.Department BiologyThe University of North Carolina at PembrokePembrokeUSA
  2. 2.Department of Mathematics, Science, and Technology EducationNorth Carolina State UniversityRaleighUSA
  3. 3.Department of Theory and Teaching InternshipFederal University of ParanáCuritibaBrazil
  4. 4.CALS Center for Applied Aquatic EcologyNorth Carolina State UniversityRaleighUSA

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