Eyes in the Sky: Facilitating Classroom Research Using Geospatial Technology
Eyes in the Sky was a professional development program created by TERC with funding from the National Science Foundation’s (NSF’s) Innovative Technology Experiences for Students and Teachers (ITEST) program. Key components of the program included (1) a 12-week distance learning course, (2) a 2-week summer workshop, (3) a classroom implementation phase, and (4) a culminating research showcase. A major goal of Eyes in the Sky was for participating teachers to increase their use of geospatial technology in their classrooms and to use geospatial technology in authentic science investigations. Long after completing the program, over half of the teachers who had participated in Eyes in the Sky reported continued student engagement in data-based investigations using geospatial technology. The following aspects of the program helped make the Eyes in the Sky program successful: (1) delivering a 12-week distance learning course prior to the summer workshop experience, (2) placing teachers in the roles of pedagogical experts in the implementation of curricular materials with their students, (3) providing teachers with the opportunity to practice-teach with students during the summer workshop, and (4) collaboratively involving geospatial technology professionals in the professional development. Instead of simply delivering talks about their careers, the professionals highlighted data representative of their work and guided students through analysis of that data.
KeywordsDistance learning Authentic science Geospatial professionals Geospatial careers
Although LuAnn Dahlman was not able to contribute to writing this chapter, she was an integral part of the Eyes in the Sky project team. We sincerely thank her for the opportunity to collaborate in designing and carrying out this professional development program. In addition, we acknowledge and appreciate the efforts of Larry Kendall, another project team member, who provided countless hours of technical support throughout the project. Joe McAuliffe provided research findings and Laura Uhl edited drafts of our initial project proposal. As for our respective spouses, each also offered support in ways too numerous to cite. Eyes in the Sky was supported by a grant from the National Science Foundation* (ITEST Award #0322566) and a donation of ArcView GIS site licenses from ESRI to each of our participating teachers. *Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this chapter are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.
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