Advertisement

The Inquiring with GIS (iGIS) Project: Helping Teachers Create and Lead Local GIS-Based Investigations

  • Cathlyn D. StylinskiEmail author
  • Cassie Doty
Chapter

Abstract

Local environmental investigations can engage students with science content, while helping link prior knowledge to new understanding. Geospatial technologies offer a powerful visualization and analysis tool for these community-based activities; however, they present many challenges for classroom teachers. The Inquiring with GIS (iGIS) project sought to take advantage of the benefits of geospatial technologies as a tool for teaching and learning while addressing these challenges. Local investigations are a valuable and effective approach to learning, and this project draws on that theory alongside established features of effective teacher professional development: focus on content knowledge, proximity to practice (including curriculum-link training), active learning, coherence, collective participation, extended duration, and access to necessary classroom resources. This approach helped ensure high participant retention and classroom implementation. The findings indicate that, with the appropriate resources, teachers new to GIS can adapt GIS-based investigations for their local communities. The results also highlight the value of integrating informal education experience within K-12 teacher professional development. Ultimately, education practitioners and researchers need to better understand the long-term impacts of technology-based professional development on teaching practices as well as understand how effective strategies support the integration of geospatial technologies in the classroom.

Keywords

Community-based Local investigations Watersheds Youth education 

Notes

Acknowledgments 

This work is supported by National Science Foundation grants (#0422545, 0533730, and 07573990). Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this material do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation. Special thanks to PASCO Scientific for lending field probes and providing discounted school-wide licenses for the My World GIS software. Thanks also to iGIS staff members, school administrators, and, most of all, iGIS participants for their hard work, support, and enthusiasm of this project.

References

  1. Avery, L. M., & Carlsen, W. S. (2001). Knowledge, identity, and teachers’ multiple communities of practice. Paper presented at the National Association for Research in Science Teaching. St. Louis, MO.Google Scholar
  2. Baker, T. R., & White, S. H. (2003). The effects of G.I.S. on students’ attitudes, self-efficacy, and achievement in middle school science classrooms. Journal of Geography, 102, 243–254.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Basista, B., Tomlin, J., Pennington, K., & Pugh, D. (2001). Inquiry-based integrated science and mathematics professional development. Education, 121(3), 615–624.Google Scholar
  4. Bebell, D., Russell, M., & O’Dwyer, L. (2004). Measuring teachers’ technology uses: why multiple-measures area more revealing. Journal of Research on Technology in Education, 37(1), 45–63.Google Scholar
  5. Becker, H. J. (2000). Findings from the teaching, learning, and computing survey: Is Larry Cuban right? [Electronic Version]. Education policy analysis archives, 8(51). Retrieved September 2, 2008, from http://epaa.asu.edu/epaa/v8n51/.
  6. Bednarz, S. W., & Bednarz, R. S. (2008). Spatial thinking: The key to success in using geospatial technologies in the social studies classroom. In A. J. Milson & M. Alibrandi (Eds.), Digital geography: Geospatial technology in the social studies classroom (pp. 249–270). Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing.Google Scholar
  7. Bell, R. L., & Trundle, K. C. (2008). The use of a computer simulation to promote scientific concepts of moon phase. Journal of Research on Science Teaching, 445(3), 346–372.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Blank, R. K., de las Alas, N., & Smith, C. (2008). Does teacher professional development have effects on teaching and learning? Analysis of evaluation findings from programs for mathematics and science teachers in 14 states. Washington, DC: Council of Chief State School Officers.Google Scholar
  9. Bodzin, A. M. (2008). Integrating instructional technologies in a local watershed investigation with urban elementary learners. The Journal of Environmental Education, 39(2), 47–57.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Brinkerhoff, J. D. (2006). Effects of a long duration, professional development academy on technology skills, computer self-efficacy, and technology integration beliefs and practices. Journal of Research on Technology in Education, 39(1), 22–43.Google Scholar
  11. Carlsen, W. (2001). The sociological context of environmental science and its use in rethinking scientific inquiry. Paper presented at the National Association for Research in Science Teaching. St. Louis, MO.Google Scholar
  12. Cohen, D. K., & Hill, H. C. (2001). Learning policy: What state education reform works. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
  13. Dede, C., Ketelhut, D. J., Whitehouse, P., Breit, L., & McCloskey, E. M. (2009). A research agenda for online teacher professional development. Journal of Teacher Education, 60(1), 8–19.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Desimone, L. M., Porter, A. C., Garet, M. S., Yoon, K. S., & Birman, B. F. (2002). Effects of professional development on teachers’ instructions: Results from a three-year longitudinal study. Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, 24(2), 81–112.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Doering, A., Velestsianos, G., & Scharber, C. (2008). Coming of age: Research and pedagogy on geospatial technologies with K-12 social studies education. In A. J. Milson & M. Alibrandi (Eds.), Digital geography: Geospatial technologies in the social studies classroom (pp. 213–226). Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing.Google Scholar
  16. Donahue, T. P., Lewis, L. B., Price, L. E., & Schmidt, D. C. (1998). Bringing science to life through community-based watershed education. Journal of Science Education and Technology, 7(1), 15–23.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Easton, L. B. (2008). From professional development to professional learning. Phi Delta Kappan, 89(10), 755–761.Google Scholar
  18. Edelson, D. (2008). Beyond interactive mapping: Bridging data analysis with GIS into the social studies classroom. In A. J. Milson & M. Alibrandi (Eds.), Digital geography: Geospatial technologies in the social studies classroom (pp. 77–98). Charlotte, NC: IAP.Google Scholar
  19. Edelson, D., Smith, D. A., Brown, M., & Russell, E. (2006). Designing GIS tools to address the needs of educational users. Paper presented at the ESRI Education User Conference. San Diego, CA.Google Scholar
  20. Ertmer, P. A. (2005). Teacher pedagogical beliefs: The final frontier in our quest for technology integration? Educational Technology Research and Development, 53(4), 25–39.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Fishman, L. (2005). The effects of local learning on environmental awareness in children: An empirical investigation. The Journal of Environmental Education, 36(3), 39–50.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Garet, M. S., Porter, A. C., Desimone, L. M., Birman, B. F., & Yoon, K. S. (2001). What makes professional development effective? Results from a national sample of teachers. American Educational Research Journal, 38(4), 915–945.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Gordon, D. N., & Pea, R. D. (1995). Prospects for scientific visualization as an educational technology. Journal of Science Education and Technology, 4, 249–279.Google Scholar
  24. Granger, C. A., Morbey, M. L., Lotherington, H., Owston, R. D., & Wideman, H. H. (2002). Factors contributing to teachers’ successful implementation of IT. Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, 18(4), 480–488.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Hew, K. F., & Brush, T. (2007). Integrating technology into K-12 teaching and learning: current knowledge gaps and recommendations for future research. Education Technology Research and Development, 55, 223–252.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Kerski, J. (2003). The implementation and effectiveness of geographic information systems technology and methods in secondary education. Journal of Geography, 102(3), 128–137.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Lieberman, G. A., & Hoody, L. L. (1998). Closing the achievement gap: Using the environment as an integrating context for learning. Poway, CA: State Education and Environment Roundtable.Google Scholar
  28. Linn, M. (2003). Technology and science education: starting points, research programs, and trends. International Journal of Science Education, 25(6), 727–759.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Loucks-Horsley, S., Love, N., Stiles, K. E., Mundry, S., & Hewson, P. W. (2003). Designing professional development for teachers of science and mathematics. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.Google Scholar
  30. National Environmental Education and Training Foundation/Roper Starch Worldwide. (1998). The national report card on environmental knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors: The seventh annual survey of adult Americans. Washington, DC: Author.Google Scholar
  31. National Research Council. (2000). Inquiry and the national science education standards. Washington, DC: National Academies Press.Google Scholar
  32. National Research Council. (2006). Learning to think spatially: GIS as a support system in the K-12 curriculum. Washington, DC: National Academies Press.Google Scholar
  33. Parker, C., Stylinski, C. D., Darrah, M., McAuliffe, C., Gupta, P., & Akbayin, B. (2010). Integrating innovative IT applications into STEM classroom: A preliminary review of ITEST teacher professional development. Journal of Technology and Teacher Education, 18(2), 203–230.Google Scholar
  34. Parsad, B., & Jones, J. (2005). Internet access in U.S. public schools and classrooms: 1994–2003. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics.Google Scholar
  35. Penuel, W. R., Fishman, B. J., Ryoko, Y., & Gallaher, L. P. (2007). What makes professional development effective? Strategies that foster curriculum implementation? American Educational Research Journal, 44(4), 921–958.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Shepardson, D. P., Wee, B., Priddy, M., Schellenberger, L., & Harbor, J. (2007). What is a watershed? Implications of student conceptions for environmental science education and the National Science Education Standards. Science Education, 91(4), 554–578.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Squire, K. D., MaKinster, J. G., Barnett, M., & Luehmann, A. L. (2003). Designed curriculum and local culture: Acknowledging the primacy of classroom culture. Science Education, 87, 468–489.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. U.S. Department of Education Office of the Under Secretary. (2003). Federal funding for educational technology and how it is used in the classroom: A summary of findings from the integrated studies of educational technology. Washington, DC: Author.Google Scholar
  39. Varma, K., Husic, F., & Linn, M. (2008). Targeted support for using technology-enhanced science inquiry modules. Journal of Science Education and Technology, 17(4), 341–356.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Vrasidas, C., & Glass, G. V. (Eds.). (2005). Preparing teachers to teach with technology. Greenwich, CT: Information Age Publishing.Google Scholar
  41. White, S. (2008). Diffusion of innovations theory: Framing IT and GIS adoption. In A. J. Milson & M. Alibrandi (Eds.), Digital geography: Geospatial technologies in the social studies classroom (pp. 169–196). Charlotte, NC: IAP.Google Scholar
  42. Wiggins, G., & McTighe, J. (2005). Understanding by design, expanded (2nd ed.). Alexandria, VA: ASCD.Google Scholar
  43. Wilder, A., Brinkerhoff, J. D., & Higgins, T. M. (2003). Geographic information technologies + project-based science: A contextualized professional development approach. Journal of Geography, 102, 255–266.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Appalachian LaboratoryUniversity of Maryland Center for Environmental ScienceCambridgeUSA

Personalised recommendations