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Paper No. 3
Presentation Time: 2:10 PM


ATCHISON, Christopher, Department of Geosciences, Georgia State University, 455A Sparks Hall, P. O. Box 4105, Atlanta, GA 30302,

The importance of geologic field experience in the undergraduate and graduate geoscience curriculum is well documented in geoscience education literature. However, due to these field requirements, persons with mobility impairments face multiple barriers to obtaining a higher education in the geosciences. Furthermore, the lack of exposure to career opportunities in the geosciences potentially creates a perception that most geoscience careers do not accommodate graduates with mobility impairments. As a result, students might feel discouraged from pursuing undergraduate and graduate level degrees in geology.

As part of a recent qualitative study, students with mobility impairments were given an opportunity to learn about geologic processes in a classroom setting and then observe them in a field experience relative to those processes. Through an assumption that most traditional field environments are inaccessible to students with mobility impairments, a primary objective of the aforementioned study was to determine how first-hand experience in a geologic field environment assists in the overall construction of content knowledge for students with mobility impairments. An evaluation of this field experience required an understanding of how these students interact with the environment through daily routines. Individual case studies of the students’ lived experience within the field site provided an understanding of how geological content knowledge was constructed in the face of field-related barriers. This presentation will discuss how these barriers were perceived from the students and researchers and how they may be minimized through the planning of future geologic field experiences.

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