Paper No. 6
Presentation Time: 3:30 PM
SERVICE LEARNING: AN INNOVATIVE STUDENT ENGAGEMENT STRATEGY
Service learning opportunities engage students in community-defined service activities that support educator-defined learning outcomes. Students enrolled in a Historical Geology course at Georgia Perimeter College-Dunwoody were asked to participate in a pilot program run with Dunwoody High School. The students were asked to be involved in the instruction of specific geologic concepts to high school students enrolled in Oceanography, a science elective. The college students designed and implemented active learning exercises for teaching Plate Tectonics, the Geologic Time Scale, and Early Paleozoic Marine Life. The benefits of incorporating this learning strategy into courses are experienced by the college students, the high school students, the college instructor, and the high school instructor. Average student scores on a mid-semester examination improved 8.3% over students enrolled in the identical course with the same instructor but not involved in service learning activities. High school student participants develop greater interest in attending college and/or in geoscience. High school teachers are able to adopt the college student-designed exercises and reuse them in future terms. The ultimate benefit to college instructors is that participants are happier and therefore student retention and interest is bolstered.