Paper No. 24
Presentation Time: 9:00 AM-6:30 PM
CONNECTING SPATIAL AND CLIMATE LITERACY IN EVALUATING STUDENT LEARNING OF CLIMATE SCIENCE
Through a collaboration of three universities (Brooklyn College, Lehman College, and the University of Nebraska Lincoln (UNL)), a 3-credit course consisting of four independent but linked modules was developed that introduces middle and high school teachers to climate change science and literacy principles, using GIS and remote sensing technologies as a vehicle to explore issues associated with global, regional, and local climate change in a concrete, quantitative and visual way. Understanding climate change requires the ability to visualize three dimensional space and space-time relationships. GIS has been demonstrated to improve student skills in spatial visualization, as well as a deeper understanding of content material than text-based exercises. Engaging learners in both climate change science and GIS simultaneously provides opportunities to examine questions about the role that data manipulation, mental representation, and spatial literacy plays in students’ abilities to understand the consequences and impacts of climate change.
The pilot was offered at Brooklyn College and UNL in fall 2012. Changes in spatial mental representations and climate change knowledge content were measured separately via pre/post surveys and co-evaluated to discern relationships between spatial cognitive processes and effective acquisition of climate change science concepts in virtual learning environments as well as alignment of teacher’s mental models of nature of science and climate system dynamics. Results from the pilot course evaluation and planned changes for the course based on the evaluation will be presented.