2014 GSA Annual Meeting in Vancouver, British Columbia (19–22 October 2014)

Paper No. 123-7
Presentation Time: 10:30 AM


BROGT, Erik1, WILSON, Thomas M.2, KENNEDY, Ben2, DOHANEY, Jacqueline3 and JOLLEY, Alison2, (1)Academic Development Group, University of Canterbury, Christchurch, 8041, New Zealand, (2)Geological Sciences, University of Canterbury, Private Bag 4800, Christchurch, 8140, New Zealand, (3)Geological Sciences, The University of Canterbury, Private Bag 4800, Christchurch, 8140, New Zealand, jdohaney@gmail.com

New Zealand, situated on the Pacific and Indo-Australian continental plate boundary, and geological issues are vital to its economy (agriculture, tourism, geothermal energy), and there is considerable public interest in geology. Yet relatively little research is done in the area of tertiary geoscience/geohazard education. In recent years, an interdisciplinary community of geologists, social scientists and science education researchers has arisen to fill that gap, leading to the establishment of New Zealand's first Geoscience Education Research Group at the University of Canterbury. We aim to contribute to fundamental education research, as well as inform policy to make the country more resilient.

Research foci are student engagement, pedagogies to facilitate authentic learning in field and classroom environments, development of transferrable skills, and self-sustained change toward more learner-centred teaching techniques. We successfully adapted the Carl Wieman Science Education Initiative, a North American model for science education reform, to the New Zealand tertiary educational system in collaboration with Massey University. Results showed increased student engagement, and a wider variety of teaching techniques systematically being employed in courses. We are disseminating our findings and methodologies more broadly in New Zealand through workshops supported by Ako Aotearoa, the National Centre for Tertiary Teaching Excellence.

Recently, we have done considerable research into the pedagogy and assessment of two scenario-based role-play simulations, based around management and communication of volcanic hazards and earthquake hazards respectively. In the former we investigate critical decision-making skills in interpreting geologic data in real time and managing a volcanic eruption. The latter simulation was in part inspired by the aftermath of the Canterbury earthquake sequence 2010-2012, which highlighted the need for scientists to be effective science communicators. We have focused on skills and exercises which foster communicating scientific uncertainty to a wide variety of stakeholders. We are currently developing this simulation, aimed at students, educators, and professionals, collaborating with Massey University, the University of Auckland and GNS Sciences.

  • Dohaney et al, Geoscience education research group, GSA 2014.pdf (2.8 MB)
  • Brogt, Dohaney et al, Geoscience education research group, GSA 2014.pdf (2.6 MB)