GEOSCIENCE AND GEOHAZARD EDUCATION RESEARCH AT THE UNIVERSITY OF CANTERBURY
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.