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

Paper No. 8-4
Presentation Time: 9:00 AM


COHN, Teresa, Environmental Humanities Graduate Program, The University of Utah, 1995 De Trobriand St. FD 618A, Salt Lake City, UT 84112, SWANSON, Elisabeth, Department of Education, Montana State University, 138 B Reid Hall, Bozeman, MT 59717-2880, WHITE MAN RUNS HIM, Gail, Little Big Horn College, 8645 South Weaver Drive, Crow Agency, MT 59022, HUGS, Dora, St. Charles Mission School, 29 Gap Rd, Pryor, MT 59066, STEVENS, Lisa, Crow Agency School, 101 Makata St, Crow Agency, MT 59022 and FLAMM, Devon, Hardin Intermediate School, 631 W. Fifth St, Hardin, MT 59034

Solutions to many environmental challenges now require geoscience expertise, knowledge of global interconnectedness, and an understanding of local cultural nuances, a combination for which geoscientists and our students may not be prepared. The Crow Indian Reservation and its borderlands are a microcosm of these challenges, where geoscience expertise must integrate modern science and local worldviews. We propose sense of place education alongside the use of a Digital Earth tool in classrooms as a means of 1) engaging American Indian students and teachers in geoscience, 2) using technology to help students apply geoscience expertise to land management issues in their region, and 3) preparing students for an increasingly intercultural and interdisciplinary future. Developed through a collaborative effort among university geoscientists, tribal college faculty, K-8 teachers, and Crow cultural consultants, the Crow Country Digital Earth uses aerial photography, rephotography, and a variety of map layers in a Google Earth interface to integrate the local and global, and experiential and virtual in geoscience teaching. This paper describes uses of the Crow Country Digital Earth in a variety of classrooms and examines both its successes and challenges, including students’ engagement in geoscience lessons, misconceptions in science concepts, and ability to link local and global processes. We conclude with a discussion of future developments of the Digital Earth tool: continuation of an in depth community process that involves teachers, students and community members; the use of visual examples in culturally-relevant contexts to convey interconnection between the atmosphere, hydrosphere, geosphere and biosphere as well as their relationship to people and place; the use of local hazard events that portray the relationship between humans and earth systems; and field experiences that link the virtual and experiential.