Paper No. 67-5
Presentation Time: 9:00 AM-5:30 PM
USING GEOSPATIAL TECHNOLOGIES TO PROMOTE LEARNING IN THE EARTH SCIENCES WITH PRESERVICE TEACHERS
Geospatially-enabled learning technologies, such as GIS and Google Earth have the capacity to display dynamic maps, globes, and other representations of the Earth. These technologies can enhance the preservice science education curriculum by adding an emphasis on geographic space, visualization, scale, and representation. We have developed a curriculum approach for promoting geospatial thinking and reasoning that is designed to enhance both Earth science understandings and geospatial thinking. The approach incorporates design principles in each investigation to promote geospatial thinking and reasoning skills. The design principles include: (1) Use motivating contexts and personally relevant and meaningful examples to engage learners. (2) Design image representations that illustrate visual aspects of Earth science knowledge. (3) Design geospatial data visualizations to make geospatial relations readily apparent. (4) Scaffold learners to analyze geospatial relations. The learning activities include embedded support materials that use Web-based videos, text, and graphics to promote and support teachers’ learning of important Earth science subject matter and geospatial science pedagogical content knowledge that preservice teachers may be lacking. We have developed extensive curriculum units that include the topics of tectonics, energy resources, and climate change (http://www.ei.lehigh.edu/eli/). The poster session will illustrate how we have used the geospatial learning activities in our Earth science coursework that is taken by preservice teachers. We highlight examples of how the learning activities promote our students’ ability to use geospatial analysis for associating and correlating phenomena distributed over space, recognizing geospatial distribution and patterns on a map image or visual representation, and explaining geospatial relationships among georeferenced data.