IDENTIFYING AND PRIORITIZING GEOSCIENCE EDUCATION RESEARCH GRAND CHALLENGES: DRAFT PLANS FOR A COMMUNITY RESEARCH AGENDA
As an emerging STEM education research field, the GER community is examining the current state of their research and considering the best course forward so that it can have the greatest collective impact on advancing teaching and learning in the geosciences. As part of an NSF-funded multi-step effort to meet this need, 45 researchers drafted priority research questions, or “Grand Challenges”, that span ten research themes on undergraduate geoscience teaching and learning. These themes include research on: students’ conceptual understanding of the solid and the fluid Earth, K-12 teacher preparation, teaching about Earth in the context of societal problems, access and success of underrepresented groups in the geosciences, spatial and temporal reasoning, quantitative reasoning and use of models, instructional strategies to improve geoscience learning, students' self-regulated learning, and faculty professional development and institutional change. For each theme, several Grand Challenges have been proposed, and are now ready for their first round of peer review, which at GSA will include this presentation and a Town Hall event.
It is our vision that the final outcomes of this community-grounded process will be a published guiding framework to (1) focus future GER on questions of high interest to the geoscience education researcher and practitioner community, (2) provide funding agencies with a strong rationale for including GER in future funding priorities, (3) increase the strength of evidence of GER community claims, and (4) elevate the visibility, stature, and collaborative potential of GER in the geosciences and in STEM education research.