GSA Annual Meeting in Phoenix, Arizona, USA - 2019

Paper No. 180-11
Presentation Time: 11:15 AM


BOXERMAN, Jonathan Z., WestEd, STEM, 2470 Mariner Square Loop #200, Alameda, CA 94501 and NELSON-BARBER, Sharon, WestEd, STEM, 400 Seaport Court, Suite 200, Redwood City, CA 94063

The project works with teachers and students in Hawaiian and Arizonian Indigenous schools to develop and observe the use of a place-based, geoscience data gathering and mapping tool called FieldScope. Originally developed by National Geographic, FieldScope empowers citizens with tools to engage in science. FieldScope supports community engagement in citizen science through an interactive platform, which organizers of field studies can leverage to offer sophisticated graphing and mapping visualization tools and resources that can enhance existing and future science projects. For this project, we innovated major adaptations to FieldScope to meet critical needs of Indigenous communities, for the purposes of engaging more people in science activity and opening the path to STEM careers. The tool now allows for the collection, visualization, and private sharing of cultural data including documents, video, and audio files. In addition to collaborating with teachers on developing FieldScope for Indigenous communities to collect and share precious resources including cherished cultural knowledge and sensitive environmental data, our project set out to illuminate processes for designing culturally relevant place-based pedagogy. These place-based learning opportunities serve multiple purposes. First, teachers gain direct experience using the technology to support place-based learning and formative assessment of the learning that happens through them. Second, the professional learning opportunities from the project provide participating teachers with resources and training in what they are already committed to: creating and assessing culturally relevant science education. By empowering teachers with materials for crafting lessons that invite students’ existing repertoires of knowledge, we foster innovation among teachers and, in the process, learn how teachers create and assess place-based learning experiences for their students to maximize cultural relevance. These place-based learning opportunities involve regular and ongoing data collection, and students incorporate both their own voices and the voices of community members. As a learning community, they address complex questions and relevant issues through student-led and teacher-supported place-based and project-based inquiry.