Article

Teacher enactment of the Geospatial Inquiry cycle in classrooms following scaled up professional learning and development

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Abstract

The current study examined the effects of a nationally scaled up Professional Learning and Development (PLD) model on teachers’ classroom implementation of the Geospatial Inquiry instructional framework. Geospatial Inquiry is defined as: asking and answering a research question through the analysis and communication of data that is linked to a geographic location on, above, or near Earth. These data are often represented visually via maps and explored with geospatial technologies. It also examined the relationships between Geospatial Inquiry Teacher Workshop (GITW) implementation and teacher implementation of the Geospatial Inquiry Cycle. Situated cognition provided a theoretical framework for the design, development, and implementation of the GITWs and lessons. Surveys, technology assessments, lessons, and artifacts were analysed using a-priori coding, descriptive statistics, and a generalised linear modelling approach that included hierarchical analysis. Results indicated teachers implemented Geospatial Inquiry lessons with integrity to the principles of Geospatial Inquiry and utilised research-based pedagogical practices. Format of GITWs (e.g. face-to-face or blended) resulted in differences during teachers’ lesson implementation. In addition, whether GITWs were delivered by an individual facilitator or a team of facilitators impacted teachers’ lessons. The findings have several implications for the design and scaling of PLD.

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This book provides research-grounded and practically-minded insights into teacher professional development in support of integrating GIS and other geospatial technologies into K-12 science teaching. In this volume 50 designers, educators and researchers share their experiences, knowledge, and lessons learned from a wide variety of projects. Readers will find a myriad of ideas and perspectives that they can apply to their own teacher professional development projects, as they work to provide students with engaging opportunities for learning science. Geospatial technologies enable teachers to teach in fundamentally new ways, building student interest and skill through active engagement in critical thinking and project or inquiry-based learning. Students are naturally drawn to looking at landscapes and interpreting features through analysis of both shape and form. Given the chance to manipulate spatial data, students revel in deciphering mysteries, exploring scientific explanations, and linking causes with consequences. The passion and interest demonstrated by students using geospatial tools has motivated an increasing number of K-12 teachers to embrace the use of these technologies for teaching and learning science. Given the nature and complexity of these tools, high quality professional development is essential for providing teachers with the support and guidance they need to use geospatial technologies effectively. This book will be of special interest to scientists, geographers, and science educators who are designing or delivering teacher professional development in support of teaching with technology. The case studies make it possible for readers to identify specific paths forward regarding both research and practice.
Article
Geospatial technologies are increasingly being integrated in science classrooms to foster learning. This study examined whether a Web-enhanced science inquiry curriculum supported by geospatial technologies promoted urban middle school students’ understanding of energy concepts. The participants included one science teacher and 108 eighth-grade students classified in three ability level tracks. Data were gathered through pre/posttest content knowledge assessments, daily classroom observations, and daily reflective meetings with the teacher. Findings indicated a significant increase in the energy content knowledge for all the students. Effect sizes were large for all three ability level tracks, with the middle and low track classes having larger effect sizes than the upper track class. Learners in all three tracks were highly engaged with the curriculum. Curriculum effectiveness and practical issues involved with using geospatial technologies to support science learning are discussed.
Using a multiple-case embedded research design (Yin, 1994), this study examined the nature of teachers' learning during technology professional development activities and the extent to which their subsequent technology-supported pedagogy was innovative. Four English language arts teachers, who ranged in teaching and technology experience, served as contrasting case studies. Results suggested that the power to develop innovative technology-supported pedagogy lies in the teacher's interpretation of the newly learned technology's value for supporting instruction and learning in the classroom; learning experiences grounded in content-based, technology examples were most effective toward this end. Furthermore, teachers with less professional knowledge (e.g., pre-service or novice) and/or less intrinsic interest in identifying uses for technology may need guided or collaborative, content-specific technology learning opportunities, while teachers with more professional knowledge (e.g., veteran) may be able to develop innovative technology-supported pedagogy by bringing their own learning goals to bear in professional development activities. Collaborative, subject-specific technology inquiry groups are proposed as professional development that supports all teachers' learning to integrate technology into their subject areas.
Article
Scientific visualization tools have shown tremendous,promise in drawing today's increasingly visual learners into in-depth inquiries in mathematics and science. A critical question associated with these relatively advanced tools is how successful teachers are in using them with their students in the chronically undersupported,technological settings of K-12 education. This paper describes teacher progress in using four visualization tools in terms of a stages of adoption model. Brief case studies are presented from follow-up interviews that describe how four teachers have begun to integratethese relatively advanced scientific
Article
This study explores barriers and facilitators to the application of learning following a continuing education program. Telephone interviews were conducted with 27 multidisciplinary participants four months after a five-day Institute. The interviews sought to assess whether and how participants had applied a health education planning and evaluation model taught during the Institute. A model, the Application Process Framework, guided interviews and data analysis in five areas of potential influence on application: educational program, innovation to be applied, predisposition of the learner, enabling skills of the learner and characteristics of the context of application, and social support. Although respondents primarily looked to the context to explain whether and how application occurred, the conceptual framework helped illuminate other influences, most notably, respondent predisposition. Implications for adult education practice and research are discussed.
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This article explains a professional development experience of fifth to twelfth grade teachers in using geographic information systems (GIS) and global positioning systems (GPS) technologies to enhance classroom teaching and learning environments. A key challenge faced by the developers was whether teachers would value the technology tools enough to warrant the time necessary to develop the skills for productive use of the technology. Based on five years' experience, researchers identified seven key components and elaborated on them with examples and related processes.
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The author suggests that we apply recent research knowledge to improve our conceptualization, measures, and methodology for studying the effects of teachers' professional development on teachers and students. She makes the case that there is a research consensus to support the use of a set of core features and a common conceptual framework in professional development impact studies. She urges us to move away from automatic biases either for or against observation, interviews, or surveys in such studies. She argues that the use of a common conceptual framework would elevate the quality of professional development studies and subsequently the general understanding of how best to shape and implement teacher learning opportunities for the maximum benefit of both teachers and students.