No Paper
Strategies to Help Teachers Lead Locally-Based GIS Environmental Investigations
Track: Educational Research and Teacher Education
Author(s): Cathlyn Stylinski, Cassie Doty

GIS offers a powerful avenue to community investigations, which can engage K-12 students in local issues, help them link prior understanding with new knowledge, and dramatically extend the classroom experience. However, locally-based GIS explorations present many challenges for teachers with limited time and skills to acquire local datasets and write curriculum. Through our NSF-funded Inquiring with GIS project, we have developed and refined strategies to help teachers learn complex geospatial functions, develop their own customized datasets, and successfully implement a local GIS-based watershed investigation in their classrooms. These strategies include providing comprehensive curriculum constructed with the Understanding-by-Design framework, classroom-friendly regional data layers, straightforward guidance to create a limited number of local data layers, opportunities to practice new skills, and extensive follow-up support. We will discuss these strategies and highlight evaluation results, which include improved teacher skills and comfort working with GIS and using it in the classroom.

Cathlyn Stylinski
University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science
Frostburg , Maryland 21532
United States
Phone: 301.689.7272
Fax: 301 689.7200
E-mail: cat@al.umces.edu

Cassie Doty
University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science
301 Braddock Road
Frostburg , Maryland 21532
United States
Phone: 301.689.7134
E-mail: cdoty@al.umces.edu