NSF awards grant to research geospatial resources, materials, and tools for STEM teacher preparation
The National Science Foundation has awarded a grant to the AAG and Texas State University for a project to develop and research the effectiveness of prototype geospatial resources, materials, and tools (RMT) for STEM teacher preparation.
NCRGE will coordinate the following project activities (September 2014 – August 2015):
- Create and research the effectiveness of a prototype web-based geospatial RMT that introduces STEM pre-service and in-service teachers to fundamental geographic and spatial concepts for effective teaching with ArcGIS Online. The prototype RMT will be built using ArcGIS Online data, student-collected datasets, and other geospatial technologies to present compelling examples of teaching STEM content in the context of geographical problems. This prototype will illustrate for teachers how to develop inquiry-based lessons that support STEM education standards. Emphasis will be placed on the interdisciplinary characteristics of the RMT for fostering teachers’ abilities to support spatial thinking skills and geographic inquiry across the curriculum.
- Use the prototype geospatial RMT to conduct pre- and post-tests, surveys, and interviews with the participating teachers. Data gathering will focus on two objectives: 1) measuring change in teachers’ perceptions of using geospatial RMTs for improving STEM teacher professional development in three domains of practice: (i) technological knowledge (i.e., proficiency with different types of geospatial data and technology), (ii) pedagogical knowledge (i.e., the ability to create and align geospatial learning objectives, activities, and assessment strategies), and (iii) disciplinary content knowledge (i.e., cognitive skills related to modes of spatial thinking and applications of geographic concepts and perspectives to examine and solve problems); and 2) measuring change in teachers’ spatial thinking and analytical skills. Data for this research will be acquired from two sources: 1) pre-service courses by investigators affiliated with science education, the Texas Mathworks program, and Department of Geography at Texas State, and 2) in-service teacher training institutes sponsored by the Texas Geographic Alliance. The research is intended to set the stage for future longitudinal research with the trained teachers as they enter the workforce and implement their training in schools.
As a result of this project, the AAG and Texas State University will be better positioned to scale-up the research to involve more universities and schools in a larger number of research sites as part of the NCRGE research network.