Teacher professional development with GIS is challenging, due to the steep technical learning curve of GIS and the overlapping constraints of curricular alignment, classroom management, and limited instructional time. Through five years of extensive professional development work with teachers, we have identified a strategy for highly effective professional development, integrating technical skills training with curriculum development, and several reliable tactics, lessons that both educate teachers about GIS and engage their thinking about curriculum and instruction. This session presents both the overall strategy and three time-tested tactics for teacher professional development with GIS: (1) a social use of GIS, (2) a personal inquiry with GIS, and (3) building a data collector to generate a GIS layer. We will demonstrate these lessons using ArcGIS Online, a free resource for K-12 teachers. Session attendees will receive handouts documenting these professional development strategies and URLs to obtain digits.
Explore recent research in the science of learning in order to transform traditional ways of teaching geography and promote deeper and persistent learning. Transforming students into geographical thinkers enables them to make connections and apply concepts long after the course ends. This session demonstrates how to move students toward expertise in thinking geographically through specific, but not necessarily intuitive, strategies based on empirical research in learning science. These include retrieval practice for no-stakes learning opportunities; spaced repetition of threshold concepts; interleaving different but related topics to encourage discrimination and enhance learning; and integration of feedback that supports student metacognition. Small, incremental changes in current classroom practice can result in significant and transformational ways to empower students to think geographically.
Your students are passionate, but not about geography. They can read, but don’t want to. Find out how you can push students to want to learn geography through a combination of reading powerful news articles and engaging in provocative activities. Watch as their growing comfort level with the content allows them to soon begin to talk the talk of geographers.