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It presents a clearly-defined path to a world of learning about GIS, using the Internet and closely-couples reference sources. It is richly produced and illustrated unlike any other in the field, with over full color illustrations. Geographic Information Systems and Science is unique in several ways.

It presents comprehensive treatments of: Geographic Information Science - the scientific context to GIS, technical content and geographic implications The real value of GIS - illustrated using real world applications. Treatments emphasize operational, tactical and strategic issues The impact of Internet GIS on interdisciplinary science and society The pivotal role of GIS as a business driver in the information age - including the role of GIS as a business asset and the operational dynamics of its use in practice The book is the first to provide a gateway to Internet-based classroom and distance learning.

A series of modules of the ESRI Virtual Campus have been specially written around the material in this book, and detailed learning guides identify other on-line sources. Additional free supplementary reference material is available through a Web site dedicated to the book Contents The book begins by developing the themes of GI Systems and GI Science, and illustrates the practical value of GIS through real case studies.

The major parts then consider: It is also suitable as a foundation course taught in M. Its user-friendly format is designed to appeal to professionals working for federal, state and local organizations. Toon meer Toon minder. Recensie s a compelling and accessible text The team of authors is one of the most distinguished ever assembled to write a GI textbook Once in a generation a textbook appears which redefines its field and becomes the standard for years to come.

This is such a book. GI News, June It is up--to--date, trendy in stryle but nonetheless well written. Geometrics World, September It is an excellent book and one that the authors can rightly be proud of. Civil Engineering Surveyor, November Once in a while a book comes along that makes you sit up and take notice. This is one of those times.

As an introduction to the seductive world of GIS, it is unsurpassed. Environmental Planning B, Vol. The text is excellent and competitors would be hard pushed to beat it I would definitely recommend it Information Technology and Tourism, Vol. We are reminded of the technological immigrant versus the technological native.

Students adapt to and learn technology-based skills far faster and with greater ease than their teachers. Incorporating GIS into the science classroom has multiple benefits. Its use is supported by constructivist learning theory that encourages and supports an interdisciplinary and multicultural approach to learning.

Student attitudes towards science improve when GIS is used as a teaching strategy. As a strategy, GIS lessons encourage higher order thinking and science processing skills such as analysis, synthesis and application at the same time it increases student engagement and a willingness to take ownership of a data driven project.

GIS lessons can mimic the real world of an environmental scientist or city planner. The major barrier to the implementation of GIS is summed up by Wanner , p. Concrete evidence of the effectiveness of geographic information systems in the curriculum is lacking. Research concerning the effectiveness of GIS technology and methods has been confined chiefly to anecdotal evidence from classroom observation.

Geographic Information Systems 1 - Scientific Data

As a number of researchers have pointed out, there is a deficit in quality GIS research. A good deal of what has been presented here would be considered anecdotal evidence. Bednarz and Ludwig suggested a research action agenda for educators that included investigations on the current status of GIS in K education, informing those with power and authority to make changes about the need for GIS, the best way to provide teachers and pre-service methods instructors with support and materials for teaching GIS, the effect of GIS on human cognition and learning, and the best way to reform pre-service education to include GIS.

In one of the more comprehensive research studies, Kerski , presented findings in his dissertation and related journal articles of a single study consisting of two classroom case studies. In agreement with Bednarz and Ludwig , Kerski found that little work has been completed to determine what teachers think about implementing GIS into the curriculum, what problems they have experienced implementing GIS into the curriculum, and who should be responsible for seeing that GIS implementation takes place.

It is the intention that the research presented here will provide a clearer picture of how GIS is being used in North Carolina classrooms, why teachers are using the technology, what teachers consider to be barriers to implication of GIS use, and who teachers feel are responsible for successful GIS implementation. The purpose of this project is to ascertain how and why teachers use GIS in their classrooms. Since the use of GIS would be considered a single subject the case study methodology of qualitative research was employed.

What is a GIS

Two teachers were interviewed using a semi-structured interview style and the interviews were transcribed and coded. Information gleaned from the interviews was triangulated with documents from the teachers' schools, department of public instruction, curriculum materials, and student work records. By selecting a case study approach for this project, the researcher must make some assumptions. First, it is assumed the interview questions will illicit the information necessary to answer the research questions.

Follow-up questions will be used to refine information, gather more specific information, and clarify thoughts and opinions. A second assumption is that the teachers interviewed are telling the truth and giving accurate accounts of their feelings and opinions. Third, the researcher assumed that the teachers interviewed are in "typical" teaching situations, representative of a majority of classes across North Carolina that use GIS as a teaching strategy. Teachers in private and public school settings were included in the sampling frame.

Three teachers became the subjects for the study. Two of the interviews were scheduled as face-to-face interviews at the subject's schools and the third was a phone interview as the subject had moved to Tennessee.


One of the local study subjects canceled his interview twice. It was not rescheduled the third time due to deadlines and time constraints. The final sample was two teachers. Both of the subjects in the study are Caucasian females with more than fifteen years of teaching experience in both elementary and secondary grades. Both have undergraduate and advanced degrees with academic backgrounds life science. The two subjects fit the profile of the "typical" teacher using GIS illustrated in the literature by Kerski Both subjects also held leadership positions within their educational settings.

They served as chairs of committees, grade level chairs, and conducted extracurricular activities for students. Importantly, both teachers continue their personal education by attending workshops and classes outside of school. Lynn was the first subject interviewed. The interview was held in her room immediately after school. She works in a technology magnet middle school that draws its population from an urban county in central North Carolina.

The middle school is associated with a state supported university and is actually located on the engineering campus. The school has a very diverse population of students ethnically and economically who are drawn from across the county. Lynn said that the distance some students have to travel can be a negative aspect of the school. Some children travel over an hour and a half each way on a school bus to get to and from school each day.

Lynn's room had many examples of student work displayed, posters of scientists actively doing science, and illustrations of the scientific processes the students were studying. Lynn explained that the school is in the first year of being a lap top school. Each student and teacher is given a laptop computer, which is supposed to serve as a student locker for content information and text materials; a notebook for composing, submitting, and archiving assignments; and a communications tool for presentations and staying in touch with the teacher and classmates. Lynn was insistent that her students be actively engaged in science and models as closely as possible what scientists do in the real world.

These were reasons she gave for incorporating GIS into the curriculum. Joanne, the second subject, was interviewed by phone as she had moved out of state since completing the GIS workshops. Joanne was a middle school science teacher also at a science and technology magnet school. Unlike Lynn's setting however, Joanne's school is set in the oldest public housing project in the city. The school has a long history of which the residents are very proud. A large number of its graduates went on to become politicians, very successful business owners, and professionals in many arenas.

Joanne was instrumental in designing and implementing a technology and GIS course for the school that used satellite imagery and GIS as its subject matter. Joanne also pursued a doctorate degree in science education and forestry in which GIS was a large segment of her class work. Consequently, after she finished her class work and GIS workshops she began to instruct the workshops.

Joanne decided to investigate the relationship between GIS usage and spatial thinking skills as her dissertation topic. She has presented many sessions at state and national meetings concerning GIS and its implementation and has served on and chaired many state wide GIS committees concerned with educational applications of GIS.

Geographic information science

The case study methodology employed in this study made use of a semi- structured interview and the work of Bednarz and Ludwig , served as the foundation of the survey. The researcher wrote a survey of fourteen questions that could be compartmentalized into four sections, three of which were suggested by the research of Bednarz and Ludwig The first question was simply to find out what the subjects were currently teaching and what their work related responsibilities were.

Questions two through four were about GIS training-a description of how the subjects were trained, when they were trained, and why they were trained. Questions five through seven addressed GIS implementation and sought to identify how the subjects were implementing GIS in their classroom. Questions eight through fourteen looked at barriers to GIS implementation and asked about specific factors preventing teachers from implementing GIS and who should be responsible for mitigating those factors.

At the end of the survey the teachers were asked if they had any additional comments or examples that they would like to share. In general, the survey took about an hour to complete. Neither subject had any difficulty answering and giving classroom examples addressing the survey questions. Both interviews were transcribed verbatim. Field notes taken at the time of the interview added insight into the feelings of the subjects and were combined with the transcripts to glean a clearer picture of what the subjects truly meant. Transcripts were coded to identify the themes in GIS training, implementation, and barriers to implementation.

Acolor-coding system was employed to analyze the interview data.

The questions were broken down into three blocks: Question one was not coded as it was biographical information about the subjects. Question fourteen was a free response and coded separately for any of the three major themes of training, implementation, or barriers to implementation. After the common ideas were color- coded they were grouped into emerging themes and recorded in a matrix. Validity, reliability, and limitations. The validity of this study is complimented by the fact that the instrument used to gather data was tied to GIS research.

The questions on the survey were derived from a literature review and recommendations made to higher education institutions as areas for further investigation. The subjects that were selected fit what the research defined as the typical teacher that uses GIS. While the subjects selected for this study increase reliability, the fact that there were only two participants, with little diversity in ethnicity, age, experience, and training decreases the generalizability of the study.

The major limitations of this study are the sample selection and sample size. The sampling reference was selected from only one type of workshop participant, those people that completed week-long workshops on a university campus. This selection narrowed the subject pool geographically to teachers within a relatively short driving distance of the workshop location. An additional limitation is both subjects are Caucasian. There was a decided lack of ethnic diversity in the sampling frame. Drawing conclusions based on two people who are very similar in experience and training decreases the generalizability of the study considerably.

The interview guide for this study was designed so that there are several survey questions that address each of the three research questions. Biographical information indicated that both subjects began their training in at a one -week workshop offered by the school system in which they taught. Lynn and Joanne both chose to take additional workshops sponsored and taught by the same university group. Where they differ is that Joanne chose to supplement the workshop training with the GIS certificate courses offered by the university.

Lynn stated, "…had I been younger I would have gone on to do the certification. When both women were asked what lead them to seek GIS training their answers were similar.

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Lynn emphasized the importance of geography and mapping to understanding science and remarked about the ease of using GIS for data analysis. Joanne was quick to say that she embraced GIS training because of the ability to do scientific modeling. She had been looking for ways to incorporate modeling into her classroom but what she found was far too complicated for middle school students. Both of them admitted that once they tried the program they were "hooked". Twelve years later, both participants are still employing GIS as a teaching strategy.

For the first research question, which was concerned with why the teachers decided to implement GIS in their classrooms, both respondents were quick with answers when asked about what factors of GIS make it a teaching tool they want to include in the classroom. Lynn immediately responded that, "Relevance is number 1.

Timeliness is number 2. They both made reference to people being visual learners and once a concept can be visualized it can be understood. Research findings reported by Broda and Baxter parallel what was stated in this study saying that after using GIS students are better able to visualize complex relationships. Lynn emphasized using GIS as a strategy because it promotes inquiry and Joanne because it promotes modeling.

Lynn also pointed out that GIS use would be considered a "21 st century tool", tools that students will be able to carry forward in their educational experience. Joanne commented that the immediacy of GIS as tool matches students needs; with the click of a mouse changes are made and analyses completed. Joanne said her students thought GIS was "cool" and "fun". Lynn commented that rarely did she observe a child off task when using GIS as a strategy.

When Lynn was asked why she thought that this was the case, she replied that students need to investigate problems that they don't have answers to beforehand. This echoes what Joanne said about using GIS for inquiry. These results enhance and supplement the findings reported by Wanner and Kerski , Walker , and Broda and Baxter The second research question investigates how the two teachers employ GIS in their classrooms.

Lynn said she often prepared map handouts for her students. Figure 1 illustrates such a map. The first example both teachers gave as a lesson was one they use in the unit on volcanoes, earthquakes, and plate tectonics. They both reported how much easier it is for students to glean the relationship among earthquakes, volcanoes, and plate boundaries when maps of the three features are over laid upon each other. This is a great example of the visual analysis capability of GIS. The teachers feel that the lesson is straight forward, well written, and can be modified easily to meet individual teacher needs.

Learning objectives are clearly stated and all the necessary data can be downloaded from the web. Below is a sample map that students generated. Both teachers use GIS for project-based learning also. In fact, Joanne made note that in planning lessons she always asked herself, "Can GIS do this better?

Lynn took a traditional study site ecology lesson and turned it into a GIS lesson so that information from the study site could be stored, visualized, and used by future classes. What was once a simple inquiry lesson became a longitudinal, scientific investigation. A third teacher, not interviewed in the study, contributed two examples of project based GIS lessons.

Geographic information systems and science: today and tomorrow - ScienceDirect

The first example is of an on-going class project on water quality conducted on a river close to the school that feeds the local drinking water reservoir. Students collect data monthly, add it to a data base, and then update results. Increasing the level of inquiry from teacher directed lessons to student directed, independent research is illustrated in the last example of a GIS project. Over a three month period a single student investigated the relationship between rainfall and pollution in a suburban retention pond. Data was collected, analyzed, and linked to a GIS map of the area.

The third research question to be addressed is that of the perceived barriers to implementing GIS which fell into two categories: Barriers are considered items that would totally prevent teachers from incorporating GIS into a lesson while needs would make incorporating lessons harder. Lynn listed the first barrier as a standardized pacing guide. The guide dictates the content, order, and duration for the entire course. Lynn mentioned that she normally would start the year with a GIS skills unit so she could slip in lessons throughout the year but the pacing guide makes this impossible.