See Related: Science Technology Research
  1. May Jadallah
  2. http://mayjadallah.weebly.com/
  3. Assistant Professor
  4. Promoting Students' Spatial Thinking in Upper Elementary Grades using Geographic Information Systems (GIS)
  5. http://education.illinoisstate.edu/nsf/
  6. Illinois State University
  1. Alycia Hund
  2. https://about.illinoisstate.edu/amhund/Pages/Other-Links.aspx
  3. Professor
  4. Promoting Students' Spatial Thinking in Upper Elementary Grades using Geographic Information Systems (GIS)
  5. http://education.illinoisstate.edu/nsf/
  6. Illinois State University
  1. Joel Studebaker
  2. Research Assistant
  3. Promoting Students' Spatial Thinking in Upper Elementary Grades using Geographic Information Systems (GIS)
  4. http://education.illinoisstate.edu/nsf/
  5. Illinois State University
  1. Jonathan Thayn
  2. http://geo.illinoisstate.edu/people/inhttp://my.ilstu.edu/~jthayn/Welcome.htmlex.aspx?action=profile&ulid=jthayn&dept=440
  3. Assistant Professor
  4. Promoting Students' Spatial Thinking in Upper Elementary Grades using Geographic Information Systems (GIS)
  5. http://education.illinoisstate.edu/nsf/
  6. Illinois State University
Public Discussion
  • Icon for: Vivian Guilfoy

    Vivian Guilfoy

    Facilitator
    May 11, 2015 | 07:48 a.m.

    Very promising approach, especially related to higher level thinking as well as reducing the spatial reasoning gap in girls. Really appreciated the turtle example to understand the kind of questions students address. You indicate it is a cross-curricular program. Who is actually teaching and implementing the program? Did they receive any training? What aspects of the curriculum are the easiest/most difficult for students to understand? Are there any opportunities for students to visit “actual” sites in the community to connect them with the GIS information bases? How are you measuring relational thinking and spatial reasoning skills? How will the new urban sites be different from current sites?

  • Icon for: Joel Studebaker

    Joel Studebaker

    Co-Presenter
    May 11, 2015 | 09:34 a.m.

    Who is actually teaching and implementing the program? Did they receive any training?

    The curriculum is taught and implemented by classroom teachers who receive training the summer before the intervention and support through the implementation.

    The curriculum is cross-curricular with a focus on ecological and historical themes, but it heavily relies on set theory and other foundational mathematical skills. We include narratives and non-fictional information sheets that students reference throughout the activities and then ask them to share what they learned and how they learned it in closing writing activities. This allows for easy alignment to skills and standards in the Common Core ELA.

  • Icon for: Joel Studebaker

    Joel Studebaker

    Co-Presenter
    May 11, 2015 | 09:58 a.m.

    What aspects of the curriculum are the easiest/most difficult for students to understand?

    Students generally do very well with the the mechanics and buttonology of the software itself. Students also generally do very well with the problem solving aspects, using the resources we provide to answer questions. Some students struggle with the concept of “difference,” a GIS tool and element of set theory that is required at the end of most of the activities. Still other other students are weary to progress independently and seek out their teacher’s affirmation before completing every step. We have found that many of these challenges are mitigated by pairing students and encouraging students to consult other pairs of students throughout the process.

  • Icon for: Joel Studebaker

    Joel Studebaker

    Co-Presenter
    May 11, 2015 | 10:16 a.m.

    Are there any opportunities for students to visit “actual” sites in the community to connect them with the GIS information bases?

    Each teacher can bring to the curriculum what they wish to, but it is not a requirement of our curriculum that students physically engage with actual sites in the community. Our curriculum does work on a largely local level for students in Illinois (where each implementation has been to this point). Students start by exploring spatial issues outside with the sun and shadows. Then students explore space in their classroom by creating a classroom map. This is followed by an activity using GIS to solve a problem on the grounds of the Illinois Capitol Building. The Box Turtle example shown asks students to explore their own county and the state of Illinois.The final module places students in Utah. This creates a steady progression from the immediately local to the remote.

  • Icon for: May Jadallah

    May Jadallah

    Presenter
    May 11, 2015 | 10:47 a.m.

    How are you measuring relational thinking and spatial reasoning skills?
    __
    Relational reasoning is a constellation of higher-level reasoning processes in which individuals reflect their ability to make connections between and among the ideas. So far, we examined the following relational reasoning processes, (1) analogical reasoning, in which students use an idea they are familiar with to introduce a new idea that they want others to understand; (2) multi-step reasoning, in which students explain a cause and effect relationship between two or more elements or ideas; (3) counterargument, in which students consider alternative perspectives to the topic at hand; (4) systems thinking, in which students combine a number of system (e.g., ecology, economy, health, etc.) in the construction of an answer; and (5) spatial thinking, in which students reference elements of space in the process of solving a problem. We hope to explore other relational thinking processes with the new data sets that we will soon be working with.

  • Icon for: May Jadallah

    May Jadallah

    Presenter
    May 11, 2015 | 11:19 a.m.

    How will the new urban sites be different from current sites?

    We have worked in three sites including an urban school district. The children and teachers in the urban sites were excited to learn GIS technologies. The teachers did an excellent job integrating the GIS lessons into their existing curriculum. We believe that the level of engagement and excitement that we have seen will continue to flow and will be replicated in the new sites.

  • Icon for: N. Newsome

    N. Newsome

    Education Outreach Manager
    May 11, 2015 | 05:00 p.m.

    Very interesting! Have you experienced any barriers to engagement as a result of the necessity to learn a challenging GIS software? Do you scaffold exposure to the software, or utilize specialized tutorials for this age range?

  • Icon for: May Jadallah

    May Jadallah

    Presenter
    May 11, 2015 | 05:45 p.m.

    In general, we were greatly surprised by how eager and fearless the majority of the students were in the use of GIS technology. Some students wanted their teacher’s affirmation before progressing with their GIS explorations.

    When we piloted the program, we encouraged the children to explore the software on their own before we demonstrated the use of more advanced functions. By pairing the students and encouraging them to work together to solve problems, they were far more engaged in figuring out how to use the program on their own while consulting with written instructions we provided them with. Those students who solved the problem first were asked to scaffold other groups who are facing some challenges.

    In the different sites we worked at, teachers designed their own scaffolding techniques to support their students’ learning. We believe that when teachers converge their own instructional approaches with new technologies they develop agency and feel more assured about their teaching which eventually have a positive impact on students’ learning.

  • Icon for: Nevin Katz

    Nevin Katz

    Facilitator
    May 11, 2015 | 10:09 p.m.

    Very cool! What is an example of an introductory activity you may have students do in order to get them familiar with GIS and how it works?

  • Icon for: May Jadallah

    May Jadallah

    Presenter
    May 12, 2015 | 01:08 a.m.

    Venn diagrams in GIS are used hand-in-hand with simple but different paper-pencil activities. We start with set theory concepts such as intersect, union, difference, and buffer. These are all considered basic geo-processing GIS functions. Because the students are familiar with the mathematical constructs behind these set operations, they complete the paper-pencil activities relatively easily. When the students are asked to implement a set operation function using GIS while working with a Venn diagram, students realize the connections and complete the exercises with excitement! The most challenging set operation function is “difference” which is equivalent to subtraction mathematically. The students require multiple exposures to this function to complete it correctly.

  • Icon for: Vivian Guilfoy

    Vivian Guilfoy

    Facilitator
    May 12, 2015 | 08:26 a.m.

    Thanks for this robust discussion that digs into the approach and the rationale for your work. Do your students have opportunities to make formal connections between what they are doing and careers that require the use of GIS? Female role models? Is there any evidence that the teachers of the program incorporate and extend any of these concepts into other aspects of their teaching?

  • Icon for: Alycia Hund

    Alycia Hund

    Co-Presenter
    May 12, 2015 | 11:52 a.m.

    We are working on making formal connections with mentors in careers using GIS. For now, members of our research team provide details about GIS in our careers, but we hope to add additional mentors and community resources next year. We support teachers hoping to expand GIS usage via our website resources and individual consultation.

  • Icon for: Vivian Guilfoy

    Vivian Guilfoy

    Facilitator
    May 12, 2015 | 03:39 p.m.

    I think your plans are great…to keep making live connections between student work and real work opportunities and people.

  • Icon for: Jonathan Thayn

    Jonathan Thayn

    Co-Presenter
    May 13, 2015 | 04:09 p.m.

    One possibility we haven’t explored yet is the network of GIS professional ISU alumni.

  • Icon for: Vivian Guilfoy

    Vivian Guilfoy

    Facilitator
    May 13, 2015 | 04:56 p.m.

    Great idea.

  • Icon for: Vivian Guilfoy

    Vivian Guilfoy

    Facilitator
    May 12, 2015 | 03:41 p.m.

    Have you connected with other NSF projects that are working with GIS? If so, which ones and how do you share experiences?

  • Icon for: May Jadallah

    May Jadallah

    Presenter
    May 12, 2015 | 05:19 p.m.

    We are building bridges and sharing experiences with people who are training or interested in training teachers to use GIS in the classroom at the state level. We would love to expand the collaboration with colleagues in other states and even in other countries because we know that interest exists. We would like to connect with other NSF projects focused on using GIS in elementary grades. The projects we are familiar with focus on middle and high school grades; Bodzin for example is doing wonderful work with middle school students. Certainly there is great potential in sharing experiences with similar projects.

  • Icon for: Vivian Guilfoy

    Vivian Guilfoy

    Facilitator
    May 13, 2015 | 09:39 a.m.

    Yes, I could imagine students from different states or countries working on similar issues. What comes to mind are realities with extreme weather systems here and around the world.

  • Icon for: May Jadallah

    May Jadallah

    Presenter
    May 13, 2015 | 03:31 p.m.

    We are trying to promote ecological awareness and conservation, address issues related to sustainability, discuss the importance of converging the use of powerful tools such as GIS with reflective and critical thinking. We are working to infuse our curriculum with lessons we have learned from Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring in this regard. Renewable resources, small-scale organic farming, ecological balance, and extreme weather systems are among the future foci of our research. In addition, we are trying to find ways to instill ethical responsibilities at both the individual and societal levels in the discussions we have with students.

  • Icon for: Jonathan Thayn

    Jonathan Thayn

    Co-Presenter
    May 13, 2015 | 04:06 p.m.

    I love the idea of having students from multiple schools collaborating to tackle the same problem. Weather is an excellent topic too, because students living in different weather systems could share their experiences. The only potential difficulty that I can think of is that weather is dynamic, so it might be hard to collect and prepare the data in advance. We would have to teach the students how to do that, but that is a valuable skill in itself.

  • Icon for: Nevin Katz

    Nevin Katz

    Facilitator
    May 13, 2015 | 10:46 a.m.

    I’d be curious to hear more about how Venn Diagrams are applied in GIS technology. What types of sets would students be working with when working with GIS data?

  • Icon for: May Jadallah

    May Jadallah

    Presenter
    May 13, 2015 | 01:36 p.m.

    When introduced to GIS, students start with two layers of information or maps to work with. The students use one and up to four geo-processing functions that are based on set theory operations. As students’ mastery of the GIS mechanics improve, they star working with additional layers of GIS data. In the current project, students work with up to nine GIS layers.

  • Icon for: Nevin Katz

    Nevin Katz

    Facilitator
    May 14, 2015 | 01:17 p.m.

    That is impressive!! Do you have any links to sample assignments or lesson plans? I’d be curious to see what a layer comprises and perhaps some example layers – I imagine there might be a storm layer, an endangered species layer, etc. – and what a geo-processing function might look like.

    What are some questions others have about this project or about GIS in general?

  • Icon for: May Jadallah

    May Jadallah

    Presenter
    May 14, 2015 | 02:07 p.m.

    Thanks Nevin! Please check the curriculum tab on our website: http://education.illinoisstate.edu/nsf/

  • Icon for: Vivian Guilfoy

    Vivian Guilfoy

    Facilitator
    May 14, 2015 | 04:11 p.m.

    Thanks for a rich discussion. I learned a lot.

  • Icon for: May Jadallah

    May Jadallah

    Presenter
    May 14, 2015 | 04:20 p.m.

    Thank you Vivian for the great questions you asked and for your encouragement. We still have a lot to learn from working with the students and the teachers. They are a great source of information; we owe the success of the program to them and the wonderful work that they have completed.

  • Further posting is closed as the showcase has ended.