To both document program activity and learn from the efforts of our volunteers, we invite our GeoMentors to submit their experiences as program case studies through this online form.
City/State of School, School District, or Group: Saint Petersburg, Florida
Grade level of students you or your educator collaborator work/worked with: 9-11
Subject/topic of class/group you assisted your collaborator with: AP Human Geography
Approximately how many students were engaged in GIS activities through this collaboration: 22
How did you connect with your collaborator?
I had a personal contact at the school already and he gave me the teacher's contact information. I then reached out to her to discuss opportunities.
Describe your collaboration process.
We had emailed back and forth probably four times. We then met face-to-face to discuss how I might benefit her students utilizing the GM program. We continued to email before I was a guest speaker in her two AP human geography classes.
Describe the tasks you assisted your collaborator with.
The teacher allowed me to have the full class period of one hour to discuss with her students the fundamental of GIS. The students and I then walked through the 5x5 activity sheet as a group, but each student on their own individual computer.
The teacher had done a free trial of the desktop version of ArcGIS but when the trial ran out, she did not pursue it further. I assisted her via email with the online program and activities as she wanted to have completed the activities prior to the students being introduced to the application.
What available resources, if any, did you use or help your collaborator use to implement GIS in K-12 education?
Thinking Spatially using GIS; 5 Activities in 5 minutes
What did you gain from the experience? What do you think your educator collaborator and/or the students gained?
I have given talks in front of professionals as part of my higher education in the field of environmental science for about three years now. But the ability to be able to take knowledge for which I have passion, and relate it to teenagers in a classroom setting was something completely new. I gained familiarity in reading students and was able to practice techniques in instilling excitement in them.
My educator collaborator was able to learn along with her students. She expressed to me after the class how she wished the school would allow her, send her, to professional development courses over the summer so that she could implement this type of learning on her own. Although she expressed great appreciation for my coming in to her classroom to share my knowledge and experiences, she also expressed concern about disrupting her, ready tight, curriculum schedule.