Strategizing Teacher Professional Development for Classroom Uses of Geospatial Data and Tools
AbstractStudying Topography, Orographic Rainfall, and Ecosystems with Geospatial Information Technology (STORE), a 4.5-year National Science Foundation funded project, explored the strategies that stimulate teacher commitment to the project’s driving innovation: having students use geospatial information technology (GIT) to learn about weather, climate, and ecosystems. The GIT in STORE was a combination of freely available place-based geospatial data sets and visualization tools. The goal was to structure the innovation and its professional development so that participating teachers plan for and enact effective instruction with the innovation then achieve optimal impacts on student learning and engagement. The article describes how STORE addressed challenges about how to get teachers to persist with the innovation and use it skillfully. Most teachers persisted through multiple implementations. In addition, they developed and enacted a diverse set of curricula and instructional strategies, resulting in the innovation reaching diverse middle school, high school, and community college students in a wide range of science courses.