Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Student-friendly GIS leads to real-world science inquiry and fulfills NRC report’s recommendations

09.02.2006


A newly published report by the National Research Council (NRC) urging educators to teach K-12 students to think spatially and to use geographic information systems (GIS) to do so underscores the importance of educational research underway at Northwestern University.



Because geographic information systems are designed for use by scientists and are too complex for classroom use, the NRC report calls for the development of GIS software specifically designed to meet the needs of elementary and secondary teachers and students.

In fact, a Northwestern research team already has developed such a geographic information system software tool. "Five years ago, we recognized the need for student-friendly GIS software," said Daniel Edelson, associate professor of education and computer science. With funding from the National Science Foundation, Edelson’ research team designed My World GIS.


My World GIS is a powerful geographic information system that makes it easy for students to use large data sets to investigate Earth and environmental science phenomena. Using My World students can display and manipulate real-world geographic data in much the way that professional scientists do.

"My World software’s unique strength is in enabling students as young as middle school to visualize and analyze geographic data," said Edelson, who also is director of Northwestern’s Geographic Data in Education Initiative (GEODE).

First published in 2004, My World takes into account the needs of teachers and constraints of school computing environments. It is already in use in schools throughout the United States.

In a middle school curriculum on plate tectonics developed by GEODE, for example, My World gives students the ability to create dynamic maps with as many as 100,000 data points showing earthquakes, volcanoes, land elevation and sea floor depth. The students analyze the data to explain the origin of different earth structures, map the boundaries of tectonics, and determine the direction of plate movement.

Edelson and his GEODE colleagues are investigating the hypothesis that using GIS to visualize large quantities of data not only provides students with opportunities to develop spatial reasoning abilities but also allows them to use these abilities to learn important science and geography content.

Students have used My World to investigate a wide range of topics, including the impact of mine runoff on water quality in the Appalachians, the effect of climate change on glaciers in Greenland, and the impact of the Gold Rush and westward expansion on Native American tribes.

In all of these cases, My World enables students to view and analyze scientific or historical data in the form of dynamic, customizable maps.

Students can also enter data they themselves have collected into My World. By mapping and analyzing that data in My World GIS, they can see spatial patterns that would not otherwise be apparent.

In addition to My World, GEODE has developed several standards-based curricula incorporating geographic information systems. These include a high school science textbook titled "Investigations of Environmental Science: A Case-based Approach to the Study of Environmental Science." Using this textbook and GIS software, high school students take on the role of environmental scientists and investigate real-world environmental problems.

The NRC report also recommends fostering spatial literacy though practices such as linking with standards, innovative teaching methods, teacher training and assessment -- all of which are components of the work of the GEODE Initiative.

Wendy Leopold | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.northwestern.edu
http://www.nap.edu/catalog/11019.html
http://myworldgis.org/myworld

More articles from Information Technology:

nachricht Supercomputing the emergence of material behavior
18.05.2018 | University of Texas at Austin, Texas Advanced Computing Center

nachricht Keeping a Close Eye on Ice Loss
18.05.2018 | Alfred-Wegener-Institut, Helmholtz-Zentrum für Polar- und Meeresforschung

All articles from Information Technology >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Explanation for puzzling quantum oscillations has been found

So-called quantum many-body scars allow quantum systems to stay out of equilibrium much longer, explaining experiment | Study published in Nature Physics

Recently, researchers from Harvard and MIT succeeded in trapping a record 53 atoms and individually controlling their quantum state, realizing what is called a...

Im Focus: Dozens of binaries from Milky Way's globular clusters could be detectable by LISA

Next-generation gravitational wave detector in space will complement LIGO on Earth

The historic first detection of gravitational waves from colliding black holes far outside our galaxy opened a new window to understanding the universe. A...

Im Focus: Entangled atoms shine in unison

A team led by Austrian experimental physicist Rainer Blatt has succeeded in characterizing the quantum entanglement of two spatially separated atoms by observing their light emission. This fundamental demonstration could lead to the development of highly sensitive optical gradiometers for the precise measurement of the gravitational field or the earth's magnetic field.

The age of quantum technology has long been heralded. Decades of research into the quantum world have led to the development of methods that make it possible...

Im Focus: Computer-Designed Customized Regenerative Heart Valves

Cardiovascular tissue engineering aims to treat heart disease with prostheses that grow and regenerate. Now, researchers from the University of Zurich, the Technical University Eindhoven and the Charité Berlin have successfully implanted regenerative heart valves, designed with the aid of computer simulations, into sheep for the first time.

Producing living tissue or organs based on human cells is one of the main research fields in regenerative medicine. Tissue engineering, which involves growing...

Im Focus: Light-induced superconductivity under high pressure

A team of scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg investigated optically-induced superconductivity in the alkali-doped fulleride K3C60under high external pressures. This study allowed, on one hand, to uniquely assess the nature of the transient state as a superconducting phase. In addition, it unveiled the possibility to induce superconductivity in K3C60 at temperatures far above the -170 degrees Celsius hypothesized previously, and rather all the way to room temperature. The paper by Cantaluppi et al has been published in Nature Physics.

Unlike ordinary metals, superconductors have the unique capability of transporting electrical currents without any loss. Nowadays, their technological...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Save the date: Forum European Neuroscience – 07-11 July 2018 in Berlin, Germany

02.05.2018 | Event News

Invitation to the upcoming "Current Topics in Bioinformatics: Big Data in Genomics and Medicine"

13.04.2018 | Event News

Unique scope of UV LED technologies and applications presented in Berlin: ICULTA-2018

12.04.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Supersonic waves may help electronics beat the heat

18.05.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Keeping a Close Eye on Ice Loss

18.05.2018 | Information Technology

CrowdWater: An App for Flood Research

18.05.2018 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>