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 The TU Ilmenau develops tomorrow’s chip technology today
27.04.2017 | Technische Universität Ilmenau

nachricht Five developments for improved data exploitation
19.04.2017 | Deutsches Forschungszentrum für Künstliche Intelligenz GmbH, DFKI

All articles from Information Technology >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Making lightweight construction suitable for series production

More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.

Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...

Im Focus: Wonder material? Novel nanotube structure strengthens thin films for flexible electronics

Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.

"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...

Im Focus: Deep inside Galaxy M87

The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.

Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

7th International Conference on Crystalline Silicon Photovoltaics in Freiburg on April 3-5, 2017

03.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Bare bones: Making bones transparent

27.04.2017 | Life Sciences

Study offers new theoretical approach to describing non-equilibrium phase transitions

27.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

From volcano's slope, NASA instrument looks sky high and to the future

27.04.2017 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>