Bringing meaningful and diverse narratives into learning geology and paleontology through story maps

Wednesday 1:50 PT / 2:50 MT / 3:50 CT / 4:50 ET Online
Oral Session Part of Oral Session I: Student Learning


Christy Visaggi, Georgia State University
Megan Rich, Georgia State University
Evan R. Jones, Georgia State University
Cameron Muskelly, Georgia State University
Leonardo A. Maduro-Salvarrey, Georgia State University
Candice E.N. Simon, Georgia State University
Robert A. Wilson, Georgia State University

Stories can be used to make connections that not only convey information but bring emotion and deeper meaning into educational experiences. They offer an opportunity to humanize learning, foster community, and promote a sense of belonging. Stories that have meaningful connections to familiar landscapes or culture can be particularly engaging by building on prior knowledge and a sense of place. However, stories aren't often emphasized as part of learning, as outcomes are usually focused on memorizing facts, acquiring specific skills, etc. Storytelling remains underutilized in the instruction of paleontology and geology yet offers a way to challenge existing narratives that often aren't inclusive to all identities.

We share here several projects focused on developing resources that emphasize storytelling in geology and paleontology through ArcGIS story maps. Teams and individual students at Georgia State University, a minority-serving institution in downtown Atlanta, helped to create these story maps with education and outreach goals in mind as part of their coursework or related efforts in the Department of Geosciences. These story maps include a) a focus on diverse individuals who have made important contributions in the history of geosciences globally, b) stories at the intersection between paleontology and culture, c) explorations of Georgia building stones in recognizable structures across the nation and beyond, and d) stories that draw attention to the history of oppression in studying the geology in building stones around the country. Our presentation will additionally review how story maps can be used for assessments, particularly in encouraging students to synthesize and communicate their knowledge, organize information in useful ways, and engage in reflection as part of experiential learning frameworks. By sharing these story maps more broadly here, we hope to expand access to these meaningful narratives and inspire others to embrace more storytelling in student learning.

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