Monday Oral Session A
Oral Session Part of Monday Oral Session A
Elisabeth Ervin-Blankenheim, Front Range Community College
Climate Curricular Connections Identified by Core Science Teachers
Debbie French, Wake Forest University
Ana Houseal, University of Wyoming
Teaching climate change is often relegated to Earth and environmental science courses, yet fewer than one in six high school students take these courses. Thus, it may be advantageous to teach climate concepts in core science classes to ensure more students are exposed to these ideas. Additionally, many climate concepts align with all four Disciplinary Core Ideas in the Next Generation Science Standards. This study sought to determine the extent core science teachers feel it is their role to teach climate change, describe their preparation to teach climate change, and identify connections these science teachers make between climate change and their content area and other science subjects. Sixty-one secondary science teachers participated in this study. Teachers' responses show little consensus among key climate change topics. Interestingly, teachers connected anthropogenic causes of climate change to all science disciplines, Earth science teachers were the only group to cite "natural" causes. Teacher preparation pathways may influence their pedagogical decisions. This study's findings have implications for science teacher professional development providers, science teacher professional associations, and preservice science teacher educators as the results yield insight as to core science teachers' climate change curricular connections and identify areas for professional development.
Teaching Deep Time Principles: Study Methodology and Phase I Survey Results
Elisabeth Ervin-Blankenheim, Front Range Community College
Teaching deep-time concepts, especially geologic time, can help instructors impart an understanding of the big ideas in geology and the biography of the Earth to their students (Dodick, 2003a; Ervin-Blankenheim, 2021; Guffey et al., 2016; Libarkin & Kurziel, 2004; Zen, 2001). This research was conducted through a case study mixed-methods approach (Guetterman & Fetters, 2016; Stake, 2005) and examined instructor practices through a quantitative instructor survey, qualitative semi-structured interviews, and instructors' experiences and reflections on teaching deep-time concepts with three experiential laboratories. Grounded theory (Glaser & Strauss, 1967, 2017; Strauss, 1987) was used for the qualitative data and situational analysis (Clarke, 2005; Clarke et al., 2018), employed to view study results from a broader vantage. The first research query, which focused on how instructors are teaching deep-time concepts, was addressed by a survey consisting of a 34-item multiple-choice, multiple-response, short answer, and 5-point Likert scale instrument. The survey was offered to members of the Geoscience Education Research Division of NAGT through an online Qualtrics instrument and received 60 responses, with an average of 38 surveys fully completed for a response rate of approximately 13%.Among the results of the survey, most instructors (76.2%) were taught geologic time in their introductory college geology courses, and mainly (62.5%) by analogies or similes; of those surveyed, most (89.5%) teach geologic time in their classes, with geologic time as a topic making up <10% of lectures (47.2%) and between 10-25% of labs (16.7%). Methods frequently mentioned were lectures, analogies, demonstrations, problem sets, and think-pair-share. Dissonance was noted in the Likert-scale data. When asked how comfortable instructors were in teaching geologic time, most strongly agreed (mean 1.32, std. dev. 0.525), compared to what students grasped, most somewhat agreed (mean 1.76, std. dev. 0.590).
Barriers & Catalysts to Implementing Evidence-Based Instructional Methods in Higher Education Geoscience Classrooms After Professional Development Participation
Collette Wilfong, University of Colorado at Boulder
Leilani Arthurs, University of Colorado at Boulder
Evidence-based instructional methods (EBIMs) increase student learning outcomes in undergraduate geoscience classrooms (Freeman et al., 2014). Borrego, Stains, and colleagues estimate that only 40-50% of instructors employ EBIMs in their STEM classrooms (Borrego et al., 2010; Stains et al., 2018). It is still unclear what drives instructors to adopt or not adopt EBIMs. This study investigates the following research question: What is the relationship between attending teaching-focused professional development (PD) programs and instructors' decisions on whether and how to implement EBIMs? Triadic reciprocal determinism (TRD) (Bandura, 1971) is used as a theoretical framework in this study to explore the connections between personal, environmental, and behavioral factors. This study uses the methodology of a multiple-case study. Data collection methods involved Zoom-based interviews. Data was coded with a priori defined factors from the TRD model. Interview data reveals that a complex interaction between all three factors is involved in an instructor's decision to attend PD and their decisions on whether to implement EBIMs after participating in PD programs. From the interview data, key components of each of the three TRD factors were identified as barriers or catalysts to implementing EBIMs after participating in PD programs. Recommendations are made for how to build stronger PD programs that address the barriers that instructors face when attempting to implement EBIMs after attending PD programs.
Professional Development Program Design and Potential for Higher Education Transformation at Three Types of Institutions of Higher Education
Holly Fortener, University of Colorado at Boulder
Leilani Arthurs, University of Colorado at Boulder
Teaching-focused professional development (PD) programs are experiences such as workshops designed to educate higher education instructors on topics related to teaching and learning. PD programs are common forms of pedagogy training that are typically offered through professional societies and organizations, on-campus offices, and other entities. Despite the plethora of PD programs available to faculty, there remain gaps in our collective knowledge about how these programs are structured, how they are administered, what impacts they have on teaching practices, and what impacts they have on student learning. The purpose of this multiple-case study is to fill these gaps in the literature by determining the similarities and differences that exist among teaching-focused PD programs in terms structure and implementation, and the capacity for PD programs to facilitate education transformation in teaching practices and student learning outcomes. To achieve these goals, the study focused on three cases of US public institutions of higher education: a community college, an emerging-research institution, and a research-intensive institution. Project leads and graduate students created a database of PD programs offered at each institution between 2014 and 2019 to record key characteristics. Each program was examined through the lens of two models of effective teaching-focused PD. Borko's model describes the interplay between the PD program, its facilitators, and its teacher participants (Borko et al., 2007). Futrell's model describes factors that influence the relationship between PD and education transformation (Futrell et al., 1995). The results indicate that teaching-focused PD programs are more likely to contribute to higher education transformation in institutions that value teaching, such as community colleges and emerging-research institutions, compared to research-intensive institutions that tend to value research over teaching. Recommendations are offered for how each type of institution can develop their PD programs to better meet the needs of instructors and more effectively facilitate education transformation.
Understanding Discovery Across SERC-Hosted Websites
Sean Fox, Carleton College
Kristin O'Connell, Carleton College
Ashley Carlson, Carleton College
mahdi mohamed, Carleton College
The Science Education Resource Center (SERC) hosts materials from over 120 geoscience education projects. However, the project-focused nature of the SERC website means that information is siloed and users have difficulty navigating the full breadth of the collections. Over the last 3 years, through the Compass project, we have been collecting data on how users move through our sites and interact with our discovery systems. At the same time we have been making adjustments to these systems and adding new discovery-enabling features. In this presentation we'll share what we've learned so far about how Earth educators navigate our sites and the effectiveness of the discovery-enabling changes we've made. We will present data from our web analytics system that tracks fine-grain information down to the level of individual clicks from the over 5 million annual SERC visitors. These data illuminate visitor use of portal sites and our recommender system, how they interact with our various search interfaces and the frequency and ways in which visitors move across the boundaries between project websites. A key observation is that the diversity of ways in which visitors interact with the site mean that any single improvement strategy (e.g. improving text search results) is unlikely to be broadly beneficial. Instead it is important to focus on providing multiple paths and opportunities for visitor to learn about and navigate to resources relevant to their needs. Understanding how these interactions play out and how we've tried to support them can not only inform projects and other groups interested in discover in general, it provides insight for individuals on how they might better explore and capitalize on SERC's collections to meet their own needs as Earth educators.
Understanding Weather Extremes with Big Data: Inspiring Rural Youth in Data Science (WeatherX)
Brian Fitzgerald, Mount Washington Observatory
As scientific discovery becomes ever more data-driven, there is a critical need to build a scientific workforce with robust skills in scientific modeling and large-scale data analysis. Nowhere is the need to strengthen learning opportunities greater than in rural areas, where a majority of the nation's school districts reside and where under-investment persists. The "WeatherX" project uses the data visualization tool Common Online Data Analysis Platform (CODAP), as well as large-scale data from the Mount Washington Observatory (MWO) and the National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI) to conduct investigations into "normal" and "extreme" weather to promote skills in analyzing scientific data and interest in data science careers among middle school students in rural areas. These local and regional data investigations are supplemented with multiple community-based resources, including a "Chat With a Scientist" opportunity, where classrooms virtually connect with and interview MWO Weather Observers who work on the summit of Mount Washington. Students who have opportunities to interact with scientists, such as those who work on Mount Washington, may develop insights into what it means to do science professionally and expand views of who can be a scientist. Preliminary findings from student and teacher surveys show successes with the use of locally-relevant resources, live connections with scientists at MWO and the production and use of curriculum-driven videos and multimedia.