Initial Publication Date: May 7, 2007

Workshop on Teaching with GeoPads: Goals, Schedule and Participants

Montana State University - February 16 - 18, 2007

This working group for this workshop has been invited because of their expertise in using this great new technology. They have the best perspective on the type of information that is needed to help the larger geoscience community use GeoPads. So, the scheduling and topics that are suggested in the following agenda can be modified to meet their needs. This page includes:

Workshop Goals

  • Define goals for using GeoPads (for example, learning goals beyond map making) by addressing the questions:
    • What new thinking skills and problem-solving strategies are presented by GeoPads?
    • Why does the use of GeoPads create a better learning opportunity for students, the future of geo-data, and the professional standard?
  • Develop resources and tutorials to help facilitate use of GeoPads across the geoscience curriculum by investigating how to lower barriers so that interested novices can effectively acquire, use, and maintain GeoPads by helping them find and use resources already developed, and to work more efficiently by not reinventing the wheel. We will address this by including information about:
    • "how to" advice on the design of GeoPad exercises and how to prepare GeoPads for use (for example, what software and hardware do you need; what sources of data are available; what is required to set up the instruments for use in the field?); and provide examples of matching learning goals to desired skills to required GeoPad functionality;
    • what students should know and be able to do in the field (for example, finding locations, mapping, note taking, integration of datasets) and the rationale for doing it that way (for example, might not give them a GPS until they spend sometime finding themselves with a compass and topo sheet, then with an aerial photo, then a GPS); and
    • how one might transform the work on the GeoPad into a final product (for example, a hard-copy, electronic, or oral report).
  • Compile the experience and advice of active users of GeoPads to help identify "best practices" (for example, the advice you've learned from experience that you can pass onto newcomers)
  • Aggregate supporting materials that document the use of GeoPads (for example, instructions on "how to...", where to find data) and identify areas where more supporting documentation is needed
  • Create a collection of teaching activities to be used as models for others to follow (for example, showing step by step examples of how the project was set up; what the educational goals of the exercise are; what skills were students expected to use and/or master as a way of achieving those goals; examples of student notes, maps, other outcomes; assessments of final products, what are the assessment criteria and how do they map to the educational goals)

  • Workshop Schedule

    Thursday February 15

    8:00am - 7:00pm - Travel to Bozeman (pick up or shuttle from airport)

    7:30pm - Dinner at The Mint Restaurant

    Friday February 16

    7:00am - 8:00am - Breakfast at Grantree Inn (charge to room)

    8:00am - Van pickup at Grantree Inn

    8:15am - 8:30am - Meet at MSU in SUB Room 276
    • Introduction
    • Welcome
    • Examples of web-based tutorials as a guide to what we can create
    8:30am - 10:00am - Discussion I
    Whole-group round table discussion on how we currently using GeoPads; perhaps short presentations or demonstrations of current activities would be useful; we can have LCD projector, overheads available, or feel free to bring maps, field guides and other materials to share. No formal presentations, perhaps a few slides as examples or handouts of exercises, maps, reports, etc. (~15-20 minutes each)
    • What types of projects have you done, both GIS- and non-GIS- based?
    • What do students need to know or be able to do to effectively use GeoPads in a variety of activities? Knowledge of GPS and GIS-at what level?
    • What were the learning goals and outcomes?
    • What types of assessments do you use?
    • In your experience, what worked, what didn't?
    • Any important hardware and software tips-and-tricks?
    10:00am - 10:30am - Break

    10:30am - 12:00pm - Discussion II
    What Resources are Currently Available; What is Needed?; Who is our audience?
    • Create an inventory of the resources that participants have already developed; What software is needed? What documentation is needed?
    • "Gap Analysis" of what other documentation is needed.
    • Begin an outline of the essential information needed to create the on-line tutorial on how to determine what you need for your goals and how to set up and use GeoPads; identify individuals or small groups to work on the selected topics
    • Different needs for PDAs v. tablets?
    • Other instruments - e.g. range finders, magnetometers?
    12:00pm - 1:00pm - Lunch

    1:00pm - 2:00pm - Introduction to the SERC Content Management System - Karin Kirk
    • With the framework of the website set up, we will demonstrate the basics of entering text and images into the webpages
    • MSU staff will be available to work with groups to help with additional formatting tasks
    2:00pm - 2:30pm - Break

    2:30pm - 4:30pm - Group Writing

    4:30pm - 5:00pm - Daily Wrap-up
    • Whole group review of progress made
    • Report-outs and demonstrations from work groups
    • Set work plans for Saturday
    6:00pm - Dinner at Montana AleWorks

    Saturday February 17

    7:00am - 8:00am - Breakfast at Grantree Inn (charge to room)

    8:00am - Van pickup at Grantree Inn

    8:15am - Meet at MSU in Traphagen (TRAP) Hall

    8:30am - 12:00pm - Work in computer classrooms in TRAP Hall
    • Set work priorities for the day.
    • Reflect on what we've accomplished, what's needed
    • Morning-Free Write Session with support from MSU staff
    • Pre-Lunch Road Check-How are we doing?
    12:00pm - 1:30pm - Lunch

    1:30pm - 2:30pm - Assessment
    • Assessment of effectiveness of GeoPads in different instructional environments
    • Assessment of GeoPad teaching activities
    • Assessment of student projects - How do we know this is all working to achieve stated goals?
    • Peter Knoop to lead discussion of what's been done with respect to assessment, what next steps are needed
    2:30pm - 4:30pm - Continued Group Writing

    4:30pm - 5:00pm - Daily Wrap-up
    • Walk through of website
    • Assignment of next steps (additional material to be found or written)
    • Review
    5:00pm - 6:45pm - Return to hotel to relax

    7:00pm - Dinner at Bozeman Bistro

    Sunday February 18

    Shuttle to airport for departures
    Recreational activity (To Be Determined - downhill or Nordic skiing, field trip to Yellowstone, other)

    List of Participants

    • George Brimhall
      University of California, Berkeley
      brimhall at
    • Stuart Challender
      Montana State University
      schallender at
    • Diana Cooksey
      Montana State University
      dcooksey at
    • Benjamin Crosby
      Idaho State University
      crosbenj at
    • Mark Helper
      University of Texas, Austin
      helper at
    • Peter Knoop - Workshop Convener
      University of Michigan
      knoop at
    • Mark Manone
      Northern Arizona University
      mark.manone at
    • Dave Mogk - Workshop Convener
      Montana State University
      mogk at
    • Nathan Niemi
      University of Michigan
      naniemi at
    • Jeff Snyder
      Bowling Green State University
      jasnyd at
    • Ben van der Pluijm
      University of Michigan
      vdpluijm at
    • Tim Wawrzyniec
      University of New Mexico
      tfw at

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