Researchers at the University of Colorado Boulder, the National Snow and Ice Data Center, the University of Montana Western and Western Washington University will develop an innovative geoscience curriculum using Interactive Environments (IE)or Augmented Reality (AR) technology combined with previously developed curriculum based on Geospatial Information System (GIS) technology. Connecting polar-focused material with innovative teaching methods presents an opportunity to advance Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education and increase polar knowledge. The overarching goal of the "Polar Space and Place" project is to study the use of innovative and potentially transformative instructional technology to enhance and enliven STEM undergraduate teaching and learning. Within this goal, the Polar Space and Place curricular materials and education research will address three objectives: 1) to advance spatial learning in the geoscience curriculum, 2) to increase polar knowledge and interest in undergraduate STEM majors, and 3) to develop and test innovative teaching tools and methods to increase ?sense of place? (a primary place-based education goal) remotely. The Polar Space and Place project will benefit society by testing, improving, and sharing tools to enhance STEM education. Furthermore, it will increase undergraduate spatial thinking skills, as well as students? knowledge of and connection to the polar environment. These in turn support gains in overall Earth science and climate literacy. Through partnerships with the National Association of Geoscience Teachers (NAGT) and the Science Education Resources Center (SERC), project activities and material will reach a broad audience. SERC website material is freely available, and curriculum will also be linked to other popular resources including InTeGrate, GETSI, Teach the Earth, and Cutting Edge. Many educators will also be exposed to the materials and research findings via NAGT-sponsored webinars, Earth Educator Rendezvous activities and small workshop activities at the conferences and meetings attended by the diverse project team.
Researchers will use the NSF InTeGrate and GETSI techniques to develop two new instructional modules to be deployed at a total of four institutions. The two module topics are Glacial Basin Systems and Ice sheet growth and retreat. Each module will consist of three parts: primary course material, GIS course material, and IE/AR material. This project is funded by the Office of Polar Programs and the Division of Undergraduate Education.
This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.