A Phenomenological Study of a Collaborative Inquiry Model for Teaching Educators to Use Geographic Information Systems
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Geographic inquiry increases higher-order thinking skills which can be supported through the use of Geographic Information Systems (GIS). The purpose of this research project examines the effect of using a Collaborative Inquiry Model (CIM) model during professional development on the rate of effective GIS implementation in K-12 classrooms. The barriers to implementing GIS in the geography classroom include lack of curriculum, support, and access to local data. The teachers that do use GIS in their classroom often use the program as a digital atlas instead of as a tool for geographic inquiry. As part of the CIM model, teachers will become members of an online professional support network, participate in a summer in-service program, and develop locally relevant, inquiry-based curriculum utilizing GIS for the classroom. Collaborative inquiry models have been used in mathematics, science and technology disciplines in education, but not geography. By using CIM, the curriculum, support and data barriers are eliminated, and it is hoped that the model will increase the effective use of GIS to support the inquiry process.