The impacts of Global Information Systems (GIS) learning activities on high school students' attitudes and behaviors

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Montana State University - Bozeman, College of Letters & Science


Do students view using computer based mapping software or Global Information Systems (GIS) as hands-on, real-world learning activities? This study investigated student attitudes and behaviors around using GIS in a high school earth science curriculum. A single treatment compared three types of assignments during one unit of study. Students engaged in a traditional hands-on lab, a computer based assignment, and an assignment that used GIS. Students engagement for each assignment was measured using an observation rubric, completion rates were monitored, and student attitudes were tested using a student survey and student interviews. Students demonstrated a preference for hands-on labs, and GIS assignments were viewed as more hands-on when compared to other computer-based assignments. Students perceived GIS assignments as more relevant than other assignments. GIS assignments can be used to increase relevance in an earth science curriculum and to make computer-based curriculum feel more hands-on.




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