- High school freshmen; Transfer of training; Geographic information systems--Study and teaching (Secondary);
The purpose of this study was to investigate the transfer of geospatial technology knowledge and skill presented in a social sciences course context to other core areas of the curriculum. Specifically, this study explored the transfer of geospatial technology knowledge and skill to the STEM-related core areas of science and mathematics among ninth-grade students. Haskell's (2001) research on "levels of transfer" provided the theoretical framework for this study, which sought to demonstrate the experimental group's higher ability to transfer geospatial skills, higher mean assignment scores, higher post-test scores, higher geospatial skill application and deeper levels of transfer application than the control group. The participants of the study consisted of thirty ninth-graders enrolled in U.S. History, Earth Science and Integrated Mathematics 1 courses. The primary investigator of this study had no previous classroom experiences with this group of students. The participants who were enrolled in the school's existing two-section class configuration were assigned to experimental and control groups. The experimental group had ready access to Macintosh MacBook laptop computers, and the control group had ready access to Macintosh iPads. All participants in U.S. History received instruction with and were required to use ArcGIS Explorer Online during a Westward Expansion project. All participants were given the ArcGIS Explorer Online content assessment following the completion of the U.S. History project. Once the project in U.S. History was completed, Earth Science and Integrated Mathematics 1 began units of instruction beginning with a multiple-choice content pre-test created by the classroom teachers. Experimental participants received instruction with ArcGIS Explorer Online and were required to use ArcGIS Explorer Online with the class project. Control group participants received the same unit of instruction without the use or influence of ArcGIS Explorer Online. At the end of the Earth Science and Integrated Math 1 units, the same multiple-choice test was administered as the content post-test. Following the completion of Earth Science and Integrated Math 1 post-tests, both the experimental and control groups were given geospatial technologies questionnaires. The experimental group's questionnaire asked participants how they used points, the measure tool, and base maps of ArcGIS Explorer Online, while the control group's questionnaire asked participants how they could have used points, the measure tool, and base maps of ArcGIS Explorer Online. The ordinal data gleaned from the questionnaire rubric was analyzed by using the Chi-square statistic.
The results showed no statistically significant difference between the experimental and control groups. However, the modest gain in transfer ability among experimental participants is encouraging. Future research using bigger samples and conducted over longer periods of time in more than one school would contribute greatly to the new and important field of geospatial technology and transfer skills.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/curtis-nielsen/1/