A Curriculum-linked Professional Development Approach to Support Teachers' Adoption of Socio-Environmental Science Investigation
Abstract: Many teachers have not had professional development experiences that foster sufficient geospatial pedagogical content knowledge to implement science curriculum using geospatial technologies that promote science learning and the development of geospatial thinking skills. To address this, we have developed and implemented an approach to promote teachers’ professional growth with curriculum-linked professional development to support the adoption of novel socio-environmental science investigations (SESI) using a geospatial curriculum approach. SESI are based on the pedagogical frameworks of place-based education, socioscientific issues-based instruction, and citizen science. Our curriculum development follows a design partnership model and focuses on collaborative design and implementation of curriculum in keeping with models of school-based reform. Four teachers in an urban high school participated during the first year of this design, development, and curriculum implementation process. Three SESI investigations were developed and the prototype versions were implemented during the last eight weeks of the 2016-2017 school year with 150 ninth grade students. To examine teachers’ growth in their geospatial science pedagogical content knowledge, we administered the Geospatial Science-Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge (GS-TPACK) instrument to all participating teachers at the beginning and end of the school year. The participating teachers also completed a questionnaire designed to analyze the perceived impact of the professional development to support their geospatial pedagogical content knowledge related to teaching the SESI investigations. Findings from the GS-TPACK instrument revealed growth in teachers’ geospatial technology use, geospatial technology content knowledge, and geospatial technology pedagogical content knowledge. In response to the questionnaire items, the teachers all discussed how the geospatial technologies have aided their ability to implement spatial thinking into their classroom environments and teaching methods.