Discipline-Based Education Research (DBER) approach to improve geospatial teaching and learning

Type: Panel
Sponsor Groups: Geography Education Specialty Group, Stand-Alone Geographers Affinity Group, Community College Affinity Group, Careers and Professional Development
Poster #:
Day: 4/11/2018
Start / End Time: 8:00 AM / 9:40 AM (MDT)
Room: Studio 1, Marriott, 2nd Floor


In general, the distinction between education specialists whose primary focus is on teaching and DBER scholars who conduct research on teaching and learning is not recognized (National Research Council 2012). Much like the dynamic and large array of geospatial components that are increasingly drawing from or being drawn into a variety of disciplines, DBER is also a collection of related research fields rather than a single unified field. High quality DBER involves knowledge of the science; of the learning and teaching in that discipline; and the science of learning and teaching more generally. Until it became a field of study within a science discipline, DBER was mostly embraced by “border crossers” which is still the case today. It is an emerging field with a growing network of scholars and while most DBER research programs are housed within single academic departments DBER is conducted by interdisciplinary teams.

Similarly, the geospatial educational community is witnessing a “new revolution” in the way it needs to accommodate rapidly to changing technology, a multifaceted nature of space and new approaches to societal implications while trying to meet job market needs for graduates with at least basic geospatial competencies and capacity for lifelong learning. Multidisciplinary fields such as Geospatial Science & Technology and Geospatial Intelligence have led major efforts geared towards creating competency models (GIS&T Body of Knowledge, GEOINT Essential Body of Knowledge) to insure that students are equipped with necessary skills, knowledge and abilities to enter workforce. Unfortunately, little to no efforts have been made in studying how students learn in laboratory, computer-based, and field learning environments or what kind of teaching approaches work for students with very different backgrounds and abilities (e.g. gender, ethnicity, socio-economic status, students over traditional age, etc.). Given the focus on fostering lifelong learning in the geospatial rapidly changing landscape new pedagogical or andragogical methods are needed and DBER’s structure has been already proven successful in STEM areas already embedded in geospatial teaching and learning (especially the Geosciences). It can take a considerable amount of time and effort for interdisciplinary teams with professional expertise across several disciplines to establish common ground and become productive, but such teams can be instrumental in attacking some of the larger problems in human learning soon to be faced by geospatial disciplines. This “other type of research” is especially a great fit for Stand alone geographers and faculty at community or two-year colleges given their focus on teaching & learning and access to a more diverse student audience. This panel session will include contributions (short papers) to DBER-like approaches in geospatial education.


Type Details Minutes
Discussant Jerry Mitchell University of South Carolina 20
Discussant Trung Tran Fayetteville State University 20
Discussant Stewart Berry Caliper Corporation 20
Discussant Christina Hupy Boundless 20

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