‘I’m Upset’: Thinking Beyond ‘One Size Fits All Approaches’ to GIS Education.

Authors: Bradley Gardener*, Temple University
Topics: Geography Education, Geographic Information Science and Systems
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/6/2019
Start / End Time: 9:55 AM / 11:35 AM
Room: 8224, Park Tower Suites, Marriott, Lobby Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

‘I’m Upset’ is the title of a recent song performed by Hip Hop artist Drake as part of a rap battle with rival Pusha T. ‘I’m Upset’ is also something one of my struggling students uttered after failing to reach the correct solution on a high stakes exam she took in my Fundamentals of GIS class.
In her delivery of these words she pantomimed Drake, using the same affect the Hip Hop superstar expressed in response to his critics. My student wasn’t going to complain or blame anyone for her perceived failures - rather, she was frustrated to be in a situation where despite putting in an earnest effort to prepare for the exam and solve the problem, she was still coming up short.
In this paper I would like to address the frustrations of GIS teachers who feel that it is difficult to please everyone in a beginners GIS class. Our students often come to us with wildly different GIS skills and aptitudes - some of them have professional GIS and coding experience while others have never used Windows before. Novices need too much individual help and the more advanced students aren’t challenged enough. Our energy is split towards achieving two conflicting goals - trying to make the course easier and harder at the same time.
I propose a restructuring of traditional GIS course materials and assessments into a configuration that mitigates against the difficulties associated with a ’one size fits all’ approach that characterizes most beginning GIS classes.

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