Experiential Learning: Apps to inspire research in on-line courses.

Authors: Carol Campbell*, New Mexico State University
Topics: Education , Geography Education
Keywords: citizen science, geographic data collection, experiential learning
Session Type: Virtual Paper
Day: 4/8/2021
Start / End Time: 8:00 AM / 9:15 AM
Room: Virtual 24
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Engaging students in experiential learning by employing citizen science apps as field activities can demonstrate the range of topics and approaches geographers use to collect, manipulate, and display data. My experiential learning approach includes explicit description of the scientific method, data collection, summary, and mapping, and potentially recruits curious geographers into the major. By developing activities that employ citizen science apps, students participate in data collection and mapping activities in an on-line freshman level course. The activities link to chapter topics, such as biodiversity, energy and primary productivity, or pollution and recycling, for example. Evidence of accomplishing learning objectives result from reports and data organization assignments. I describe two examples including data collection, organization and map production. Employing site-specific surveys generated in Survey123, students mapped locations of common tree species, and waste bins on campus. Students off campus were instructed to use the satellite image option within the app to zoom in and identify features and locations. I designed an Excel activity to demonstrate data organization, summary, and display. Next, students mapped the survey results in Google Earth and GIS, and described spatial patterns. The objective of this effort was to design activities that make the link between apps, maps, features of the environment, and geographic concepts obvious; thus, prompting the realization that we all use geographic approaches in our everyday lives. Developing assessment tools and structured discussions for these activities will likely improve the learning, and possibly the recruiting and retention of freshman students in geography.

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