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Expanding Environmental and Watershed Literacy Inquiry Practice With Geospatial Technology Tools

800 450 Stroud Water Research Center

Have you been searching for the missing link that helps bridge the gap between environmental content and environmental literacy development? Are you hoping to help your students understand their connections to their local environment, but are limited by established curriculum sequences? Have COVID restrictions on classroom and lab experiences limited your ability to design real-world STEM explorations using the environment as an integrative concept? If you answered yes to any of these questions, this is the professional development (PD) opportunity for you!

Using Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and geospatial technologies to explore complex interdisciplinary phenomena, such as environmental issues, has been demonstrated as a highly effective method for both teachers and students to better understand connections within the natural world at all grade levels.

Educators receiving instruction on using Monitor My Watershed.

Connecting spatial representation and explorations to local field-based inquiry further improves understanding in a tangible way while creating a sense of place and connection to the issue. Yet, knowing which GIS tools to use and how to use them to enhance a new existing curriculum can initially be quite daunting to educators. 

We are seeking K-12 educators in Pennsylvania to participate in the pilot of an innovative professional development series designed to enhance educators’ Watershed Inquiry and Environmental Literacy Classroom Practices. The 5-week online course will premiere in late fall 2021.

The PD structure includes 15 hours of synchronous and asynchronous instruction with an additional 15-30 hours of assignment work. Participants are expected to:

  • complete the full training;
  • complete pre, post, and follow-up surveys; and
  • design and implement an inquiry-based unit plan which utilizes select GIS tools within six weeks of the course completion.

In return, participants will receive a stipend, and will also be eligible for up to 30 hours of Act 48.

At this time we are only collecting contact and availability preference information to gauge interest, and so we can schedule sessions that suit the majority of educators. Registration details, including dates and times, will follow.

Questions? Contact Tamara Peffer (tpeffer@pa.gov or 717-772-0842).

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Pennsylvania Department of Education logo
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Stroud Water Research Center logo, black text with dark blue waves