Inspired by the recommendations of the NSF report “Fostering Learning in the Networked World: The Cyberlearning Opportunity and Challenge” (NSF08204), the NSF National STEM Digital Learning program funded “Planning for the Future of Geocybereducation” Workshop sought to bring together leaders from the geoscience education community, from major geoscience research initiatives, and from the growing public- and private-sector geoscience information community. The objectives of the workshop were to begin conversations aimed at identifying best practices and tools for geoscience cyber-education, in the context of both the changing nature of learners and of rapidly evolving geo-information platforms, and to provide guidance to the NSF as to necessary future directions and needs for funding. 65 participants met and interacted live for the two-day workshop, with ongoing post-meeting virtual interactions via a collaborative workspace (www.geocybered.ning.com). Topics addressed included the rapidly changing character of learners, the growing capabilities of geoscience information systems and their affiliated tools, and effective models for collaboration among educators, researchers and geoinformation specialists. Discussions at the meeting focused on the implications of changing learners on the educational process, the challenges for teachers and administrators in keeping pace, and on the challenges of communication among these divergent professional communities. Ongoing virtual discussions and collaborations have produced a draft workshop document, and the workshop conveners are maintaining the workshop site as a venue for ongoing discussion and interaction. Several key challenges were evident from the workshop discussions and subsequent interactions: a) the development of most of the large geoinformatics and geoscience research efforts were not pursued with education as a significant objective, resulting in limited financial support for such activities after the fact; b) the “playing field” of cybertechnologies relevant to geoscience education, research and informatics changes so rapidly that even committed “players” find that staying current is challenging; c) the scholarly languages of geoscience education, geoscience research, and geoinformatics are different, making easy communication about respective needs and constraints surprisingly difficult; and d) the impact of “everyday” cybertechnologies on learner audiences is profound and (so far) not well addressed by educators. Discussions on these issues are ongoing in a number of other venues.
Scholar Commons Citation
Ryan, Jeffrey G. and Eriksson, Susan, "Planning the Future of GeoCyberEducation" (2010). Geology Faculty Publications. 150.
Was this content written or created while at USF?