SSU School of Education Geospatial Workshop


Dr. Jessica K. Parker, Asst. Professor
Maas Anderson, Graduate student
Natalie Wojinski, Graduate student

At Sonoma State University, we offered a participatory workshop on Google Earth and Google Maps for our single subject and special education credential students. These workshops were facilitated by graduate students in the educational technology emphasis of our Curriculum, Teaching, and Learning Master's program. The workshops infused a participatory model of learning in which pre-service teachers explored three different features of the geospatial technologies and shared their experiences along the way with the class. One of the goals of the workshops was to allow students to mess around with Google Earth and Maps as they learned specific skills while also making the activity personally relevant and applicable to teaching in their content area.

Reinventing Technology Workshops for Educators:

SSU Google Earth Workshop

We chose to engage the pre-service teachers in a participatory model of learning with our Google Earth workshop (download the lesson plans below). We were interested in promoting chronological and spatial thinking, teaching some of the basic elements of Google Earth such as "fly to", "layers", and "historical imagery," and discussing how the geospatial tool could be used in their teaching.

Rather than have the students watch and follow the lead of an instructor at the front of the computer lab which is a common approach of skill-based technology workshops, our the workshop was student-centered and collaborative. This allowed us to foster an environment in which everyone, even the facilitator, was both a teacher and learner of Google Earth, and also ensured that the students participated in their own learning of the geospatial tool through exploration, risk taking, and collaboration.

Notice the different characteristics of a participatory technology workshop versus a traditional skill-based technology workshop:

 Participatory workshop Traditional skill-based workshop
 Facilitator promotes student exploration and participation
 Instructor shows students how to use the tool
 Student-centered environment with focus on sharing experiences with the class
 Instructor-centered environment with focus on instructor sharing his knowledge of the tool
 Personally relevant--teaching skills in context
 Skill based--teaching skills out of context
 Focus on producing technological content knowledge
 Focus on learning how to use tool
 Buddy system: students share and discuss their experiences with buddy
 Individual focus: one student at one computer focusing on his own learning of the tool

Below are photos from the Google Earth workshop facilitated by upper elementary teacher Maas Anderson:

Picasa Slideshow

Check out our Pre-Service Teacher Technology Showcase held on December 8, 2011.

Jessica Parker,
Nov 5, 2011, 4:01 PM
Jessica Parker,
Nov 5, 2011, 4:01 PM