1. Accomplishments

Executive Summary: The GRACE project successfully addressed its project goals in its first year. The major accomplishments include: 1) Recruitment and training of 22 teachers (with an additional 40 recruited for the second year); 2) Development/Adoption of 23 online modules; 3) Establishment of an extensive and active online social networking site; 4) Partnership building through 18 presentations at scholarly and professional meetings; and 5) Dissemination through 2 publications, 5 new websites, and 10 media reports.

 

Goals:

 

Overall, the four year goals of the GRACE project are: 1) Establish a three-stage process (Explorers, Investigators, Interns) that encourages a large number of middle and high school students and teachers to engage in learning through GIS/T experiences across the State of Michigan; and 2) Provide workplace and college experiences to students from underrepresented and rural communities.

 

Major Activities:

 

Our major activities for the first year fall into five areas: lesson development, teacher professional development, student engagement and training, social networking, and building partnerships for internships.

 

Specific Objectives:

 

For the first year, we had specific shorter term objectives related to both goals. 

 

A) For the three stage process, our first year objectives can be categorized into four of the five areas listed above:

 

1) Lesson adoption: We were planning to adopt 20 Explorer lessons, and 6 Investigator lessons.

 

2) Teacher professional development: We were planning to train 40 teachers at the Explorer level, and of those 40, to continue their training to the Investigator level for 30 teachers. 

 

3) Student engagement and training: We were planning to expose approximately 1000 students at the Explorer level and 500 students at the Investigator level.

 

4) Social networking: We were planning to set up a social networking site for teachers and encourage active participation throughout the lesson development and implementation process.

 

B) For the workplace and college experiences, our first year goals fell into two specific objectives:

 

1) Building partnerships for internships: We were planning to establish partnerships and identify sites for internship activities in Year 2 of the grant.

 

2) Student engagement and training: We were planning to begin training 75 students for internships.

 

Significant results:

 

For the first year, we were successful in addressing our objectives, although we fell short in reaching all expectations for reasons common to grants of this nature explained below.

 

A) For the three stage process, here are our results for each of objectives listed above:

 

1) Lesson adoption: We made some adjustments to the numbers of Explorer and Investigator lessons for the first grant year. We planned to adopt explorer lessons, which were designed to introduce students to GIS/T through the ArcGIS Online Portal and through demonstrations developed with online GIS/T tools and to build students’ basic understanding of GIS/T as well as pique student curiosity. These short and insertable lessons should have clear implications in STEM and social studies courses. In the process of selecting and adopting, we found that many existing GIS learning materials were rarely meeting our requirements. Therefore, we decided to develop five new explorer lessons on the basis of environmental significances of the Great Lakes. This series of lessons covers the topography, watershed, river, land use (human impact), and water quality in the Great Lakes, forming a nice sequence of scientific explorations of water environments (see Appendix A, GRACE Explorer Lessons). We also adopted 5 explorer lessons (see Appendix A, GRACE Explorer Lessons) and 13 Investigator lessons (Appendix B, Investigator Lessons v4).

 

2) Teacher professional development: We successfully recruited 45 teachers and selected 28 teachers who met the participation criteria. We provided training to all 28 teachers, and 22 teachers completed the entire professional development sequence, completing over 60 hours of training, covering both the Explorer and Investigator levels (See Appendix C GRACE-Cohort-1-Teachers). Also, the results of our evaluation of the PD sessions indicates high levels of teacher satisfaction and engagement with project activities. Supporting excerpts from the program evaluation data collected about workshop activities include:

 

a. Specific workshop element: For three items on the value and understanding of the GIS Education Community: 91% rated Strongly Agree or Agree/61% Strongly Agree:

 

 

b. Specific workshop element: For three items on the content lesson on elevation (first module lesson): 100% rated Strongly Agree or Agree/71% Strongly Agree, suggesting effective PD delivery, strong immediate uptake by teachers, indicating strong likelihood of classroom implementation:

 

c. Specific workshop element: For three items on relating GIS/T and GRACE project content to NGSS: 95% rated Strongly Agree or Agree/55% Strongly Agree, suggesting teachers found potential connections to the standards, but were not yet sure or convinced they would be established throughout the year:

 

 

d. For five items on overall effectiveness of quality of workshop: 95% rated Strongly Agree or Agree/74% Strongly Agree, suggesting teachers found the workshops of high quality and high likelihood of applicability (which was borne out in subsequent data collection activities and visits):

 

3) Student engagement and training: We exposed 569 students to various lessons at the Explorer level. Although the teachers have not yet implemented the Investigator lessons, this will occur beginning in September, 2015. Also as a result of delayed funding, the development timeline was delayed and intern training could not be addressed. This first cohort of GRACE teachers will start recruiting students through the courses they are teaching in September 2015. GRACE expects to have the 1st group students ready for Internship in Summer 2016.

 

4) Social networking: We set up a social networking site for teachers within The ESRI “Geonet” portal at https://geonet.esri.com/groups/grace . We were able to engage all 28 teachers in this social networking site throughout the lesson development and implementation process. These teachers networked not only among themselves, but also with program coordinators, and with other members of the GIS community. The GRACE social networking site has 104 members (as well as additional followers), 240 discussion items, and 6224 active contributions (comments, edits, poll participations, and status updates).  

 

The project continues exploring and improving the project’s social network infrastructure by introducing new and cutting-edge tools, such as GeoNet and ArcGIS Online Organizations (AGOO).

 

B) For the workplace and college experiences, our first year goals fell into two areas:

 

1) Building partnerships for internships: We are in the process of establishing partnerships through discussions and presentations with many agencies,

 

·         MiCAMP Annual Conference Presentation - September 17, 2014

·         Central Michigan GIS User Group Presentation - September 24, 2014

·         Eastern Michigan Council of Governments Presentation - September 24, 2014

·         Michigan CSS GIS Users Group Presentation - December 12, 2014

·         Upper Peninsula GIS Users Group Discussion - March 27, 2015

·         City of Detroit Department of Information Technology and Management (DITM) Presentation - July 7 2015

·         Michigan Department of Technology, Management and Budget (DTMB) Presentation – August 10, 2015.

As an example, for the Presentation at Detroit DITM, we proposed to build a consortium of City of Detroit, Detroit Public Schools (DPS) and the GRACE project to promote:

 

a)     Mayor Duggan’s Youth Technology Corps GIS Initiative, which will explore opportunities for paid GRACE internship in the City of Detroit

b)     DPS GIS Curriculum and College, Career and Civic Engagement as a dissemination of the GRACE project

c)      DPS Saturday GIS Academy for students to get more technical training qualifying as GRACE interns.

The presentation and discussion with Michigan DTMB was to take the Detroit Model across Michigan.

 

We have also been successful at recruiting professional geomentors for the project.

 

 

2) Student engagement and training: Per the timeline, we have not yet trained students for internship activities (to begin during Year 2), and thus, there are not yet any workplace or college experiences. It was our decision to delay internship training until we could draw from students who received Investigator level experiences.  However, we are in the process of identifying a small pool of potential student interns for piloting these activities for the 2015-16 school year. 

 

In addition, we are discussing a new ArcGIS Entry Level Certification with the leading GIS/T software company so that GRACE interns could achieve ESRI certification to have an industry-recognized standard professional certificate, which will help position them for competitive jobs (Appendix D – Communication with ESRI about ArcGIS Desktop Entry-Level Certification).

 

Key outcomes or other other achievements:

 

We have successfully recruited 40 teachers for our second cohort (see Appendix C). For this cohort, we conducted two parallel two-day intensive trainings in Iron Mountain, MI, on July 13-14 and in Allendale, MI, on July 16-17. We have prepared for a third parallel training session in Flint, MI, on September 25-26.  We will then combine these three groups and complete their Explorer level training in Winter 2016. We are looking at this shorter PD model (2 days + follow-up) as a more efficient, manageable, and accessible option for future teacher trainings, compared with the five consecutive summer day model, which tends to reduce participation for many teacher candidates simply as a matter of scheduling.

 

We have established appropriate processes for future cohorts of teachers in terms of professional development and are actively modifying strategies for achieving greater efficiencies in work processes. We have strengthened lines of communication and collaborative relationships among the grant partners. We have also defined new paths for students to explore in terms future career and university experiences.

 

Detroit Public Schools will launch a new high school GIS curriculum this fall with teacher participants from the GRACE Project serving as both faculty and geomentors for the student work, an unexpected boost of support for GIS/T learning in the district and a strong potential factor for program sustainability. Sheryl Jones, Social Studies Director for DPS and GRACE leadership submitted a Strategic Proposal to Lamont Satchel, DPS Chief Innovations Officer and Rodrick Brown, Chief Strategy Officer for DPS that has been accepted with great enthusiasm!

 

Mike Roland and Chris Woods from the Calumet Schools in the Keweenaw Peninsula are now working in collaboration with Kathleen Hart, Chief Interpreter, Keweenaw Historic Park National Park Service NPS and Steve Delong, NPS Resource Specialist using their AGOO skills and students to create a whole series of StoryMaps about the History of Michigan's Cooper Country. Other program impacts as a result of Year 1 GRACE activities include:

 

                     Major impact on the quantity of educational AGOOs in active use

                     GRACE Place is now one of the largest GIS  groups on GeoNet

                     Significant number of GRACE teachers using ESRI Virtual Campus

                     Major advances in the use of LearnArcGIS site for instructional use

                     Diversification of GRACE teachers across the state and region (one teacher from Kentucky)

                     Increasing collaboration between GRACE Instructors across the state

                     Ongoing development of implementation plans by all Cohort 1 teachers

                     Over 90% of interviewed Cohort 1 teachers (n=19) stated that they will continue conducting GIS/T units and modules in subsequent years regardless of whether they continue on with Investigator or Intern levels, suggesting these units, curricula and technologies are finding adoption and traction in project classrooms.

 

We also developed a new attitudinal assessment instrument that addresses appropriate quality criteria: validity, reliability, cultural responsiveness, brevity, comprehensiveness, and ease of online delivery to multiple platforms including mobile devices. The instrument constructs are grounded in the scholarly literature as being the most prominent in the field, including interest, confidence, commitment, career motivation, personal relevance, perceived value, perceived ability, self-efficacy, self-determination, and intrinsic/extrinsic motivation, and is aligned with NGSS standards.  The research team, after year 2 of implementation and subsequent validity checks, will provide the instrument and administration data to STELAR for widespread use in the field.

 

Training and Professional Development:

 

We accomplished a significant amount of training and professional development for both teachers and students. We conducted 12 professional development sessions for the first cohort of teachers, as well as a week-long summer institute focusing on Investigator level instruction (See Appendix E, GRACE Cohort 1 Summer Institute Agenda).

 

Dissemination:

 

Even within its first year, the GRACE project has been actively promoting its strategies, materials, and early findings:

 

Press Coverage:

 

February 4, 2015: EMU Geospatial researcher awarded $1.5 million grant Eastern Echo

 

February 5, 2015:

1. EMU researcher awarded $1.5 million grant to help teachers integrate GIS applications, ESRI News

2.       Eastern Michigan University researcher gets $1.5M grant WWMT 3 (Michigan & Indiana)

3.       Eastern Michigan University researcher gets $1.5M grant The Benton Herald Palladium

4.       Eastern Michigan University researcher gets $1.5M grant The Mining Journal (UP)

5.       Eastern Michigan University researcher gets $1.5M grant to help 120 teachers across the state The Republic (Indiana)

6.       Eastern Michigan University researcher gets $1.5M grant The Elkhart Truth

7.       Grant brings map tech to West Michigan, state classrooms WGVU public media (Grand Valley State)

8.       Eastern Michigan University researcher awarded $1.5 million grant to help teachers integrate GIS applications WLNS 6

9.       EMU researcher awarded $1.5 million grant to help teachers integrate GIS applications Ypsilanti Courier – Heritage Newspapers

10. MVU awarded grant to help students gain job skills and solve real world problems - Gud Marketing (1,800 media outlets in Michigan).

 

Conferences: We have presented at the following conferences:

 

Anderson, D. “GIS Resources to Enhance STEM Knowledge and Skills”.  Presentation at the 2014 Michigan “Project Lead The Way” Conference, Grand Rapids, MI, October 28, 2014.

 

Xie, Y. and Hartwick, A. GIS/T Resources & Applications for Career Education (GRACE) – Professional Mentoring. Presentation in the 2014 Michigan Statewide GIS User Group Year-end Meeting, Lansing, Michigan, December 4, 2014.

 

Raymond, R. “GIS/T Resources & Applications for Career Education (GRACE)”. Presentation at the 2015 Upper Peninsula MACUL (Michigan Association for Computer Users in Learning) Conference,  May 5, 2015.

 

Anderson, D., Hoff, A., Lewandowski, A., Raymond, R., and Vanden Heuval, A. GIS/T Resources & Applications for Career Education (GRACE)”. The 2015 National Science Foundation Teaching and Learning Video Showcase. (Our video entry won an “Audience Choice” award.). http://videohall.com/p/555 . May 11-14, 2015.

 

Anderson, D. “Using inquiry-based Geographic Information System Modules for Addressing NGSS Standards: The GRACE Program” Presentation at the EdMedia 2015 World Conference on Educational Media and Technology, Montreal, Canada, June 22, 2015. 

 

Hoff. A. Geographical Information Science and Technology Based STEM Education in e-Learning. Presentation at the 10th International Conference on eLearning (ICEL 2015), College of the Bahamas, Nassau, 25-26 June 2015.

 

Xie, Y. and Raymond, R. “Mayor Duggan’s Youth Technology Corps GIS Initiative: Increasing critical thinking and problem solving through purposeful applications of technology based education using GIS and community based problem solving activities!”.  Presentation in City of Detroit Department of Information Technology and Management, Detroit, Michigan, July 7 2015.

 

Xie, Y. “GRACE PROJECT - GIS/T Resources & Applications for Career Education”. Presentation at ESRI International GIS Education Conference – 2015, San Diego, CA, July 18 - 22, 2015.

 

 

We are scheduled to present at:

 

20th Annual Michigan Communities GIS Conference

September 9 – 11, 2015

 

 

Anderson, D. & Xie, Y. “Systemic Reform Through The Integration of Complementary Best Practices: The GRACE Program”. Webinar at the International eLearning Innovations Conference. Nairobi, Kenya, September 24, 2015.

 

We have submitted proposals to present at:

 

Anderson, D., and Xie, Y. “Social Networking as a Key Element in Systemic Change”. The 2015 E-Learn Conference (Kona, Hawaii). October 19-22, 2015:

 

Anderson, D., Reider, D., and Hoff. A. “Attitudinal Assessment for STEM Education: Balancing Psychometric and Practical Constraints”. Presentation at the 2015 National Science Teachers Association, Nashville, TN. March 31 – April 3, 2016.

 

Starr, M. “Presentation at the 2015 National Science Teachers Association, Nashville, TN. March 31 – April 3, 2016.

 

Anderson, D., and Reider. D. “Leveraging Systemic Change through GIS technology: The GRACE Program”. Presentation at the 2016 American Educational Research Association Annual Conference, Washington, DC, as part of the STELAR ITEST symposium panel: “Programs that Engage and Motivate Students to Pursue STEM Careers through NSF-Funded ITEST Programs”. April 8-12, 2016.

 

2. Products:

 

Executive Summary: The GRACE project is active in creating appropriate products to recruit teachers, disseminate project activities, and identify new partnership opportunities. This includes 2 publications, 5 new websites and social media sites, and a recruitment/informational video. The project has also developed new pedagogical techniques utilizing online GIS technology.

 

Publications:

 

We have published two peer reviewed papers:

 

Anderson, D. & Xie, Y. (2015). Using inquiry-based Geographic Information System Modules for Addressing NGSS Standards: The GRACE Program. In Proceedings of the World Conference on Educational Media and Technology 2015 (pp. 349-358). Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE). ISBN 978-1-939797-16-2. 

 

Xie, Y. & Hoff. A. (2015). GeographicalInformation Science and Technology Based STEM Education in e-Learning. In C. Watson (Edt.), Proceedings of the 10th International Conference on e-Learning (ICEL 2015), pp. 323- 330. College of the Bahamas, Nassau, 25-26 June 2015. ISBN: 978-1-910810-26-2.

 

 

Informational Video: Anderson, D., Hoff, A., Lewandowski, A., Raymond, R., and Vanden Heuval, A. GIS/T Resources & Applications for Career Education (GRACE)”. The 2015 National Science Foundation Teaching and Learning Video Showcase. (Our video entry won an “Audience Choice” award.). http://videohall.com/p/555 . May 11-14, 2015.

 

 

Websites: We have established the following websites and social media sites:

           

Official website: http://igre.emich.edu/igre/gisresearch/natinal/GRACE       

Geonet: https://geonet.esri.com/groups/grace

Facebook: facebook.com/GRACEProgram

Instagram: @GRACEProgram

Twitter: @GRACEProgram

 

Technology and Techniques:

 

The GRACE lesson modules are products that reflect cutting-edge instructional techniques: They address a scaffolded approach to pedagogy across 3 role levels (Explorer, Investigator, Intern), as well as across four of the five instructional levels as defined by ESRI (Presentation/demonstration, scripted activity, expanded scripted activity, and directed inquiry.) We are moving towards the highest level (open inquiry with fluid exploration) in the development process.

 

The project continues exploring and improving the project’s social network infrastructure by introducing new and cutting-edge tools, such as GeoNet and ArcGIS Onliine Organizations (AGOO).

 

3. Participants

 

Executive Summary: The GRACE project is building a strong and diverse partnership to support SPrEaD activities and enhance systemic and sustainable change. The collaboration includes seven well established and highly effective organizations in the area of STEM education and GIS technology.

 

Partners:

 

Eastern Michigan University

Michigan Virtual University

Michigan Mathematics and Science Centers Network

 

Other Collaborators:

 

Michigan Communities Association of Mapping Professionals

Michigan Earth Science Teachers Association

Environmental Systems Research Institute

Education Design, INC

 

4. Impact

 

Executive Summary: Given the fact that the GRACE project is only completing its first year, we do not have current documented impact. However, we have developed a new assessment instrument and our initial research/evaluation results are leading to new scholarly dialogues in the field.

 

Impact on the base of knowledge, theory, and research and/or pedagogical methods in the principal disciplinary field(s) of the project:

 

The newly developed assessment instrument provides a unique contribution to the field, as it balances the common psychometric properties with more practical criteria such as brevity and ease of online delivery to multiple platforms including mobile devices.  It also addresses a wide range of existing attitudinal constructs in the field: interest, confidence, commitment, career motivation, personal relevance, perceived value, perceived ability, self-efficacy, self-determination, and intrinsic/extrinsic motivation, and is aligned with NGSS standards.

 

Our research and evaluation is beginning to illustrate some of the challenges associated with systemic reform (i.e., leveraging system change around an organizational “pressure point”), expanding reform to multiple organizations, and sustaining reform.

 

 

(Note: For each of these following areas, we

 

Impact on other disciplines:

 

 

Impact on human resource development in science, engineering, and technology.  

 

 

Impact on physical resources that form infrastructure, including physical resources such as facilities, laboratories, or instruments:

 

 

Impact on institutional resources that form infrastructure:

 

 

Impact on information resources that form infrastructure:

 

 

Impact (or is likely to make an impact) on commercial technology or public use:

 

 

Impact on society beyond science, engineering, and academic world:

 

 

5. Changes/Problems

 

Executive Summary: The GRACE project did not encounter significant changes or problems, but we have identified a set of implementation challenges in terms of recruitment, online module development, state policies, and expanding teacher participation in online social networking and the use of advanced online tools.

 

There were no significant changes or problems associated with the grant activities. However, we recognize that there are challenges that require more time and effort than we initially estimated:

 

·         Teacher recruitment is going more slowly than anticipated, due to our recognition that teachers must be carefully selected and require intensive supervision in the early parts of the grant activities.

 

·         High quality online modules is a continuous developmental process, especially in terms of integrating NGSS standards.  This requires a constant ongoing dialogue with teachers as lessons continually evolve.  

 

·         We are dealing with new state level approaches/approvals for re-certification associated with non-university-based professional development. This is an important incentive for teacher participation.

 

·         We are working diligently to get more GRACE teachers to use AGOO accounts with students, which is critical to helping teachers understand the value of engaging with online communities.

 

·         We are increasing the use of more sophisticated synchronous online learning tools.

 

·         We are now identifying and training potential interns using LearnArcGIS and Virtual Campus so that we can pilot our “internship” level strategies and policies.