Executive Summary: The GRACE project successfully addressed its project goals in its second year. The major accomplishments include: 1) Recruitment and training of 85 new teachers across three new cohorts (bringing the two year total to 107 fully trained teachers); 2) Development of two online professional development five-unit courses and 150 hours of professional development using these courses; 3) Based on this professional development, creation by GRACE Teachers of course descriptions, calendars, course content objectives, and an activity log of outcomes using the ESRI five-level model for lesson/project implementations; 4) Based on these courses, engagement of 4500 students at the explorer level and 2300 students at the Investigator level; 5) Facilitation of 75 GIS internships and 49 non-GIS internships, out of 209 interns registered for virtual campus training; 6) Facilitation of two campus visits for 88 high school students; 7) Continued support of an extensive and active online social networking site; 8) Dissemination through publications, websites, and media reports; and 9) Partnership building through presentations at scholarly and professional meetings.
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.
Our major activities for the second year fall into six areas: lesson development, teacher professional development, student engagement and training, internships, dissemination, and social networking.
For the second year, we had specific shorter term objectives related to both goals.
A) For the three stage process, our second year objectives can be categorized into four of the five areas listed above:
1) Lesson adoption: We were planning to adopt additional Explorer and Investigator lessons.
2) Teacher professional development: We were planning to train 40 additional teachers at the Explorer level, and of those 40, to continue their training to the Investigator level for 30 teachers, bringing the two year total to 80 teachers, with at least 60 trained at the Investigator level.
3) Student engagement and training: We were planning to expose approximately 1500 students at the Explorer level and 750 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 second year goals fell into two specific objectives:
1) Building partnerships for internships: We were planning to continue to establish partnerships and identify sites for internship activities in Year 2 and Year 3 of the grant.
2) Student engagement and training: We were planning to train 150 students for internships, and complete at least 75 internships.
3) College campus visits.
For the second year (as with 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:
(i) Lesson adoption: In our first year, we developed five new explorer lessons addressing locally environmental significant issues around 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. We also adopted 5 existing explorer lessons and 13 Investigator lessons. Thus, we began the second year with 10 explorer lessons and 13 investigator lessons. Given this foundation, in the second year, we focused on developing two integrated online professional development five-unit courses (consisting of 150 hours of professional development): one for the explorer level and one for the investigator level. Based on these sequenced lessons, the professional development provided scaffolding for teachers to develop their own lessons addressing their own professional context.
We also developed three NGSS-aligned modules addressing the following NGSS standards: MS-ESS 3-3 (Apply scientific principles to design a method for monitoring and minimizing a human impact on the environment), and HS-ESS 3-4 (Evaluate or refine a technological solution that reduces impacts of human activities on natural systems.
Two of these modules serve as performance-based assessments for student learning at the end of the investigator training: a) a module entitled “Protecting the Salmon Population in the Mersey River Watershed” which enhances salmon migration (organized as a response to specific memorandum from an NSLC “Adopt A Stream” Executive Team); and b) a module expanding on “Exploring Rivers”, where students gather evidence on the water quality (impairments) of bodies of water in their area, analyze how long the impairments have been occurring, research possible solutions to help clean up that specific body of water, and develop/present a report displaying their research, discussion of the problem, and possible solution(s) that would make a positive change in their environment. Both modules utilized detailed rubrics for evaluating student learning.
The final NGSS-aligned module is an adaptation of the “Living Together” unit, where students investigate the following questions: “How do flowing water and land interact?”; “How do you determine the quality of water in a community?”; and “How can changes in water quality affect living things in an ecosystem?”. The unit uses a GIS-based story map to identify watershed boundaries, land use, chemical water properties, and biological indicators. The unit embeds materials that support using science and engineering practices and are student-centered; engage students in investigations that encourage answering and asking questions, and scaffold student learning of the GIS tools without taking away the “A-Ha” of problem solving. Through this approach, the unit address the three dimension of NGSS learning (science and engineering practices, disciplinary core ideas, and cross cutting concepts), while shifting from “learning about” to “figuring out”.
(ii) Teacher professional development: We recruited and trained 85 new teachers across three new cohorts (bringing the two year total to 107 fully trained teachers). This surpasses the 80 teachers we hoped to recruit and train. Specifically, we monitored and trained the following teachers: Phase 1 Explorer (24 teachers) and offered a Phase 2 Investigator online PD (7 teachers) for Cohort #2; Phase 1 online (16 teachers) and Phase 2 online PD (13 teachers) for Cohort #3; and Phase 1 online PD (25 teachers) for Cohort #4. Supporting excerpts from the program evaluation data collected about workshop activities are included in the evaluation report (Appendix A – GRACE Year 2 Evaluation Report):
(iii) Student engagement and training: We exposed at least 6300 students to various lessons at the Explorer and Investigators levels. This is well over the 2250 students we planned to involve. Thus, including the first year numbers, the GRACE Teachers involved in PD activities have submitted implementation plans for Explorer-type lessons to touch at least 4500 students and Investigator-type lessons to touch at least 2300 students.
(iv) Social networking: We continued to support our social networking site for teachers within The ESRI “Geonet” portal at https://geonet.esri.com/groups/grace . We were able to engage all 107 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.
B) For the workplace and college experiences, our second year goals fell into three areas:
(i) Building partnerships for internships: The internship program is an important and unique component of the GRACE project. As a technology based TEM program aiming to encourage and stimulate students into thinking about continued study in the sciences and technology, the internship experience is designed to provide the critical link from learning and knowledge gain to application and practice.
Form its inception, the GRACE has initiated dialogues with Michigan Communities Association of Mapping Professionals (MiCAMP) and Michigan State Department of Technology, Management and Budget (DTMB) to reach a Tri-Agency Agreement (DTMB, MiCAMP and EMU) to create shared resources to implement the GRACE internship program. In principle, this Tri-Agency agreement intends to foster collaboration between these three organizations, to share responsibilities, and to create an environment, in which a student intern can be placed in a place where there are needs for GIS projects, available funds to pay intern’s stipend and the strong administrative support to enable the intern placement to be smooth. For instance, as stipulated in the Tri-Agency agreement, DTMB will provide coordination to identify internship opportunities through State agencies and local governments; MiCAMP will make financial resources available through its member organizations; EMU will provide administrative support, process the paper work on behalf of all agencies involved with the recruitment and placement of GRACE student interns, and manage the stipend. After several rounds of discussions and revisions, the Tri-Agency agreement has been approved by EMU Office of Research Development and Administration (ORDA) and sent to MiCAMP and DTMB for getting signatures from their institutional representatives. The Tri-Agency agreement will create an infrastructure for sustaining the student internship program
We have also been successful at recruiting professional geomentors for the project.
(ii) Student recruitment, engagement and training: since January of 2016, the GRACE started recruiting student internship candidates for intensive GIS training so that these candidates would be prepared for internship assignments in Summer 2016. We created a new Website for the GRACE Internship Program (www.nsfgrace.net), on which we published all related information about the intensive GIS training, the software license request, the online support, and the learning progress report (see the screen shot).
We selected the GIS training contents according to the current industrial standards, ArcGIS Desktop Entry Level Certification. Below is the list of required courses. We also selected twelve optional courses for the intern candidates to choose in order to meet the GIS skills needs requested by the intern hiring agencies (www.nsfgrace.net/helpdesk/index.php).
We did an excellent job of recruiting the internship candidates (see Appendix B - GRACE-Virtual-Campus-Training-Registration-by-Schools-08152016). There were 209 students who registered in the internship intensive GIS training. Among them, 109 students were from City of Detroit. We had a large number of registrants for the internship training. We realized it was a serious challenge to keep the intern candidates motivated and engaged, and, thus, assigned an online internship facilitator for the intern candidates across the State and another face-to-face facilitator in City of Detroit. Although they did their best, the completion rate of students’ finishing all eight required courses was not very high, only accounting to around 25%. As a counter-measure, we designated the first week of the summer internship program as an intensive GIS training week to make up the skills the interns needed in order to be acquainted for performing their internship project assignments.
The placement efforts of 2016 summer internship program were focused on three pilot areas, where there were GIS project needs and there were large number of students who were registered for training: City of Detroit, Michigan Upper Peninsula (UP) and Monroe County. The City of Detroit placed the largest number of GRACE student interns, which will be analyzed separately below.
In UP there were 11 students participating in the Summer Internship Program:
(1) Eight (8) student interns joined the Time Traveler GIS Project, which was a funded GIS project managed by Michigan Technology University,
(2) Three (3) interns worked with Keweenaw National Park Service Headquarter Office on the GIS-based Tour Guide Project.
Below are the links to the storymaps successfully completed by the GRACE interns in UP, which reflected the GIS projects that the interns did during the summer internship period. A set of photos taken at the internship completion ceremonial event is also included.
· The internship completion ceremonial event photos: https://drive.google.com/folderview?id=0Bwgjhxm47YEYVmozMXBoemNPVE0&usp=sharing
· Nick Laemmrich & Trevor Kangas: "A Walk through Time" Changing Environments in Calumet & Laurium
· Kailyn Dominguez-Taylor: Project SISU- Welcome to the Beautiful Keweenaw
· Kaisa Nagel & Tyler Kipina: Marine Mapping and Navigation on board the RV Agassiz
· Garrick Ensminger & Ilhan Onder: Walkability in Laurium and Calumet: A Student's Perspective
Jacinda Wheelock: Missing in the Copper Country- Calumet
· Jason Ackerman & Tim Stone: Keweenaw Time Traveler
· Yvonne Oja: Keweenaw National Historical Park and Heritage Sites
In Monroe County, 4 students took part in the Summer Internship Program:
(1) 2 interns are working in Monroe County Planning Department
(2) 2 interns are working with Raison Battlefield National Park Service
Two interns in Monroe County Planning Department published their Story Maps:
· Zachary Thomas (designing maps and mapping tax parcels, formatting layouts and mapping local trails using GPS): http://arcg.is/2bATVp6
· Donovan Vitale (tax parcel mapping): https://www.arcgis.com/apps/MapSeries/index.html?appid=decbb48717984528a5157bc20806e3f7
Two interns in Raison Battlefield National Park Service shared their GIS products through a couple google drive folders. Below is the link,
In City of Detroit, 109 students went through the intensive GIS internship training with varied levels of success. Since there were large number of students in Detroit registered in the GRACE internship, the GRACE project internship team and the City of Detroit GRACE Internship Liaison (the City Department of Information and Innovation) met several times with the City internship hosting departments,
(1) Department of Engineering (Site Walk Project)
(2) Department of Police (Safe Routes to Schools Project)
(3) Department of Transportation (Monster Routes Project)
(4) Economic Growth Corporation (Story Maps for Recreation and Leisure in Detroit)
(5) Great Lakes Water Authority (Water Pipe Maintenance Project)
(6) Mayor’s Office of Neighborhood Block Development (Creation of Neighborhood Block GIS Base layers Project)
(7) Department of Public Health
Finally, because of the lack of computer facilities and office spaces for hosting the large number of student interns, we decided to use four computer labs in Detroit Public Schools and one computer lab in a community center as the City of Detroit GRACE internship sites:
· Douglass Academy
· East English Village Preparatory Academy (EEVPA)
· Martin Luther King High School
· Renaissance High School
· Youthville Community Center
The hosting departments were sending their GIS or/and technical staff to do regular site visits as a way to establish the supervision relationship. Although we thank Detroit Public Schools and Youthville Community Center for their strong support to provide free facilities for hosting the GRACE student interns, this type internship arrangement had several apparent drawbacks. First, the experience at work site was diluted; Second, the direct communication between the GIS professional staff in the City departments and the student interns was also less convenient in comparison with working in the professional staff’s office; Third, the sense of civic engagement was weakened too; Fourth, the large number of interns at each site caused additional human resources dealing with the disciplinary supervision and project management at these internship sites.
The large number of intern candidates in City of Detroit also had another unexpected outcome. 109 students were registered in the internship GIS training. However, only half of them participated in the GIS internship projects while the other half were assigned to work on other City of Detroit projects with no need of GIS skills (see the detail in Appendix C - GRACE 2016 Summer Intern in Detroit 8-24-2016). In other words, among 109 City of Detroit interns, only 60 were working on GIS internship projects and continued their improvement of GIS skills. The other 49 internship candidates were assigned to work on non-GIS related City of Detroit summer intern jobs.
Although the large number of interns in City of Detroit caused logistic challenges and stresses to the GRACE internship team and the hosting organizations, the majority of the students had positive hands-on experience with the GIS projects that were taken from the real GIS projects that the hosting City departments needed. As Appendix D - StoryMaps of Detroit 2016 Summer Interns-8-25-2016 indicates, many interns produced useful GIS products that were recommended by the City departments. Around half the interns reported their hands-on and learning experiences through the internship GIS projects in the form of story maps. The other half was exposed to hands-on GIS projects, through which they improved their GIS technical skills.
(iii) College Campus visits
The GRACE project hosted high school students for two campus visits:
1) 60 students visited the Eastern Michigan University campus on “GIS Day”, November 18, 2015.
2) 28 students visited the Eastern Michigan University campus on July 25, 2016.
During these campus visits, the students participated in campus tours, met with admissions officers about college entrance requirements, attended professional presentations addressing GIS use in STEM careers, and met with college faculty for open discussions about college coursework and STEM career paths.
Key outcomes or other achievements:
Please refer to the report. Highlights include:
(i) A larger geographic diversity of teacher participants in the professional development and lesson implementation activities of the project.
(ii) More efficient and effective use of staff time in conducting professional development activities and supporting teacher participants.
(iii) Use of trained GRACE Teachers as resources in the integration of GIS/T in various curriculum fields.
(iv) School-based support as new cohort participants are from schools of already trained GRACE Teachers.
(v) GRACE Place continues to be one of the largest GIS groups on GeoNet
(vi) Significant number of GRACE teachers using ESRI Virtual Campus
(vii) Major advances in the use of LearnArcGIS site for instructional use
(viii) Increasing collaboration between GRACE Instructors across the state
In its second year, the GRACE project has continued to actively promote its strategies, materials, and findings:
A) Media dissemination:
(i) The GRACE project was selected to receive a Special Achievement in GIS (SAG) award at the 2016 Environmental Systems Research Institute (ESRI) User Conference. This award is given to user sites around the world to recognize outstanding work with GIS technology (for outstanding vision, commitment, design, and conduct of a very challenging project). Our project stood out from more than 100,000 others. In addition to receiving this award, ESRI showcased the organization and its important contributions to GIS at the SAG Award ceremony and online at .
(ii) A GRACE Newsletter was submitted to participants and other related communities on project progress.
(iii) The work of one of the teachers (Susan Ransom) in the GRACE project from Robichaud High School, Dearborn Heights, MI spearheaded the project to make the high school a Global Information System Arc Org site. Her work was recognized and published in the Press and Guide for the work with students exploring the power transformation work in wind energy technology. Students completed an introductory project on the use of GIS and then mastered a lesson on properly placing a wind turbine on school property. (www.geonet.esri.com/thread/168872)
B) Scholarly Presentations:
1) Anderson, D. (2015). 21st Century Learning Symposium, St. Clair County RESA, Port Huron, MI, "GIS Technologies Provide Opportunities for Learning Across Disciplines including Career/College Readiness”. (September 1, 2015).
3) Anderson, D. and Xie, Y. (2015). “Systemic Reform Through The Integration of Complementary Best Practices: The GRACE Program”. Webinar at the International eLearning Innovations Conference. Nairobi, Kenya, September 24, 2015.
4) Anderson, D., and Xie, Y. (2015). “Social Networking as a Key Element in Systemic Change”. The 2015 E-Learn Conference (Kona, Hawaii). October 21, 2015.
5) Martonen, R. (2016). “Using GIS to engage students”. Michigan Association for Computer Uses in Learning (MACUL). Grand Rapids, MI. March 16.
6) Reider. D., and Anderson, D. (2016). “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 10, 2016.
7) Xie, Y., Reider, D., and Anderson D. (2016). “Scaling Up: Sustainability for Scale.” NSF ITEST PI Summit (Washington, DC). May 3, 2016.
8) Anderson, D., and Saroki, F. (2016). “GRACE Project: Poster Session”. NSF ITEST PI Summit (Washington, DC). May 3, 2016.
9) Starr, M., Hoff, A., and Xie, Y. (2016). “Incorporating GIS into STEM and General Education”. 2016 ESRI Education GIS Conference (San Diego, CA). June 26, 2016.
10) Lewis, M., Jones, S., Bettison, T., Xie, Y., and Raymond, R. (2016). “GIS Education Activities in Detroit Public Schools: Preparing Students for Careers in the Geospatial Industry – A Multi-agency Collaboration”. 2016 ESRI Education GIS Conference (San Diego, CA). June 26, 2016.
We have been accepted to present at the following upcoming conferences:
2) Anderson, D., and Xie, Y. (2016). “Using Geographic Information Systems (GIS) for Community-Based Internships. 2016 National Dropout Prevention Network Conference (Detroit, MI). October 3, 2016.
3) Starr, M., and Anderson, D. (2016). “Integrating ArcGIS across Disciplines”. 2016 California STEM Symposium (Anaheim, CA). October 10, 2016.
Executive Summary: The GRACE project is active in creating appropriate products to recruit teachers, disseminate project activities, and identify new partnership opportunities. This includes 5 websites and social media sites, and a recruitment/informational video. The project has also developed new pedagogical techniques utilizing online GIS technology.
Websites: We have continued to support the following websites and social media sites:
Official website: http://igre.emich.edu/igre/gisresearch/natinal/GRACE
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 all five instructional levels as defined by ESRI (Presentation/demonstration, scripted activity, expanded scripted activity, directed inquiry, and open inquiry with fluid exploration).
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).
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.
Eastern Michigan University
Michigan Virtual University
Michigan Mathematics and Science Centers Network
Michigan Communities Association of Mapping Professionals
Michigan Earth Science Teachers Association
Environmental Systems Research Institute
Education Design, INC
Executive Summary: Given the fact that the GRACE project is only completing its second year, we have limited 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:
In order the measure the impact program activities, the GRACE project has developed a research framework addressing four interrelated strands: a) Students; b) Teachers; c) School to Work pathways (Internships); and c) Scale-up strategies.
a) Students: The research on students is based on Astin’s Input-Environment-Outcome (I-E-O) framework. At the input level, we are collecting contextual data, including community type, school type, grade level, discipline area, technology level, age, gender, race/ethnicity, and socio-economic level. At the environment level, we are collecting classroom level data, including number of modules completed, sequence of modules, and time on task estimates. At the outcome level (over both explorer and investigator levels), we are collecting pre/post attitudinal data (using our new attitudinal assessment), pre/post standardized tests (including a spatial reasoning assessment), and NGSS-aligned performance-based assessments. Our analysis will consist of multiple regression analysis, and where appropriate, structural equation modeling (SEM).
Specifically, we have gathered additional data using our 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. These additional data show gains in student attitudes (see Appendix E – GRACE-Student-Survey) for survey description, reliability coefficients, and attitude gains).
b) Teachers: The research on teachers focuses on the impact of professional development through the 150 hours of hands-on workshop experiences. Surveys of teachers, interviews, and classroom observations were used to collect data. This data was analyzed using emergent methods aligned to implementation design. The results address teacher motivation, technology skills, and GIS/spatial relationship content.
c) School-to-Work Pathways: The school-to-work research is based upon Activity Theory as applied to e-learning (Robertson, 2008), which examines the dynamic interaction among students, community, and learning objectives through learning tools, social rules/norms, and division of labor.
To address the key elements of Activity Theory, we have completed qualitative interviews with interns, mentors, and community-based professionals. Based on a thematic analysis of these interview transcripts, we have identified the following: 1) internships must be organized around inquiry-driven community-based problems of practice, established well in advance of the beginning of the internship; 2) internships are most effective with groups of interns, where a dynamic synergy allows cooperative learning; 3) internships are most effective when there is clear and continuous communication among geomentors, office professionals, and student interns, including establishing clear expectations and deadlines for final projects and monitoring student progress; 4) internships require that basic online training be completed before the beginning of the projects, but additional GIS training should be flexible enough to allow “just-in-time” learning; 5) internships are most effective when students are placed within their own communities and address current community-based issues; 6) internships are most effective when students work within the office environment, outside of the school environment; 7) internships motivate students to remain in school and pursue STEM careers; 8) internships encourage students to focus on career skills beyond GIS skills, including communication skills, critical thinking skills, and inquiry-based problem solving skills; 9) internships lead to transformative experiences for mentors and community officials, as well as students, including overcoming career “burn-out”; and 10) internships lead to broader community involvement, which, in turn drives broader school participation.
d) Scale-Up: The research on scale-up is framed by the five dimensions of the Dede matrix: depth, sustainability, spread, shift, and evolution. Our findings are now drawing from business models as well as academic ones, including branding, “light versions”, bounded process, cost efficiency, local adaptation and applicability, as well as community-based partnerships. Overall, we are finding that sustainability and spread require community “learning clusters” that are project-driven. These community partnerships will drive school involvement. Projects that begin with curriculum changes are less successful. Also, we are discovering that developing these community-based learning clusters require different models for rural, urban, and suburban contexts. Changes seem to be built around leverage/tipping/pressure points driven by early adopters and clear inquiry-based community needs which lead to positive feedback loops within the community partnerships.
Our future research must be based on models that characterize these community clusters as complex systems, with multiple overlapping “environments”, multiple causal strands, divergent outcomes, recursive/nonlinear causal relationships, and emergent processes.
Impact on other disciplines:
The GIS/T tools and datasets were taught and applied beyond the disciplines of geography and earth science, where GIS programs have been traditionally housed. Through the GRACE project, GIS/T datasets and analyses have been applied in all school disciplines, including, biosciences, geosciences, mathematics, physical sciences and social sciences. More than 70% teacher participants came from various science disciplines.
Impact on human resource development in science, engineering, and technology.
75 high school students participated in the Summer Internship Program 2016. They applied their GIST skills in the GIS projects in the following departments and agencies,
(1) Department of Engineering (Site Walk Project)
(2) Department of Police (Safe Routes to Schools Project)
(3) Department of Transportation (Monster Routes Project)
(4) Department of Public Health (Community Health Maps)
(5) Economic Growth Corporation (Story Maps for Recreation and Leisure in Detroit)
(6) Great Lakes Water Authority (Water Pipe Maintenance Project)
(7) Keweenaw Time Travel Project (Digitalization of Historical Building and Construction Foot-Prints – City Planning and Design Projects)
(8) Mayor’s Office of Neighborhood Block Development (Creation of Neighborhood Block GIS Base layers Project)
(9) National Park Services (Virtual Tour Maps)
Many of these GIS projects enhanced the participants’ hands-on skills as well as knowledge 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:
Yes, the products from the GIS projects that 75 high school student interns completed had direct contributions to the hiring city departments and agencies. These products were in great demand but these departments didn’t have sufficient human resource to have them done.
Impact on society beyond science, engineering, and academic world:
75 high school student interns in 2016 Summer were from the economically disadvantaged and underserved communities in City of Detroit and around Calumet, Michigan Upper Peninsula. Without the NSF support and the GRACE project, these students would not have the opportunity to work on high-tech GIS projects and contribute to the information creation to support future smart decisions about their community economic development.
Executive Summary: The GRACE project did not encounter significant changes or problems, but we have identified a set of implementation challenges in terms of sustaining students’ interest in finishing the recommended ESRI virtual campus training for internship technical skills, matching the internship needs with intern training, finding funds to pay interns stipend and support personnel.
There were no significant changes or problems associated with the grant activities. However, we recognize that there are challenges that require more time, effort and funds than we initially estimated:
· Intern recruitment has gone faster than anticipated. However, the completion rate of finishing the recommended 8 ESRI virtual campus courses has been lower than expected. A number of students complained that it was boring and stressful to complete the virtual courses alone. The GRACE project considers organizing joint instruction team from GIS professionals, teachers and technologists, integrating real-world internship projects into the training, and having persistent and dynamic engagement throughout the internship training process.
· Students were recruited to participate in the intensive internship training through their teachers or the educational meetings or student events such as college-campus visits. Some teachers are more energetic than others. As a result, the internship candidates are not evenly distributed across the State, but concentrated in a few locations. In addition, where the internship candidates are located do not necessarily match with the locations where there are needs for GIS interns. These discrepancies in locations have caused additional challenges to place the interns.
· The GRACE project proposed a set of incentives for student interns, including the stipend, work-site experience, professional recognition, and job training. However, the option of paid internship with stipend is the sole form of incentive accepted by the students. However, the GRACE does not have a budget to fully sponsor the internship ($1,200 per intern). The seed money the GRACE project has is around $450 and thus the Project is missing $750 per intern. As a result, the GRACE project has taken a flexible funding mechanism, and awarded the stipend according to the availability of funds in a local community. In other words, the amount of stipend was allocated based on the funds that we found at each site. Nevertheless, the lack of complete stipends for all interns has severely limited the flexibilities and options of the GRACE internship program implementation.
· We also learned that the mentorship from colleges students (graduate students in particular) was very useful to engage the high school student interns and to provide technical support to the K12 students needed in order to fulfill the internship GIS projects. It was particularly true in City of Detroit. The city went through the bankruptcy recently. May city departments have no or very limited GIS expertise. In other words, there were no GIS professionals and GIS hardware and software in many of these city departments. The student interns had no support from the GIS professionals in these hiring agencies. Therefore, the interns relied on the graduate students from Eastern Michigan University for both technical support and spiritual encouragement. This was also truce to 11 interns worked in Michigan Upper Peninsula, where the graduate students from Michigan Technology University helped the student interns dramatically. The challenge was that the GRACE project did not have this line of budget to provide technical support from college graduate students to K12 student interns, which caused financial stress to the GRACE project.