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Geoscience education research in the UK Dr Helen King 1 & Dr Alison Stokes 2 1 GEES Subject Centre; 2 Experiential Learning CETL (University of Plymouth)

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Presentation on theme: "Geoscience education research in the UK Dr Helen King 1 & Dr Alison Stokes 2 1 GEES Subject Centre; 2 Experiential Learning CETL (University of Plymouth)"— Presentation transcript:

1 Geoscience education research in the UK Dr Helen King 1 & Dr Alison Stokes 2 1 GEES Subject Centre; 2 Experiential Learning CETL (University of Plymouth)

2 Geoscience education research in the US Firmly embedded over the past 10 years Geoscience Education currently 5 th largest division of GSA in terms of membership Multiple dedicated sessions at major national meetings, e.g. GSA, AGU Major funding available through National Science Foundation (NSF)

3 Geoscience education research in the US Journal of Geoscience Education provides major vehicle for dissemination of findings Established community of geoscience education researchers – NAGT – ‘Cutting Edge’ seminars – Emergence of dedicated research groups PhD / post-doc / tenure track positions offered with geoscience departments

4 Geoscience education research in the US Job advertisements published in ‘GSA Today’ from January 1994 through December Tenure-track positions in geoscience education are compared to similar jobs in palaeontology and geobiology (produced by Julie Libarkin & Scott Clark, Michigan State University ).

5 Geoscience education research in the UK Geoscience education supported by several organisations including: – Earth Science Education Forum (ESEF) – Earth Science Teachers Association (ESTA) – Earth Science Education Unit (ESEU) – British Geological Survey (BGS) – Geological Society BUT there appears to be no current engagement in geoscience education RESEARCH.

6 Geoscience education research in the UK Previously funded education research initiatives: – GEES Subject Centre (2001 – 2003): Learning to do pedagogic research and researching fieldwork Current funded initiatives: – GEES Subject Centre small scale projects (£2K-5K) – CETLs Experiential Learning SPLINT (visualisation) What is the future for geoscience education research?

7 Vicious circle! Low profile / poor perception Limited engagement / capacity Low ‘visibility’ Does not attract major funding Limited ‘reward’ HOW DO WE BREAK THE CIRCLE?

8 What is the value of geoscience education research? Greater understanding of HOW as opposed to WHAT students learn – Different learning environments – Acquiring expertise (novice – expert continuum) Wider need within society to know about and understand the earth – E.g. increasing awareness of global environmental issues – Thinking about the Earth outside of formal education settings

9 Why should the UK engage? Build on existing expertise and innovation in learning and teaching Profile relatively low throughout Europe – opportunity for UK to blaze the trail? Opportunities for international collaboration (especially with the US)

10 Where do we go from here? The impact of geoscience education research extends beyond simply educating and training geoscientists – Enhancing teaching and learning in the geosciences – Informing student recruitment (onto geoscience programmes) – Raising public awareness of geoscience – Understanding and influencing policy makers How can the profile of geoscience education research be raised within the UK? What should be the role of: – Individual schools / departments – National organisations (e.g. Geol Soc, BGS, GEES Subject Centre) – Industry?


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