Wednesday, February 16, 2011

MapTEACH continues educating rural teachers

Assistant Professor Patricia Heiser (center in blue jacket) helps MapTEACH workshop participants interpret air photos in relation to permafrost during a field trip Feb. 7.
(Photo by Sidney Stephens)

After being immersed in high-tech geography instruction Feb. 7-8 teachers from rural Alaska took the knowledge back home to share with students and their communities.

MapTEACH, a hands-on education program for middle and high school students in Alaska, is focused on understanding the local landscape from multiple perspectives and on learning to make and use computer-based maps of scientific, cultural, and personal significance, hosted the workshop, part of an ongoing series. Seven teachers from the Yukon Koyukuk and Yukon Flats school districts participated.

The geography and science teachers hailing from Hughes, Allakaket, Huslia, Venetie, and Fort Yukon got to review and practice GIS skills and air photo interpretation as applied to permafrost. They also studied the significance of place names in local communities and practiced using Google Earth.

Each teacher will prepare a unit and present it as part of the Geography 593 coursework.

MapTEACH's principal investigator is Sidney Stephens, an instructor with SNRAS's geography department. MapTEACH emphasizes the integration of geoscience, local landscape knowledge, geography and geospatial technology, drawing upon the combined expertise of teachers, education researchers, remote sensing specialists, geoscience professionals, Native elders, and others with traditions-based knowledge.

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