Another Node On The Internet - ANON

John C. Butler

Department of Geosciences

University of Houston

Houston, Texas


For nearly 30 years I taught as I was taught .... face-to-face in a classroom. I assumed that my students learned much as I had learned. In my version of this model the role of the instructor was to be the primary driving force in and outside of the formal classroom.

The advent of the Internet (about 1994-95) struck me as a great way to communicate information and I began to develop Internet-based resources for my courses. In doing so I was confronted with ideas and concepts about learning and the construction of knowledge from information that seemed brand new but in fact were not new at all.

After five years of experimenting I have decided that the biggest change in my courses facilitated by Internet resources is my change in attitude about my role as a professor.

The Annual Meetings of the Geological Society of America for 2000 will be held in Reno, Nevada in November. For the past five years the number of sessions devoted to topics in learning have been increasing and the audiences have increased as well. I find this to be a healthy trend. I was particularly taken with the description of one session in particular and have asked to co-chairs to share their thoughts with you in this months column. Almost all of us are engaged in some form of learning whether it is in a formal classroom or with the public in general that we serve.

Research on Teaching & Learning in Geoscience -- Session T140 -

Geological Society of America Annual Meeting, November, 2000, Reno, Nevada

Sponsored by the National Association of Geoscience Teachers.



Marilyn J. Suiter

National Science Foundation,

Arlington, Virginia



Michelle Hall-Wallace

University of Arizona

Tucson, Arizona

This session will provide a forum for discussing the current status of geoscience education research and for developing strategies and targets. Greater interaction between educational researchers and Earth science educators is needed to continue advances in Earth science education. Thi session will support those explorations.

Despite increased activity in science learning and teaching in the Earth sciences in the past decade, the research base that supports the development of systems- and standards-based curricula and pedagogy in geoscience is not sufficiently developed. We need to explore and understand the ways in which research in teaching and learning supports effective curriculum development

and implementation. This session will highlight ways to enhance the existing research base and its application in geoscience education.

There are three issues targeted for this session:

    1. What is science education research and how does one build a productive research program?

    2. What is being taught in geoscience? Why is that material selected? How does the design of the curriculum material and pedagogy affect learners (adult and juvenile)?

    3. How do learners perceive and interact with visual information? How do those processes contribute to learning?

This session will provide a forum for discussing appropriate development strategies and targets in geoscience education research. The goal is to produce a high-quality and thriving base of information to support geoscience teaching and learning. The session will also help to establish a portfolio of known studies.

The program format is proposed to have two segments. The first segment will be a panel (invited presenters) on research on science and mathematics teaching and learning, developing the issues posed above.

The second segment will begin with oral presentations from volunteered papers providing data from current research in teaching and/or learning research. The oral presentations will be followed by an interactive poster session where presenters can discuss their studies and the data presented with session attenders. Papers must reflect rigorous investigations in which data are gathered using accepted protocols and methodologies for research in teaching and learning. We hope you will consider volunteering an abstract for this session.