Using Geospatial Technology to Promote Middle School Students' Critical Thinking on Socioscientific Issues

Using Geospatial Technology to Promote Middle School Students' Critical Thinking on Socioscientific Issues

Wardell Anthony Powell (Framingham State University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-1770-3.ch004

Abstract

This chapter is a demonstration of how to use geospatial technologies to promote middle school students' abilities to think critically and to argue persuasively on socioscientific issues. Forty-three sixth grade students from a summer enrichment program operated by a non-profit organization in the northeastern United States participated in this study. The duration of this curricular unit took place over five consecutive 1-hour period blocks. The researcher utilized qualitative procedures to analyze the students' abilities to think critically and to argue persuasively on socioscientific issues. The results indicate that the students' background knowledge on the impact of human activities on climate change was enhanced with the use of videos, graphics, audio-visuals, and other hands-on activities. Additionally, the knowledge the students gained from the events in this investigation enhanced their abilities to propose convincing arguments in opposition or support for the socioscientific issues investigated.
Chapter Preview
Top

Background

What Are Socioscientific Issues (SSI)?

The SSI framework seeks to involve students in decision making regarding everyday social issues with moral or ethical implications embedded within scientific contexts (Yap, 2014). The current discussion regarding the potential effects of climate change on underserved communities is an example of a socioscientific issue. Scientific issues such as climate change lack clear solutions. Therefore, exposing students to issues, such as climate change, has the potential to enhance their ability to analyze, synthesize, and evaluate information. These issues will help students to develop their moral reasoning and ethical decision-making skills, in addition to improving content knowledge and argumentation abilities (Dawson & Venville, 2010; Klosterman & Sadler, 2010; Sadler, Klosterman, & Topcu, 2011). In an attempt to expose students to the potential impact of climate change on their communities, the use of GST can become a valuable asset. The interactive nature of this technology can present students with imagery for them to make important comparisons, interpret data, and engage in decision making regarding everyday issues that moral and ethical undertones. However, for GST to enhance learning, teachers may need to be useful to scaffold and integrate this technology into the curriculum effectively.

Complete Chapter List

Search this Book:
Reset