Project Geography Online (Project GO) will provide Texas teachers with the ability to access free online professional development in geography. Four new programs will be developed for our online professional development series, “Geography: Teaching with the Stars” (www.geoteach.org). Instead of bringing the camera into the classroom, this new video series will focus on four professional development workshops led by teacher leaders in geography. This is your chance to be a Star teacher and share your favorite teaching strategies and pedagogies with fellow teachers across the state and nation.
Four interdisciplinary teaching modules were developed and will be the focus of Project GO (water resources, tornado alley, urban heat islands, and precision agriculture). Each module contains three to four lessons and is constructed as a problem-based learning scenario in which students use geographic and scientific knowledge, math, and geospatial technology to solve real-world issues. The geospatial technology included is simple but useful, including Google Earth, Google Maps, and ArcGIS Online.
The project will bring teacher leaders together at ESC Region 20 on the evenings of March 20-23, 2017, to review the four teaching modules and discuss different teaching strategies and pedagogies they would use to teach the modules. The interactions between the teachers will be videotaped, edited, and made available on the project website in four separate professional development programs. These online programs will be used by a second group of teachers to measure effectiveness and usefulness at a later date. The modules will be available online for any teacher to access at any time to gain valuable professional development in geography.
Teacher Leaders: We will be recruiting six geography teachers (6th or 9th grade) to be considered as teacher leaders. Being a teacher leader signifies that the teacher (1) has experience in teaching geography, (2) has a variety of teaching techniques and pedagogic strategies they would like to share with other teachers, (3) is comfortable with incorporating technology, especially geospatial technology (i.e. Google Maps, Google Earth, ArcGIS Online, MapQuest) into their curriculum, and (4) normally takes the lead at their school.
Responsibilities:: If chosen as a teacher leader, there will be a mandatory creative pre-production meeting on March 9 to go over the expectations of the development workshops. During the workshops, teacher leaders and project staff will work with the modules and discuss different ways they would use them to guide classroom teaching exercises. The teacher leaders will not only provide ideas of how to teach the module, they will also suggest extensions or modifications to the lesson that they would recommend for different learning styles. This will occur over four different sessions, called development workshops. Each development workshop will focus on one of the four modules. The workshops will be videotaped, edited, and produced into an online professional development program, one for each module. Teacher leaders will also be requested to attend the utilization workshop. After the workshops, teacher leaders will be asked to participate in a focus group. They are also asked to implement one of the modules in their own classroom, and will receive a follow-up survey.
Time and Stipend: $1,500 stipend will be awarded. This stipend is to cover their time for attending and participating in the prep session, five workshops, and any follow-up research protocols. Teachers will also receive CPE credit hours for their participation in the workshops.
Workshop Participants: We are also recruiting 24 geography/social studies teachers to attend a utilization workshop to be held at ESC Region 20 at a later date to pilot the online professional development program and provide feedback.
Responsibilities: The 24 teachers will use the videos and website and comment on their effectiveness, usefulness, and feasibility of use. The website will include teacher resources, such as lesson plans, background information, reading materials, handouts, graphic organizers, etc. During this workshop, the six teacher leaders and project staff will be present to immediately respond to any comments or critiques.
Time and Stipend: Each of the 24 teachers will receive a $300 stipend and CPE credit hours to attend the one-day utilization workshop and participate in the follow-up research protocols.
Tentative Schedule of Activities:
February 20 – Application due
February 21-24 – Teachers will be informed if they have been chosen as a teacher leader
February 28 – Interviews will take place to select teacher leaders
March 1 - Teacher leaders will be selected and contacted. At this time, they will receive workshop materials
March 9 – Creative Pre-Production Meeting to go over expectations and logistics
March 20- 23 – Development workshops held at ESC Region 20 in the evening
TBD (tentatively scheduled for May) – Utilization Workshop
TBD – Follow-up research protocols