Place-Based Learning and Interactive Mapping Systems
Place-based Learning (PBL) has been defined as “The process of using the local community and environment as a starting point to teach concepts in …science…and other subjects across the curriculum.” Proponents of PBL believe that learners should build their understanding of environmental concepts through experiences in their own local settings before engaging such topics as global warming, endangered species, and threats to the rainforests. Technology, in the form of television, video games, and even “environmental” websites, is often seen as a distracter or a detriment to developing a deep and meaningful understanding of one’s local environment. In this presentation we would like to put forward an alternative to this “anti-technology” stance and argue that resources such as Google Earth, Google Maps, Arc Explorer Java edition for Education (AEJEE), and Vernier sensors and software, can both strengthen and expand the implementation of PBL. We will demonstrate some of these resources, discuss their implementation in a trial project recently conducted involving students enrolled in UMW’s M.S. in Elementary Education program.