Gold Rush (Inquiry-Based Learning)


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Gerard Eddy & Warren Dobson's presentation at Geomatics Atlantic 2012 ( in Halifax, June 2012. More session details at .
Also, see accompanying video at http://youtube/b90FaUvZvOk

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  • Where did the Idea of a course on Gold prospecting and GIS come from? During the 2008 “Spring into Geomatics” meeting in Truro, education was a focal point. The Geomatics community was/is concerned about our future and the changing demographics that face all industries. Difference for “US” is not many people realize “Geomatics” exists as afield of study…..yet ever increasingly, society is relying on Location Based Information for making their decisions.
  • Education & Geomatics Gaps and Opportunities project initiated by the GeoNOVA Secretariat reported that our school system is both our greatest opportunity and also our greatest challenge. One other result of this document was the creation of a curriculum for a high school course on Geomatics, called Geomatics 12.
  • Warren and I met at a house warming party and began talking about our respective professions. The idea of visiting a class came up, and a day or two later, the idea was expanded into an IBL Module (being piloted at South Queens Junior High). The fit and match was very good and quite direct. GIS is a perfect tool for this stream of learning. A GIS is a decision support tool, IBL is about investigating answers to driving questions……it seems like a no brainer….
  • The ability for GIS technology to cross disciplines, and assist in investigating so many avenues of discovery actually can make it tough to match curriculum outcomes. We found ourselves needing to cut-back and limit what we wanted to accomplish to reasonable age appropriate levels. Adoptability both upward into high school as well as scale back for lower grades is possible. Higher grades could be heavier on the math, science, and using the GIS, while lower grades could focus more on the social studies and game side of things…..
  • Anyone know what this is?Yes, a slate. 100 years ago, student in schools would use a device like this for their school work…
  • Anyone recognize what these students are doing?Yup, coping information off the chalkboard.Some advancements did take place, but very little. Slates were replace by paper, and student everywhere diligently copied pages and pages of material off blackboards.
  • Who is This?One of our heroes, Buckminster Fuller believed there was a better way to institute change.
  • Using the example of the horse drawn carriage, and the automobile….
  • Encyclopedia Britannica has been publishing is volumes since the mid-late 1700’s. Recently, they announced that they will no longer be publishing in Hard Copy……ending over 200 years of hard-cover publication.
  • This is the new school. The tablets like the iPad pictured above has replaced the slate and paper that cam before it. This is a game changerWith so much available on the internet, the teacher is no longer the “master of all knowledge” that they once were. The availability of internet means students can find/verify information faster than ever before.25 students can be working together, or alone, using technology and an outside observer is unable to tell exactly what they are working on…..RE: various apps are available…
  • Studies, and statistics show that by the time students reach grade nine, they’ve had enough of the “old way” things were done and engagement levels are at rock bottom. This view is also supported by degrading student behavior coupled with an increase in absenteeism.
  • What is Inquiry Based Learning? Also referred to as “Project-based Learning” by some.IBL offers “REAL” life questions being investigated. The questions need to be driving in nature….general rule of thumb, If you can GOOGLE the answer, it probably isn’t a good topic for an IBL module.The outcome path is uncertain, as it is driven by the path the class/students take in arriving at a conclusion to the driving question. The learning is very much in-depth….Students get to collaborate and pool resources and divide duties and produce a product. Working together in groups is not a foreign concept, and is greatly enjoyed by most students….
  • Where did the Idea come from?We based game portion of module template on training from COGS (survey tech) field exercises, and also using a GIS to perform some analysis. A two week field trip sponsored by the Oil & Gas industry called SIFT takes graduating geology students from across the country and they play a similar drilling exploration game while they learn about the oil & gas industry.
  • We reviewed topographic maps, legends, and used compasses and paper maps.Not hard to use the tools of the past here with this material….Briefly introduced the concept of datum, projection, scale and magnetic declination. Elements on topographic maps such as contours, legend, key map, etc. were investigated a little more deeply.Learned how to read and use compass, quadrant and Azimuth bearings, and measured and calculated individual student’s “Pace” distance. How pace is used in the field along with field notes.
  • Moving into today’s technology, we covered Surveying, and why it is necessary once you get to the point of needing more accurate and precise measurements and where/how GPS is changing the way society views location based information.GIS (specifically Quantum GIS) was introduced as well as the types of information that are available for analysis. We learned how there is a “spatial revolution” that is taking place and what that means to the individual, as well as how it is useful for decision making.QR Codes, multimedia presentations creation, use of laptops, iPad, iPod Touch were used extensively. Availability of either free, or “cheap” apps for things like mineral/rock identification, electronic compass.These concepts were supported by experts. A prospector visited and demonstrated the tools they use, and also the information they need in order to file and retain a claim. Surveyors demonstrated survey total-station transist, and allowed the students to use the equipment to turn angles on the 250x290 “game board” we had set up using old technology of tape and compass.The “Game Board” was then geo-registered to Queens County Nova Scotia (similar shape), and REAL spatial datasets were leveraged from GeoNOVA.
  • Can not understate the “research and critical thinking” used to compile information to answer the Question “Is it Worth it?”Four main topics researched:What are the environmental costs of mining?What are the Human costs of mining?What are the financial benefits of mining?What are the technological benefits of mining?
  • Gold Rush Video
  • Gold Rush (Inquiry-Based Learning)

    1. 1. Gold Rush – Then and Now with GIS Inquiry-Based Learning Pilot Course South Queens Junior High Gerard Eddy and Warren Dobson
    2. 2. Gold Rush and GIS• In 2008, we in the geomatics community, initiated a preliminary investigation into the perceived impacts education has on our field. • Early in 2009, GeoNOVA conducted workshops with industry, recent geomatics grads, public schools and post secondary educators.
    3. 3. Education and Geomatics Gaps and Opportunities“The primary finding of the initiative is the common perception thatawareness of geomatics is both the greatest challenge to thegrowth of the industry in Nova Scotia and also the area with thegreatest opportunities.” • Develop materials and resources to increase data use • Promote awareness of geomatics with DOE • Expose public school teachers to geomatics • Provide support to geomatics projects at all education levels • Facilitate workshops with group representatives.
    4. 4. Gold Rush and GISThree questions came from speaking with Warren at a party:• How do we get the message out about Geomatics? As an industry,we face the same demographic shift as other professions.(Education and Geomatics Gaps and Opportunities, 2009)• How do we transfer the spatial skills needed in the 21st Century?Social Media use and Location Based Information (LBI) explosion• What more could we be doing?It shouldn’t cost much to make a HUGE difference.
    5. 5. Gold Rush and GIS• GIS crosses disciplines so well it can be used in many subject areas: – Geology – Biology – Geography and Social Studies – Mathematics and Statistics – Physics and engineering – Chemistry (minerals, streams, air) – And many more…….
    6. 6. "You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes theexisting model obsolete." - Buckminster Fuller
    7. 7. The NEW School
    8. 8. Student Engagement
    9. 9. INQUIRY-BASED LEARNINGAuthentic learning experiencesPowerful driving questionIn-depth learning - Multiple outcomesCollaborative work/Common goalStudent choice >>> Empowerment21st century skills
    10. 10. Gold Rush and GIS• Exploration game created from education mash- up. – COGS type field game…..survey students – COGS type analysis and GIS use (sort of) – SIFT OIL exploration game in Calgary
    11. 11. Technology We Leveraged• From Then….. – Compass, topographic maps, paper theme maps and measured pace. Azimuths, Quadrant bearings, hand samples. – Gold pan (sluice, hammer, hand lens) – 100 ft Measuring tape – Pencil, paper, Navigation protractor, ruler/scale.
    12. 12. Technology We Leveraged• And NOW… – Compass, topographic maps, paper theme maps and measured pace. Azimuths, Quadrant bearings, hand samples. – Laptop Computer, iPad, iPod Touch, YouTube (Geospatial revolution [Penn State]) – Quantum GIS, GeoNOVA Portal WMS layers – Surveying equipment, and GPS principles
    13. 13. Technology We Leveraged• 21 Century skills , Looking Ahead….. – QR codes – Mineral Identification apps – Compass app – Multi media/presentations – Measurement conversion and triangulation concepts – Information research, evaluation and capture – Economic, Environment, Human impacts of activities – Technological benefits from mining (Worth it?)
    14. 14. Video (about 13 minutes).
    15. 15. Thanks team….SNSMR & GeoNOVA, DNR, GANS Education committee, SSRSB, Steve Prest, Leo Campbell, Peggy Zwicker, BarbBrown, Nancy Saunders, Ed Light, COGS & NSCC, Neil Ormerod, Dave Wedlock, Stacy Kaulback, Mick O’Neil, JohnMcMullin, Alan Wentworth, Karen Dobson, Darren and Teresa Webb. And of course…… Thanks to you: For your time, interest and continued support for initiatives that are so meaningful to all of us.Questions?