About this paper

Appears in:
Page: 3324 (abstract only)
Publication year: 2013
ISBN: 978-84-616-3822-2
ISSN: 2340-1117

Conference name: 5th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 1-3 July, 2013
Location: Barcelona, Spain

CULTIVATING THE STUDENT RESEARCH EXPERIENCE: EXAMPLES FROM THE ‘THINK SPATIAL!’ PROGRAM

L. Chisholm, H. Brown, M. Puotinen

University of Wollongong (AUSTRALIA)
One of the highest priorities for higher education and known to generate a competitive advantage for employment, is the development of critical thinking (CT) competencies, a cognitive process by which one approaches a problem using reflective thinking to source, evaluate and apply information. Development of CT skills presents interesting challenges within the rapidly changing discipline of geography. The ubiquitous access to GPS-enabled technology allow students unprecedented access to geographic (locational) information, yet these devices discount the power of location. To assist students to develop CT skills, strategies must be used to go well beyond driving directions, with a clear focus to empower students to develop the skills to frame geographic questions and identify and use appropriate spatial science tools to answer those questions in their research.

The ‘Think Spatial!’ program developed at the University of Wollongong is underpinned by a belief that spatially enabling student researchers requires instilling an understanding of three basic literacies: geospatial (methods, theory, data); technical (hardware, software, wetware); and legal (policy and adherence). Development of these literacies allows a number of questions in earth and environmental science to be addressed – this breadth challenges teachers to assist students to develop skills across a highly diverse student cohort requiring varying levels of engagement, using software that is often complex and cumbersome. The approach taken to teaching and research support within this framework is one of empowerment – we hypothesise that students become the best possible graduates or continuing researchers if they emerge with an understanding of how to conceptually frame a geographic question and have the confidence and knowledge to find the best suite of spatial tools to apply to find a response, e.g. to ‘think spatial’. The program includes ideas about: enabling any student to develop the knowledge base to pursue either research or applied spatial science in their chosen career; equitable student learning and research outcomes; consistent technical support for all student cohorts through PhD; enhancing the capacity of research students by providing the necessary resources and technical support to gain confidence in their problem-solving and self-help abilities; quality, professional practices supporting the teaching-research nexus; academics being able to incorporate spatial science content into other discipline-specific subjects; and operational sustainability & strategic guidance of goals and objectives though a centralised committee.

This paper will present an overview of the program of work which strives to cultivate the student research experience. Using an approach centred upon the development of CT skills, the program strives to empower student learning and research in spatial science by intertwining innovative teaching approaches and optimising accessibility and the use of spatial information across the three pillars of literacy. Examples of program components, program influence on student learning and engagement will be illustrated, including how the program is sustained.
@InProceedings{CHISHOLM2013CUL,
author = {Chisholm, L. and Brown, H. and Puotinen, M.},
title = {CULTIVATING THE STUDENT RESEARCH EXPERIENCE: EXAMPLES FROM THE ‘THINK SPATIAL!’ PROGRAM},
series = {5th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies},
booktitle = {EDULEARN13 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-616-3822-2},
issn = {2340-1117},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Barcelona, Spain},
month = {1-3 July, 2013},
year = {2013},
pages = {3324}}
TY - CONF
AU - L. Chisholm AU - H. Brown AU - M. Puotinen
TI - CULTIVATING THE STUDENT RESEARCH EXPERIENCE: EXAMPLES FROM THE ‘THINK SPATIAL!’ PROGRAM
SN - 978-84-616-3822-2/2340-1117
PY - 2013
Y1 - 1-3 July, 2013
CI - Barcelona, Spain
JO - 5th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
JA - EDULEARN13 Proceedings
SP - 3324
EP - 3324
ER -
L. Chisholm, H. Brown, M. Puotinen (2013) CULTIVATING THE STUDENT RESEARCH EXPERIENCE: EXAMPLES FROM THE ‘THINK SPATIAL!’ PROGRAM, EDULEARN13 Proceedings, p. 3324.
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