Technology in education: Teaching biogeography with custom GIS applications
Lawrence George Hurst, California State University, Fullerton, United States
California State University, Fullerton . Awarded
The VegAnalysis 1.0 application developed for this thesis is designed to reinforce concepts traditionally explored through lectures and readings in a biogeography course. Two vegetation maps of a study area in the San Gabriel Mountains, California are combined with advanced GIS analytical capabilities. Photographs and text descriptions of plant associations on the maps are linked to the application, enhancing learning opportunities. The application enables students to learn about vegetation mapping and classification while exploring geographic patterns inherent in the distribution of vegetation on the landscape. It also familiarizes students with vegetation found in the local mountains of Southern California.
VegAnalysis 1.0 provides an example of how GIS technology can be used to enhance and modernize educational methods in geography. The application was designed with a simple interface to maintain student's attention on the subject matter, not the technology. Classroom implementation was a success. Students showed an interest in the exercise, and stated that it was a worthwhile learning experience. Formal academic evaluation was not performed during this experiment, but is recommended for future classroom implementations.*
*This dissertation includes a CD that is compound (contains both a paper copy and a CD as part of the dissertation). The CD requires the following applications: VegAnalysis 1.0 GIS; ArcView 3.2 GIS with Spatial Analyst extension.
Hurst, L.G. Technology in education: Teaching biogeography with custom GIS applications. Master's thesis, California State University, Fullerton.
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