Welcome to GooWi Explorers

GooWi Explorers is an educational research project being conducted by the University of Montana with funding from National Science Foundation. The purpose of this project is to test an online framework through which teachers can engage their classes in place-based, collaborative learning activities across a range of geographically centered disciplines. A goal of the project is to introduce students to a specific suite of transferrable 21st century workforce skills as early as possible in their academic careers. Specifically, students will learn to use cyber-based tools to:

  • conduct scholarly research,
  • collaborate effectively with peers, and
  • communicate professionally with their intended audience.

What types of projects will students work on?

Teachers and students will select a topic of interest to them – one with relevance to their own communities and/or local landscapes. However, all projects must relate to cultural and/or environmental change in Montana over the past few centuries.

Initial European contact may be used as a temporal baseline. Several explorations, including the Verendryes (1742-1744), Lewis and Clark (1804-1806), Hunt/Astor Party (1810-1812), Smith (1828), and Bonneville (1831-1833), brought Europeans into contact with Montana’s Native American tribes and landscapes. In addition to written accounts that survive today, paleoecological and archeological records, together with Native American oral histories, can be used to develop a rich picture of past conditions. Using these data, students can develop deep and robust understandings of natural and human induced changes over historic time, in places of importance to them. 

What are the benefits to participating?
Teachers and students will learn how to conduct effective internet-based research, scientific argumentation, constructive collaboration, and peer review.  The proposed activities incorporates several key elements that are well grounded in learning and cognitive theory. These elements include project-based learning, collaborative learning, and creation of artifacts to solidify and communicate learning.  All three are fundamental to effective use of cyberinfrastructure in education. Our goal within this project is to make these approaches more readily available to teachers across a range of disciplines for the foreseeable future. 
RSS Twitter Facebook YouTube