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The overall goal of GTEC is to contribute to a national model that improves the teaching and learning of science in grades 5-12 using geotechnologies. The emergence of geotechnologies (satellite imagery and Geographic Information Systems) has revolutionized how scientists interpret and use data. Because of its great analytical power, Geographic Information Systems (GIS) is currently used as a research and planning tool in many applications of science such as agriculture (e.g., for precision planting and application of pesticides and fertilizer); environmental planning and research (e.g., to conduct environmental impact assessments and groundwater contamination modeling); forestry (e.g., to model wildfires and plan harvests); and petroleum and mining exploration (e.g., to identify potential locations of oil and mineral deposits).

Indeed, GIS is used daily in so many aspects of human activity that many predict it will one day be a required basic skill set just as word processing is today (Alibrandi, 2003). If you have ever pulled a travel map off the internet, you have used GIS. If you watched last night’s weather report, you viewed a geographic information system. GIS simply combines layers of information about a place, such as cloud cover and temperature, to better understand that place.

Geotechnologies are everywhere in society now, yet only approximately 5% of GIS users are educators and students (ESRI, 2005). Schools lag behind in introducing students to geotechnologies because of a lack of training, support, and access to spatial data sets appropriate for 5-12 grade audiences.

This teacher training program models effective use of emerging geospatial technology, builds leadership teams within and across school districts, and shares the possibilities of geotechnology through the establishment of a statewide geotechnology competition. Further, the project delineates key indicators that make the program sustainable and transferable to other sites across the country.

GTEC has the potential to generate long-term and widespread innovations in science education. To this end, GTEC has assembled a collaborative partnership between The University of Montana School of Education, Salish Kootenai College, The Montana Association of Geographic Information Professionals, The GIS Intermountain Association, and a geographically/culturally representative group of Montana school districts.


Fall Newsletter 2007

Winter Newsletter 2006

GTEC Virtual Tour
Tour the GTEC Website
Blank, L., Crews, J., & Loehman, R. (August 5, 2006). Science Goes Spatial: Geotechnology in the 5-12 Classroom. ESRI Education User Conference, San Diego, California.

Loehman, R. & Blank, L. (August 9, 2006). Disease ecology and global change research for science education. ESRI Twenty-sixth Annual International User Conference, San Diego, California.

Blank, L., Crews, J. (April 5, 2006). Introducing the format for a statewide geospatial technology competition. Montana Association of Geographic Information Professionals, Helena, Montana.

Crews, J., & Blank, L. (May 12, 2006). GIS in the Montana science curriculum. Montana Association for Supervision and Curriculum, A-Z Montana Curriculum Director’s Meeting. Missoula, Montana.

Blank, L. Crews, J, & Loehman, R. (October 27, 2006). GIS Professional Development Model. School Science And Mathematics Conference. Missoula, Montana.

Loehman, R., Blank, L., Heinsch, F. (August 14-15, 2006). Modeling climate change in the classroom. AMQUA/USNC-INQUQ Conference on Teaching Climate Change. Montana State University, Bozeman, Montana.