The Effects of Online Science Instruction Using Geographic Information Systems to Foster Inquiry Learning of Teachers and Middle School Science Students

Hagevik, Rita Anne

This study investigated the effects of using Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to improve middle school students' and their teachers' understanding of environmental content and GIS in a constructivist classroom. Constructivism provided the theoretical framework with Bonnstetter's inquiry evolution and Swartz's skillful problem solving as the conceptual framework for designing these GIS units and interpreting the educational results.

Teachers from nine schools in five counties in North Carolina attended a one-week workshop and fall follow-up session, where they learned how to teach the online Mapping Our School Site ( and CITYgreen GIS inquiry-based problem-solving units. Two years after the workshop, one science instructor and one media specialist from the workshop taught the six week Mapping Our School Site (MOSS) unit in the fall and one biotechnology elective teacher taught the MOSS unit in the fall and the CITYgreen GIS unit in the spring. 

Pedagogical Area
  • place-based education, environment as integrating context (EIC)
Subject Area
  • science, math, engineering, technology (STEM)
  • social studies, geography, global studies
  • environmental science, environmental studies, ecological restoration
Delivery Area
  • school based
Outcome Area
  • academic performance
  • environmental knowledge, attitude and awareness
Participant Area
  • student
  • educator
Age Area
  • middle school (12-14 years old)