The Citizen Science GIS Teacher Academy featuring a focus on maps, apps and drones training for Florida Teachers (5th-8th grades) was successfully hosted in UCF’s Research Park on Feb. 2nd, 2019. The teacher workshop was part of the broader impacts of three National Science Foundation awards. The event was co-facilitated by Dr. Timothy Hawthorne. Dr. Hannah Torres, Dr. Bo Yang, Elise Lorenzo, and Kirsten Bouck from the Citizen Science GIS team. All teachers learned a ton and had fun sampling learning activities from our K-12 Maps, Apps and Drones tour. Participating teachers received a Parrot Mambo min-drone (funded by our NSF grants) to utilize in their classrooms.

In the first session on Geospatial Technologies for Community Engagement, we provided an overview of some of the ways engagement can occur with these technologies, and we challenged teachers to brainstorm creative uses of these technologies in their own classrooms.

The second session focused on Interactive Mapping, all teachers learned about mapping sense of place along the coast, and about a mobile mapping application developed by Citizen Science GIS to map sustainable features of their own schools. Many teachers contributed their own data to the citizen science projects centered on the coast of Florida. 

The next session focused on Sandbox Science. Our Citizen Science GIS group built a 40-inch by 30-inch Augmented Reality (AR) sandbox that is connected to 3D visualizations that project elevation, water and topography over kinetic sand. Teachers experienced that projected images change as students mold sand to create a virtual landscape that teaches students about elevation, contours, erosion, and water flow dynamics.

Teachers also learned to fly Parrot Mambo mini-drones as they navigated through an indoor, simulated, natural disaster event along the Florida coast. Teachers learned the basics of drone flying, image interpretation, and drone education. We also brainstormed the uses for drones in the classrooms.

At the end, teachers shared their ideas for implementing geospatial technologies in the K-12 classroom setting through the Citizen Science GIS Maps, Apps and Drones Tour and GeoBus (coming in late 2019). The conversations focused on opportunities and challenges for bringing GIS and drones into classroom and how our team can support efforts during the school year.

Due to the overwhelming demand for this workshop, we will be hosting a second workshop later this spring. Check back on our social media channels and websites to learn more. #citizensciencegis

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