The Pinellas County Project: Creating a Foundation for Successful Group Learning in GeoScience and Public Speaking
This presentation will describe a project-based science activity in which students learn by using Geographical Information Systems to explore data and then create a scenario for future land use. This capstone small group project is the culmination of a unique interdisciplinary course in environmental geology and public speaking developed as a learning community at the UW Fox Valley. Competent use of GIS to explore data, answer geographical questions, vision the future and create presentation quality maps are technical skills developed. Presentation skills in public speaking, group presentation and the creation of PowerPoint and presentation map graphics round out the skills on the public speaking side. This project culminates with formal group presentations featuring the results of the research and geographic exploration and cartographic skills acquired. We excite students' creativity with the prospect of visioning the future and developing their plan. This motivates the acquisition of GIS and public presentation skills needed to succeed with the project. Focusing on a particular place helps the students focus on real needs and allows the various group plans to be compared. This project is a major element of our learning community approach to interdisciplinary study which in three offerings has proven to be an enjoyable way to teach and learn.
Keywords: Learning Communities, Interdisciplinary Study, Public Speaking, Environmental Geology, Geographical Information Systems
Dr. James A. Brey
Professor of Geography and Geology, Department of Geography and Geology, University of Wisconsin Fox Valley
Associate Lecturer in Communication Arts and Business, Department of Communication and Theatre Arts Department of Business , University of Wisconsin Fox Valley