An evaluation of a geographic information system software and its utility in promoting the use of integrated process skills in secondary students

Date of Completion

January 2001


Education, Technology of|Education, Sciences




As technology continues to become an integral part of our educational system, research that clarifies how various technologies affect learning should be available to educators prior to the large scale introduction of any new technology into the classroom. ^ This study will assess the degree to which a relatively new Geographic Information System Software (ArcView 3.1), when utilized by high school freshman in earth science and geography courses, can be used to (a) promote and develop integrated process skills in these students, and (b) improve their awareness and appraisal of their problem solving abilities. ^ Two research questions will be addressed in this research: (1) Will the use of a GIS to solve problems with authentic contexts enhance the learning and refinement of integrated process skills over more conventional means of classroom instruction? and (2) Will students' perceptions of competence to solve problems within authentic contexts be greater for those who learned to use and implement a GIS when compared to those who have learned by more conventional means of classroom instruction? Research Question 1 will be assessed by using the Test of Integrated Process Skills II (or TIPS II) and Research Question 2 will be addressed by using the Problem Solving Inventory (PSI). ^ The research will last thirteen weeks. The TIPS II and the PSI will be administered after the intervention of GIS to the experimental group, at which point an Analysis of Covariance and the Mann-Whitney U-test will be utilized to measure the affects of intervention by the independent variable. Teacher/researcher journals and teacher/student questionnaires will be used to compliment the statistical analysis. It is hoped that this study will help in the creation of future instructional models that enable educators to utilize modern technologies appropriately in their classrooms. ^