Public Lab Wiki documentation

FOSS4Geo for Educators

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Welcome to the Free & Open Source Software for Geospatial Educators wiki. Our purpose is to build and sustain the FOSS4G Community of Practice among college and university educators, their students, and employers.


PROJECT SUMMARY: The Free & Open Source Software for Geospatial (FOSS4G) Academy project will perform curriculum and educational materials development under the Large Scale Materials Development (LSMD) track of the Advanced Technological Education (ATE) program. The Academy will develop much-needed curriculum for the geographic information science and technology (GIST) discipline to serve the US geospatial technology industry. We will engage 25 geospatial technology educators from both 2YC and 4YC in both developing and learning this new curriculum, with an equal focus on technology and pedagogy. The Vision of the Academy is to establish a vibrant community of educators, learners, and users of Free & Open Source Software for Geospatial applications, while the Academy’s Mission is to create and sustain this vibrant community of educators dedicated to meeting America’s need for a broadly-educated geospatial technology workforce. The Academy goals include: a) create a FOSS4G Academy to support the geospatial certificate in FOSS4G curriculum, b) develop a cohort of FOSS4G master educators knowledgeable in pedagogical best-practices, c) establish a national community of practice (CoP) to support and sustain FOSS4G geospatial educators, d) develop a digital repository of FOSS4G learning material and resources for educators, and e) sustain the Academy long-term. The resulting FOSS4G curriculum will lead to a well-defined career pathway in geospatial technology that can be offered at the undergraduate level as either a certificate or basis of an AAS or BS degree. It will incorporate the latest in pedagogy research and practice including the use of “flipped” lessons and micro-credentials to increase the quality and quantity of geospatial technology workers in the coming decade (Watters, 2012). Led by Del Mar College, a Hispanic-Serving Institution, partner institutions include the University of Massachusetts—Amherst, North Carolina State University, Texas A&M University—CC, and Lakeland College in Kirtland OH. We will leverage the GTCM model course outlines developed by the GeoTech Center as well as the five GTCM-aligned courses currently in development for a $2M Dept of Labor (DOL) grant.

Intellectual Merit: The Academy will incorporate research-based instructional design strategies that build upon cognitive science and existing resources developed by leading-edge institutions, it will incorporate potentially transformative strategies, like the new flipped classroom demonstrated successfully by Khan Academy. The Academy will introduce the students to a new, community based open source software development, user support and business model that lowers the barriers for entrepreneur initiative. It will bring innovation into higher education by providing a deeper insight into the technology development and tools implementation enabled by the open source code and open participation in the development process. The Academy will incorporate the latest in emerging geospatial technology, such as unmanned aerial vehicles, mobile devices, crowd-sourcing, etc. into the curriculum to make it state-of-the-art for our industry.

Broader Impact: The Academy incorporates an innovative micro-credentialing plan to allow learners to receive formal recognition of their new knowledge and skills. Through the use of authenticated badges, learners can accumulate digital evidence of their knowledge, skills, and abilities and may receive transferrable academic credit through a network of partner colleges, thus offering greater access to education. We will develop a Spanish language version of the STEM curriculum appropriate for the young adult immigrants, primarily from Mexico as identified by the Obama administration’s recently-passed DREAM Act. This act has the potential to add an additional 800,000 young working-aged adults (under 30), along with another 350,000 middle- and high-school dropouts to the US workforce, all of whom will need higher education in preparation for the US workforce (Love, 2012). We will serve underrepresented populations of minority, rural, socio-economically disadvantaged learners currently underserved, or ill-served, by traditional academic programs and institutions.