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Integration of geospatial technologies into K–12 curriculum: An investigation of teacher and student perceptions and student academic achievement

, Florida Atlantic University, United States

Florida Atlantic University . Awarded


The purpose of this study was to explore outcomes of a GIS/GPS integration process: to (a) examine student responses to GIS and GPS inclusion in their curriculum, (b) determine whether a relationship exists between inclusion of GIS into existing K–12 curriculum and student achievement, (c) examine the effectiveness of GIS professional development for teachers, and (d) evaluate teacher perceptions of the value of integrating GIS into their existing curricula.

This study was quantitative and quasi-experimental in design. The samples consisted of 1,425 students from one middle school and 62 teachers from Palm Beach County School District. Two instruments were used in this study: student surveys and teacher feedback forms. Data from the student surveys indicated that students perceive their learning is enhanced by inclusion of GIS and GPS. Data from the teacher feedback forms revealed positive perceptions of the GIS/GPS program as an integrative tool for their existing curricula and a positive assessment of the GIS professional development training.

The relationship between GIS instruction and student academic achievement was evaluated, measured by FCAT reading scores and final grades in science and social studies. The findings support the constructivist theory that students learn best when actively engaged in the process. In this study standardized FCAT reading test results and science and social studies grades corroborate the students' perceptions that GIS and GPS integration enhances their learning.

Study results show FCAT reading scores were higher for GIS students than for non-GIS students. The research further indicated a significant increase in FCAT reading scores for non-native English speaking GIS students and a significantly higher average science grade for non-White GIS students. The findings also show that students who had a greater frequency of GIS instruction had higher averages in science and social studies grades.

Education reform requires bold initiatives and an organizational culture supportive of innovative ideas. The structured model for development and implementation of GIS in the K–12 public school system presented at the end of this study includes collaboration between district leadership, administrators, and teachers and a comprehensive approach to professional development.


Goldstein, D.L. Integration of geospatial technologies into K–12 curriculum: An investigation of teacher and student perceptions and student academic achievement. Ph.D. thesis, Florida Atlantic University. Retrieved December 9, 2019 from .

This record was imported from ProQuest on October 23, 2013. [Original Record]

Citation reproduced with permission of ProQuest LLC.

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