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Personalizing Environmental Science. Seeing the " I " in " Environment ". Matthew Laposata, Kennesaw State University. GOALS. Propose a philosophy of teaching for intro environmental science courses that emphasizes, when possible, personalizing experiences for students. Rationale Resources

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Personalizing Environmental

Science

Seeing the "I" in "Environment"

Matthew Laposata, Kennesaw State University


GOALS

Propose a philosophy of teaching for intro environmental science courses that emphasizes, when possible, personalizing experiences for students

  • Rationale

  • Resources

  • Results


How big are your intro environmental science sections?


In which formats are intro environmental science courses offered at your institution?


Making the case for personalization

Advocating an approach that utilizes available strategies and resources

Applicable in traditional, blended (hybrid), and online courses


For non-majors, engagement isn’t tapped, it’s manufactured


But I’m not majoring in science…

Normally, I hate science, but this doesn’t totally suck…

I’m taking this course because

I have to…

Science isn’t

my strongest subject…

Disconnecting starts early and persists…


Engaging

Millenials

with non-majors science


What’s Your Generation?


MILLENIALS

Raised in the era of

“Information Saturation”

Highly adept at filtering for personally-relevant information


Once a luxury, it’s now an expectation


BIG

THE

PICTURE

Whenever possible, help themsee the “I” in “environment” with personalized experiences


Course

Field trips and service learning

activities

Personal response systems (“clickers”)

Group

discussions

You already own the tools


Approach

complements

Improved science literacy

Course

Thinking

scientifically

Goals

Critical thinking

Civic

Engagement*


“Real-world” relevance

PERSONALIZATION

ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE

Abundant

existing

resources

Lifestyle choices

affect the environment


Personalization tackles “scale” issues in

environmental science


Regional & global impacts seem unbelievably large

Individual contributions appear negligible


Use “calculator “to quantify each student’s unique impacts…


Multiplicative

Effects

Individual

University

… then multiply to make scale manageable

Metropolitan area


SCALE

and

Human Population Growth

http://video.nationalgeographic.com/


Millions vs. Billions

Your crazy, old, rich uncle dies and wills you his fortune. But you can only have the money once you’ve counted it all, at a rate of $1 per second for 8 hrs. a day. How long would it take to count:

A MILLION DOLLARS:

About 35 days

A BILLION DOLLARS:

About 95 years


The Allowance Example

A father complained that his daughter’s $20 a month allowance was too much. She replied, “O.K. Dad, how about this? You give me a penny on the first day of the month and double it each day until the end of the month.”

WOULD YOU TAKE THE DEAL?

How much would he have to pay out at the end of the month?

Let’s see…


Mon.

Tue.

Wed.

Thu.

Fri.

Sat.

Sun.

163.84

1.28

0.01

20,971.52

41,943.04

327.68

2.56

0.02

83,886.08

5.12

0.04

655.36

1,310.72

167,772.16

10.24

0.08

20.48

0.16

335,544.32

2,621.44

0.32

40.96

5,242.88

671,088.64

10,485.76

0.64

1,342,177.28

81.92

2,684,354.56

5,368,709.12

10,737,418.24

The Allowance Example

All values are in dollars

At the end of the month, he’d owe his daughter around $21,474,836 …


Approaches for introducing personalizing experiences


COURSE ACTIVITIES


Do your intro environmental science courses have a laboratory component?


EXAMPLES

GHGs

Home energy audit

Ecological footprint

Environmental

“calculators”


Environmental Science Activities for the 21st Century (ESA21)

http://esa21.kennesaw.edu


NSF # 0088723

and

# 0231171


Over 50 activities created

Interdisciplinary team of developers


Personalized lifestyle calculators and simulations


Heavy emphasis on lifestyle analysis and effects of changes on personal impacts


http://simulator.down2earth.eu/#


Personalized-feedback coaching activities


You matched 4 of 6 words/phrases incorrectly. The total fertility rate has been decreasing in many nations in recent years, and in most cases, improvements in women’s rights are a contributing factor. For which description would bettering women’s rights have a large effect? Place total fertility rate in that sentence.


“CLICKERS”


“CLICKERS”

Questions aimed squarely at engagement

“Votes” on social/political issues

Draw out individual misconceptions


“Which of these methods of electrical production releases appreciable

amounts of greenhouse gases”?

Solar

Nuclear

Coal

Hydroelectric

Natural gas


EXAMPLE

“What is the biggest component of the U.S. solid waste stream”?


GROUP DISCUSSIONS


“My opinion” + FACTS

Don’t avoid topics that can foster great discussion

Choose topics with HEAVY personal component

Experience incredibly “sticky” over time


You are the President and learn that U.S. crop production will decline by 50% over the next 20 years due to the effects of climate change and the emergence of numerous pesticide-resistant “super-pests”. You must propose socially-acceptable approaches to immediately and decisively slow U.S. population growth.


Immigration made our country what it is, but in light of continued population growth and its associated environmental impacts, should the United States modify its existing immigration policies?


Field trips &

service learning

http://www.lccc.wy.edu/academics/communityEngagement/serviceLearning


Student impressions of personalized approaches


SA or A

(%)

N

(%)

D or SD

(%)

The laboratory exercises were about issues that affect me.

60

(26)

20

(36)

20

(37)

The laboratory program helped me to understand the environmental issues addressed.

68

(50)

21

(30)

10

(20)

The laboratory program made me realize that I have a part in solving environmental problems.

58

(43)

28

(29)

14

(28)

Participating in this laboratory program has caused me to change the way I do some things.

29

(17)

39

(31)

32

(53)

ESA21 Exercises

(Traditional Exercises)

2001

STUDENT SURVEY (KSU):

SA=strongly agree : A=agree N=neutral : D=disagree : SD=strongly disagree


Science Education for New Civic Engagements and Responsibilities (SENCER)

CIVIC ENGAGEMENT

Design content around socially-relevant issues that engage students and promote civic action

Voting

Political involvement

Lifestyle Changes

Environmental volunteering

Discussion of science issues


STUDENT ENGAGEMENT SURVEY RESULTS

Science, Society, and the Environment I, Fall 2005

Online SALG pre-survey (first week) and post-survey (end of semester)

After finishing this class, I am more likely to…

All table values are percentages, rounded to the nearest whole number (n = 92-103)


STUDENT ENGAGEMENT SURVEY RESULTS

Science, Society, and the Environment I, Fall 2005

After finishing this class, I am more likely to…

All table values are percentages, rounded to the nearest whole number (n = 92-103)


STUDENT ENGAGEMENT SURVEY RESULTS

Science, Society, and the Environment I, Fall 2005

Scale 1 = Not at all confident to 5 = Extremely confident

Presently, I am confident I can…

Pre-survey vs. Post-survey by student

All table values are number of students


STUDENT ENGAGEMENT SURVEY RESULTS

Science, Society, and the Environment I, Fall 2005

Scale 1 = Not at all interested to 5 = Extremely interested

Presently, I am interested in…

Pre-survey vs. Post-survey by student

All table values are number of students


CAVEAT

[a HUGE caveat]


Which of these topics do your students find the leastinteresting?


Please drop me an email for URLs, to “talk shop”, and to share your approaches

[email protected]


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