Geoscience education for the Anthropocene
Published:September 01, 2013
Barbara J. Tewksbury, Cathryn A. Manduca, David W. Mogk, R. Heather Macdonald, 2013. "Geoscience education for the Anthropocene", The Impact of the Geological Sciences on Society, Marion E. Bickford
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Over the past 50 years, geoscience education has evolved in a number of important ways in terms of what we teach, whom we teach, and how we teach. What we teach has changed focus from traditional geology to the geosciences more broadly defined, including the significant impact of Earth processes on a burgeoning world population and the impacts of that population on the Earth. The importance of the geosciences to decisions critical to our human future is incorporated into courses, textbooks, and curricula. Although preparation of a professional geologic workforce is still an important focus of geoscience education, geoscience literacy to enable all citizens to make informed decisions related to geoscience topics has become an important goal underpinned by national policy documents. What remains a challenge is that we still fail to reach the vast majority of future citizens with geoscience education at the high school and college levels. How we teach has also changed. Although great teaching and strategies for effective teaching are not new, what has developed over the past 50 years is the cognitive science and pedagogical research that validates best practice and supports broad reform in geoscience education. The past 15 years have seen a widespread rise at the undergraduate level in interest in effective teaching, along with increased use of active learning strategies, research-based best practices, real-world data, and authentic assessment. Changes in how undergraduate geoscience is taught have been critically catalyzed by development of a community of practice and supported by advances in technology.