Associate Professor of Education Jamie MaKinster is the recent recipient of the Innovation in Teaching Science Teachers Award, which seeks to encourage the development and dissemination of new designs for courses and curricula, new instructional methods or approaches, and other types of innovations in the pre- or in-service education of teachers of science, as well as to recognize excellence in manuscripts presented to the Association for Science Teacher Education (ASTE).
The ASTE Awards Committee bases its selection of the award-winning manuscript on evidence of effectiveness, clarity of communication, research/theory base, possibility for replication or expansion, and response to recognized weaknesses. Delta Education, Inc. makes available a cash award of $1,000 a tribute in the awards issue of the Journal of Science Teacher Education. There are only two manuscript awards given each year out of about 800 science educators in this organization, which is the only national organization dedicated solely to science teacher education.
The manuscript, which was nominated for ASTE’s Committee Award in January and has since been accepted for publication at the Journal of Science Teacher Education, investigates the development of the “GIT Ahead Project,” a collaborative effort among the Finger Lakes Institute at Hobart and William Smith Colleges and other area colleges. The ultimate goal is to help rural and urban high school students see geospatial technology as pathways to relevant, exciting, and high-demand careers, and to create higher education pathways for students who might not otherwise pursue such goals.
MaKinster, with co-author Nancy Trautmann (director of education at Cornell University’s ornithology lab and co-director of the GIT Ahead project), presents the “flexibly adaptive model” of teacher professional development, which aims to enable secondary science teachers to more easily incorporate a variety of geospatial applications into wide-ranging classroom contexts.
“Geospatial technology holds great potential for engaging students in the exploration of scientific phenomena and environmental issues,” she explains. “However, it can be daunting for teachers to master and integrate such technology into their teaching.” MaKinster’s paper offers suggestions for professional development in support of teaching science with geospatial technology, which includes intensive summer training, flexible and ongoing technological and curricular support throughout the school year, and promotion of a supportive learning community.
MaKinster holds three degrees: a B.S. in Biology from Indiana University of Pennsylvania, an M.S. in Environmental and Evolutionary Biology from University of Louisiana, Lafayette, and a Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction (specializing in Science and Environmental Education) from Indiana University.