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Spreading the Geospatial Semester into New Territory

Evanston, IL May 2019 —

The Chicago GeoSpatial Semester Project by Northwestern SILC Members are part of the  2019 NSF’s STEM for All Video Showcase to Highlight Innovations in STEM Education which runs online May 13-20th. Post-doc Katie James and director David Uttal,  are among thousands of academics and practitioners who have come to present 3 minute videos on their work.  The event funded by the National Science Foundation encourages academics and practitioners, along with parents and policy makers to “provide queries and feedback to these projects, providing new perspectives, ideas, and new contacts in the field.” The interactive nature of the event allows viewers to vote for their favorite video projects! You can vote and access the video hall online at:

Uttal comments on the Geospatial Semester Project,“We joined the Showcase because it is an important opportunity to extend GSS beyond a highly selective group of high school seniors. It’s a way of thinking, not just a science class.” You can find the GSS project video here.

Chicago Geospatial Semester (GSS) Project, builds on the GeoSpatial Semester (GSS), a year-long high school course focused on developing spatial problem-solving skills using geospatial technology and applying those skills to local problems chosen by the students. The goal of this work is to adapt and implement the successful GSS in a new context: primarily, the Career and Technical Education program (CTE) in the Chicago Public Schools, and secondarily in other CPS content disciplines. This project focuses on groups currently underrepresented in STEM occupations with the goal of infusing geospatial technology and spatial thinking into the career pathways that these students are pursuing.

Other projects by SILC members, Northwestern faculty, and those in our network include:

Now in its fifth year, the annual showcase will feature over 240 innovative projects aimed at improving STEM learning and teaching, which have been funded by the National Science Foundation and other federal agencies. During the week-long event, researchers, practitioners, policy makers and members of the public are invited to view the short videos, discuss them with the presenters online, and vote for their favorites.

The theme for this year’s event is “Innovations in STEM Education.” Video presentations address improving K-12 STEM classroom, informal environments, undergraduate and graduate education, teacher professional development, and community engagement. Collectively the presentations cover a broad range of topics including science, mathematics, computer science, engineering, cyberlearning, citizen science, maker spaces, broadening participation, research experiences, mentoring, professional development, NGSS and the Common Core.

Last year’s STEM for All Video Showcase is still being accessed, and to date has had over 81,000 unique visitors from 186 countries.

The STEM for All Video Showcase is created and hosted by TERC a non-profit, research and development organization, located in Cambridge MA. TERC partners with six NSF funded resource centers MSPnet, CADRE, CAISE, CIRCL, STELAR, CS for All Teachers. The Showcase is funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation (#1642187).