Integrating GIS into Science Classes to Handle STEM Education
STEM stands for science, technology, engineering and mathematics and is an approach to education that aims to integrate these four separate disciplines. In theory, the idea of integration is clear, but in practice in a school setting it proves to be problematic due to the current structure of the educational curricula. In the current structure of educational curricula, usually only mathematics and science courses from STEM disciplines are included in school programmes and these courses are conducted in an isolated manner separate from other disciplines. This problem may be overcome by using interrelated applications such as the Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to integrate mathematics and science courses within STEM disciplines. As an interdisciplinary technology, GIS serves as a pedagogical tool for use in STEM education. Using a qualitative research paradigm, the current study evaluated a sample of junior (third-year) science teacher candidates (N=34) in a STEM educational setting using GIS. The data was collected from the written science texts of teacher candidates (e.g. the role of GIS in STEM teaching and science teaching; the implementation of STEM education in science classes) before and after the teaching intervention. At the end of the study, it was discovered that a four-week long teaching intervention had a positive effect on the science teacher candidates’ views of implementing STEM as well as improving their views on and awareness of GIS.