Geomedia skills for 21st century geography learners. Educational experiments in teaching and learning with geomedia

Thesis event information

Date and time of the thesis defence

Place of the thesis defence

L10 , campus of Linnanmaa

Topic of the dissertation

Geomedia skills for 21st century geography learners. Educational experiments in teaching and learning with geomedia

Doctoral candidate

Master of Science Henna Anunti

Faculty and unit

University of Oulu Graduate School, Faculty of Science, Geography Research Unit

Subject of study

Geography

Opponent

Docent Petteri Muukkonen , University of Helsinki

Custos

Professor emeritus Jarmo Rusanen, University of Oulu

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Geomedia skills for 21st century geography learners. Educational experiments in teaching and learning with geomedia

Geomedia education can strengthen high school students' critical multiliteracy

The main objective of geography instruction is to build the students’ world view and to develop their ability to understand both global and local phenomena and challenges, along with potential solutions. In her doctoral dissertation, MSc Henna Anunti examines high school students’ information search skills and their ability to produce new geographical knowledge in inquiry-based learning.
"In an information-intensive society, a huge amount of information is available at the push of a button, but finding reliable and relevant information can be quite challenging. There is also an abundance of unreliable, irrelevant, and misleading information flooding through different media. " states Anunti.

The teaching of geography has a special position as a subject in the development of critical multiliteracy, because in addition to text-based information, other important geographical information sources include visual materials such as maps, diagrams, and other graphical representations, images, and videos, as well as oral expert information. According to Anunti's research findings, students utilized these geomedia resources extensively in inquiry-based learning situations, especially when the teacher guided the use of geomedia.

The research consists of three educational development studies conducted between 2016 and 2021 in upper secondary education and in teacher training. The research involved 104 high school students and 33 geography pre-service teachers. Inquiry-based learning was examined from the perspective of multiliteracies in the first and second part of the study. The second and third sub-study explored the possibilities and challenges of digital GIS portfolio and digital story mapping in geomedia education.

During different phases of the development-based research, diverse data was collected through interviews, surveys, learning diaries, and learning outcomes. The data was mainly analysed qualitatively using content analysis and the analysis was supplemented with statistical methods.

The study participants perceived the GIS portfolio as a useful and suitable method for GIS education. However, the use of the method requires sufficient expertise and guidance from the teacher, ready-made assignments, and user-friendly applications. The advantages of digital story mapping were the development of learners' information search skills; learner-centered, active participation; and multimedia content production. On the other hand, difficulties related to the use of technology were considered a barrier for learning.

“Digitalisation and technology enable the use of new, innovative teaching methods, but it´s challenges and problems also need to be identified. For this reason, the pedagogical advantages and disadvantages of using technology must be critically evaluated," emphasizes Anunti.

The information obtained from the research can be utilised in upper secondary geography education and geography teacher training, especially in the context of geomedia education.
Last updated: 20.10.2023