December 2021 Researcher Spotlight
Dr. Zo Kreager
What is the focus of your current geoscience education research?
- I am currently interested in two main areas of research. First, I am interested in understanding students cognitive processes and conceptual understanding of sedimentological and stratigraphic concepts. Most recently, I have assessed which spatial skill(s) are predictive of student interpretations of sequence stratigraphic diagrams. Additionally, I assessed students conceptual errors on a diagram interpretation task to better understand what conceptual struggles students have.
- The second area of research I am interested in is classroom pedagogies and creating/assessing activities for student learning, interest, and motivation in the classroom. Most recently, I have collaborated to assess the impact of Predict-Observe-Explain (POE) activities in a classroom with clicker questions versus a classroom that only used clicker questions. The POE activities solicit students prior knowledge, they explore the content, and then compare and contrast their prior knowledge and observations. The inclusion of these activities was seen to help students self-efficacy in the course.
What does Geo-Ed look like at your institution.
- At my current institution, I am an Assistant Professor of Geology in a department that is Geology, Earth Science, and Meteorology. Within my position, I hold expertise in Geoscience Education and Sedimentology/Stratigraphy. With these concentrations, I get to work with pre-service Earth Science K-12 teachers and traditional geology undergraduates. My department has a strong focus on undergraduate research, so creating opportunities for both types of students I am working with is key to GER at my institution.
What is your advice for someone who is interested in starting out in geoscience education research or scholarship of teaching and learning?
- My biggest advice is to make connections with other researchers in the community. We have members of the GER community that range in research methods, interests, geology background, and are willing to share their expertise. The network of experts outside of the group I was directly working with as a graduate student in the community opened up my opportunities and allowed me to have many perspectives on my research that have helped me build a more rounded research perspective.
To learn more about Dr. Kreager, you may visit her faculty webpage which is located here.