"High Tech, High Touch" Professional Development in Geospatial Applications for Invasive Species Management

Final Report for EW07-020

Project Type: Professional Development Program
Funds awarded in 2007: $60,560.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2008
Region: Western
State: Arizona
Principal Investigator:
Barron Orr
University of Arizona
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Project Information

Abstract:

Control of invasive species begins with mapping. Recent field and web-based approaches including the “Geospatial Tool Kit” (GTK) which combines GPS, GIS and imagery in a turn-key field mapping solution while online collaborative mapping options help volunteers from across jurisdictional boundaries work together regardless of location. These technologies are not enough unless backed with professional development educational materials. The solution: interactive web tools (online learning modules, wiki-based education material generation and peer-review, FAQ and “Ask the Expert” systems) leveraged via the eXtension.org Map@Syst community of practice provide the foundation for an invasive species mapping program. Called “GTK Learner” for short, this initiative has resulted in completed self-paced online learning module and 47 peer-reviewed articles currently in press on eXtension.org. Over the life of the project, we engaged 1,613 participants in 49 educational events (presentations, field days, meetings, workshops, conferences, etc.). A significant proportion of the participants have been from groups traditionally underrepresented in STEM fields (43.7% women, 25.6% minorities).

Project Objectives:

Activities:

–Regularly scheduled GTK-based training events (20 participants each) with CWMAs and as part of existing programs (e.g., Master Watershed Stewards).
–Products will be demonstrated for agricultural professionals at the Farmington Short Course (150 participants).
–Products will be demonstrated at On-Target Professional Development Seminar (20 participants).

Products

–Self-paced online training modules linked to the NGTEN Map@Syst website. Content will include text, images, audio, video, and interactive exercises.
–Two forums added to the NGTEN Map@Syst website (one for general questions/comments about using GTKs, the other specifically for questions/comments related to invasive species mapping.
–Frequently Asked Questions page added to the NGTEN Map@Syst website
–Wikis created for image and video contributions.
–Final printed fact sheet for subsequent distribution describing the system capabilities and on-line training opportunities.

Note: the National Geospatial Technology Extension Network (NGTEN) launched its Map@Syst community of practice educational website as part of eXtension.org in February 2008. Where the original objectives and performance targets indicate the “NGTEN website” we have updated these to indicate “NGTEN Map@Syst website.”

Introduction:

Invasive species are a major problem in the United States. Approximately 50,000 non-native species are estimated to have been introduced into the U.S and they are estimated to cause $138 billion in environmental damage and losses each year (Pimentel et al. 2000). Invasive weeds are particularly problematical in the western U.S., where they:

–Threaten Native Plants and Ecosystems: Invasive weeds compete for resources with native species, often leading to monocultures of the invasive plants. Invasive species-altered wildfire regimes jeopardize the sustainability of ecosystems throughout the western U.S and place nearby communities at risk. These invaders choke washes and waterways, changing the nature of entire watersheds, and diminish the flow of an already-scarce resource (Vitousek 1996).

–Threaten Wildlife: Non-native plants invade about 1.7 million acres of U.S. wildlife habitat each year (Dukes and Mooney 2004).

–Impact Livestock: Invasive weeds are often less palatable than native species on rangelands and provide less nutritious forage.

–Impacts on the Economy: Invasive plants decrease property values for private and public lands. The cost of food production increases when pesticides against weeds need to be applied. Hiking trails and other recreation areas become unusable due to weed infestations.

–Affects on Human Health: Human health is compromised by the ingestion of pesticides on food and by allergic reactions to invasive plants (Pimentel et al. 2000).

Digital field mapping is an effective tool in addressing and managing the problem of invasive weeds. Digital mapping enables a precision not achieved with paper maps; allowing land managers to precisely record the location and area of any size infestation of weeds, from a single plant to several acres. When the precise location of weeds is known, those weeds can be eradicated and the area monitored for any spread of the infestation. Data from repeat mapping efforts can be combined in a database or geographic information system (GIS) that will contribute to the long-term health and maintenance of the land. In its June, 2006 report to the Governor, the Arizona Invasive Species Advisory Council made seven recommendations. One of those recommendations is to “establish an invasive species database and mapping system.” The report states that “a coordinated, up-to-date information management-sharing system is a critical component of state-level invasive species planning . . . The ability to effectively manage invasive species is constrained by the lack of information and communication about ongoing efforts and inadequate information management systems” (Arizona Invasive Species Advisory Council. 2006).

Futurist John Naisbitt (1999) demonstrated powerful insight in when he suggested “whenever new technology is introduced into society, there must be a counterbalancing human response ¬that is high touch¬, or the technology is lost. The more high tech, the more high touch.” The mechanism for diffusion will be based on Cooperative Extension’s traditional “early adopter” model first formally documented by Ryan and Gross (1943) , a model that has been embraced by marketing experts in virtually every high technology company (Moore 1999). Traditional methods for promoting the diffusion of innovation in Cooperative Extension are ideal for ensuring “high touch.” Research has shown that the most effective adoption of new technologies among producers resulted from initial demonstration work with benchmark early adopters or “lead users” who were watched, observed, and imitated by other potential users. (Stephens 1991) Our approach to professional development is based on a blend of the early adopter diffusion model, training the trainers, and hands-on demonstration. This is a “high tech – high touch” approach that empowers change agents who are central to the informal information exchange traditionally used by growers, ranchers, and other natural resource managers. Through a combination of state-of-the-art online educational materials, affordable digital field mapping equipment, and hands-on training experience we will equip and train early adopter Extension agents, natural resource managers and producers who will in turn be in the position to reach a much broader audience of later adopters (Dillman et al. 1989).

Pimentel, D., L. Lach, R. Zuniga, and D.Morrison. 2000. Environmental and economic costs of non-indigenous species in the United States. Bioscience 50 (1):53-65.

Vitousek, P.M., C.M. D’Antonio, L.L. Loope, and R. Westerbrooks. 1996. Biological invasions as global environmental change. American Scientist 84:468-478.

Dukes, J.S. and H.A. Mooney. 2004. Disruption of ecosystem processes in western North America by invasive species. Revista Chilena de Historia Natural 77(3):411-437.

Arizona Invasive Species Advisory Council. 2006. Arizona’s Invasive Species Situation, Unwanted Plants and Animals. Online: http://www.governor.state.az.us/AIS/Documents/Final%20Invasive%20Report%20low%20res.pdf.

Naisbitt, J. 1999. High Tech/High Touch: Technology and Our Search for Meaning. New York: Broadway Books.

Ryan, B. and N.C. Gross. 1943. The diffusion of hybrid seed corn in two Iowa communities. Rural Sociology 8(1-4) 15-24.

Moore, G.A. 1999. Crossing the Chasm: Marketing and Selling High-Tech Products to Mainstream Customers (revised edition). New York: HarperCollins.

Stephens, L.L. 1991. Information Sources and Methods used by Progressive Farmers in the Learning Process. Ph.D. Dissertation, Montana State University.

Dillman, D.A., C.F. Engle, J.S. Long, and C.E. Lamiman. 1989. Others influencing others. Journal of Extension 27(1). Online: http://www.joe.org/joe/1989spring/a5.html.

Cooperators

Click linked name(s) to expand
  • Stuart Marsh
  • Aaryn Olsson
  • Jennifer Stanley
  • Anne Thwaits
  • Katherine Waser
  • Kristin Wisneski

Education & Outreach Initiatives

Objective:
Description:

Methods

The project design involved two parallel activities:

A. Educational Materials and Tools Development: development of interactive professional development educational materials, which, in aggregate were called the GTK Trainer, (online learning modules, wiki-based education material generation and peer-review, FAQ and “Ask the Expert” systems)

B. Professional Development Training/Testing Events: testing the GTK Trainer materials in educational workshops involving producers, agency personnel and CWMA volunteers

A. Educational Materials and Tools Development
The creation of interactive professional development educational materials involved the authoring of hardcopy factsheets for training events and a series of supporting online articles (and associated “frequently asked questions” or FAQs as well as glossary terms). It also involved the development of interactive learning modules. The process of the development of these materials involve a) hard copy fact sheet production and testing in workshops, b) transfer of these materials as “units of knowledge” using Google Knol (http://knol.google.com/k), c) transition from Google Knol to the eXtension.org Wiki, d) submitting each article, FAQ and glossary term for peer-review and ultimate publication through eXtension.org (via the Map@Syst community of practice). At each stage of development these educational materials were introduced to participants in the education workshops. One significant advantage of the wiki approach to publication is that feedback from the workshops often resulted in recommendations on the education materials, which were subsequently incorporated on the wiki. All online training materials meet ADA Section 508 requirements for accessibility.

The GTK Trainer learning module was created using Moodle, an open source course management system, hosted on an eXtension.org server. The module is divided into seven sections:

1. Introduction to Mapping
2. Image Types and Sources
3. GPS Basics
4. Handheld Computers
5. Handheld GIS Software
6. Desktop GIS Software
7. Google Maps and Google Earth

Within each section the content is divided into the following ten components that are used to present information and engage the learner:

1. Objectives for section: “In this section you will learn…” followed by three to five bullet points briefly stating the learning objectives, preparing the learner for the content to follow.

2. Pre-quiz: No more than ten multiple choice and true/false questions that provide immediate feedback, designed to show users that they don’t know as much as they could and they need to use the learning module. The questions and answers in pre-quizzes also introduce terminology and concepts that will be described in detail in the following components of the section.

3. Definitions of new terminology used in section (these definitions are also found in the main glossary). Glossary terms that appear throughout the text are highlighted, and clicking on one opens a small window in which the glossary definition is displayed.

4. Text/Background information: Text and images that lay out basic information — the “what” and “why” of mapping – that users should know before they get their hands on the equipment and begin the “how” portion – experimenting or following step-by-step instructions.

5. Videos: Narrated slide shows and interactive animations created with Adobe Captivate and saved as .swf files that contain step-by-step instructions for hands-on activities and applications of the GTK.

6. Real-world application/Case study: Example of one way the techniques being taught in this section have been applied by real users with positive results.

7. Links: Links to longer, more detailed versions of the text and background information for each section, plus links to other online resources and training materials from diverse sources.

8. User-contributed content: Separate wiki for each section where users can add their own instructions, tips, techniques and recommendations for software, equipment, applications, methods, and more.

9. Conclusion: Summary of the most important points presented in the section that allows users to review what they learned. “In this section you learned…” followed by bullet points, more in-depth than the summary in the Objectives at the beginning of the section.

10.Post-quiz: About ten multiple choice and true/false questions with immediate feedback, designed to review and reinforce the most important information presented in section and show the user how much has been learned since the pre-quiz. Scores are calculated and displayed for the quizzes, and are stored for users who have created a personal account and logged in to the learning module, but scores are not emphasized because the primary purpose of the post-quiz is to reiterate important information and give the user a feeling of success when questions are answered correctly.

Although users can bypass registration and login and visit the module as guests, registration and account creation are encouraged because visitors who are logged in can track their progress by viewing the Quiz summary page, where scores for completed quizzes make it easy to determine which sections of the learning module are yet to be completed. Log in is also required to contribute to the wiki components of each section, although wiki content can be read by unauthenticated guests.

Outreach and Publications

Wisneski, K., B. Orr. In Press. Collaborative mapping for invasive species detection. [article] GTK Trainer Series, Geospatial Technology Resource Area for eXtension.org: Map@Syst Community of Practice. Online: http://www.extension.org/geospatial+technology/

Wisneski, K. and B. Orr. In Press. How to use Google MyMaps for invasive species mapping. [article] GTK Trainer Series, Geospatial Technology Resource Area for eXtension.org: Map@Syst Community of Practice. Online: http://www.extension.org/geospatial+technology/

Wisneski, K., B. Orr, and Choquehuanca, J. In Press. What is collaborative mapping? [article/FAQ] GTK Trainer Series, Geospatial Technology Resource Area for eXtension.org: Map@Syst Community of Practice. Online: http://www.extension.org/geospatial+technology/

Wisneski, K., B. Orr, and Choquehuanca, J. In Press. Collaborative mapping using Google MyMaps: Overview [article/FAQ] GTK Trainer Series, Geospatial Technology Resource Area for eXtension.org: Map@Syst Community of Practice. Online: http://www.extension.org/geospatial+technology/

Wisneski, K. In Press. Collaborative mapping for technology-based youth groups: Invasive species detection and eradication. In Press. Collaborative mapping using Google MyMaps: Overview [article/FAQ] GTK Trainer Series, Geospatial Technology Resource Area for eXtension.org: Map@Syst Community of Practice. Online: http://www.extension.org/geospatial+technology/

Olsson, A., K. Baldwin, T. Bean, B. Orr, and T. Kong. In Press. Buffelgrass on right-of-ways data collection instructions. [article] GTK Trainer Series, Geospatial Technology Resource Area for eXtension.org: Map@Syst Community of Practice. Online: http://www.extension.org/geospatial+technology/

Olsson, A., and B. Orr. In Press. How to use the Buffelgrass Greenness Reporter. [article] GTK Trainer Series, Geospatial Technology Resource Area for eXtension.org: Map@Syst Community of Practice. Online: http://www.extension.org/geospatial+technology/

Olsson, A., and B. Orr. In Press. How to use the InvaderRater Tool for identifying buffelgrass. [article] GTK Trainer Series, Geospatial Technology Resource Area for eXtension.org: Map@Syst Community of Practice. Online: http://www.extension.org/geospatial+technology/

Orr, B., and K. Wisneski. In Press. What is the Geospatial Toolkit (GTK)? [article/FAQ] GTK Trainer Series, Geospatial Technology Resource Area for eXtension.org: Map@Syst Community of Practice. Online: http://www.extension.org/geospatial+technology/

Wisneski, K, J. Choquehuanca and B. Orr. In Press. Youth-driven community asset mapping. [article] GTK Trainer Series, Geospatial Technology Resource Area for eXtension.org: Map@Syst Community of Practice. Online: http://www.extension.org/geospatial+technology/

Orr, B. 2007. Topography and understanding topographic maps. [article] GTK Trainer Series, Geospatial Technology Resource Area for eXtension.org: Map@Syst Community of Practice. Online: http://cop.extension.org/wiki/Topography_and_Understanding_Topographic_Maps

Orr, B. In Press. Using a topographic map to define the boundaries of a watershed. [article] GTK Trainer Series, Geospatial Technology Resource Area for eXtension.org: Map@Syst Community of Practice. Online: http://cop.extension.org/wiki/Topography_and_Understanding_Topographic_Maps

Orr, B., Garcia, D., J. Choquehuanca, C. Pruden. In Press. Maps, technology and geospatial tools: The GTK Trainer. [article] GTK Trainer Series, Geospatial Technology Resource Area for eXtension.org: Map@Syst Community of Practice. Online: http://www.extension.org/geospatial+technology/

Orr, B., J. Choquehuanca, Garcia, and C. Pruden. In Press. Why is mapping important? [article] GTK Trainer Series, Geospatial Technology Resource Area for eXtension.org: Map@Syst Community of Practice. Online: http://www.extension.org/geospatial+technology/

Orr, B., J. Choquehuanca, Garcia, and C. Pruden. In Press. An introduction to topographic maps. [article] GTK Trainer Series, Geospatial Technology Resource Area for eXtension.org: Map@Syst Community of Practice. Online: http://www.extension.org/geospatial+technology/

Orr, B., J. Choquehuanca, Garcia, and C. Pruden. In Press. Understanding scale and geospatial data. [article] GTK Trainer Series, Geospatial Technology Resource Area for eXtension.org: Map@Syst Community of Practice. Online: http://www.extension.org/geospatial+technology/

Orr, B., J. Choquehuanca, Garcia, and C. Pruden. In Press. Using a topography map to define the boundaries of invasive species growth. [article] GTK Trainer Series, Geospatial Technology Resource Area for eXtension.org: Map@Syst Community of Practice. Online: http://www.extension.org/geospatial+technology/

Orr, B., J. Choquehuanca, Garcia, and C. Pruden. In Press. Location reference systems & topographic maps. [article] GTK Trainer Series, Geospatial Technology Resource Area for eXtension.org: Map@Syst Community of Practice. Online: http://www.extension.org/geospatial+technology/

Orr, B., J. Choquehuanca, Garcia, and C. Pruden. In Press. Using a compass and a topographic map. [article] GTK Trainer Series, Geospatial Technology Resource Area for eXtension.org: Map@Syst Community of Practice. Online: http://www.extension.org/geospatial+technology/

Orr, B., J. Choquehuanca, Garcia, and C. Pruden. In Press. How the global positioning system (GPS) works. [article] GTK Trainer Series, Geospatial Technology Resource Area for eXtension.org: Map@Syst Community of Practice. Online: http://www.extension.org/geospatial+technology/

Orr, B., J. Choquehuanca, Garcia, and C. Pruden. In Press. GPS sources of error. [article] GTK Trainer Series, Geospatial Technology Resource Area for eXtension.org: Map@Syst Community of Practice. Online: http://www.extension.org/geospatial+technology/

Orr, B., J. Choquehuanca, Garcia, and C. Pruden. In Press. Methods to improve GPS accuracy. [article] GTK Trainer Series, Geospatial Technology Resource Area for eXtension.org: Map@Syst Community of Practice. Online: http://www.extension.org/geospatial+technology/

Orr, B., J. Choquehuanca, Garcia, and C. Pruden. GPSmap60 basics. [article] GTK Trainer Series, Geospatial Technology Resource Area for eXtension.org: Map@Syst Community of Practice. Online: http://www.extension.org/geospatial+technology/

Smith, R., P. Rasmussen, Orr, B., C. Stephens, J. Choquehuanca, Garcia, and C. Pruden. In Press. Getting to Know Your Garmin GPSmap 60. [article] GTK Trainer Series, Geospatial Technology Resource Area for eXtension.org: Map@Syst Community of Practice. Online: http://www.extension.org/geospatial+technology/

Smith, R., P. Rasmussen, Orr, B., C. Stephens, J. Choquehuanca, Garcia, and C. Pruden. In Press. Getting started: using your GPSmap 60. [article] GTK Trainer Series, Geospatial Technology Resource Area for eXtension.org: Map@Syst Community of Practice. Online: http://www.extension.org/geospatial+technology/

Smith, R., P. Rasmussen, Orr, B., C. Stephens, J. Choquehuanca, Garcia, and C. Pruden. In Press. GPSmap 60 application #1: Marking and saving waypoints. [article/exercise] GTK Trainer Series, Geospatial Technology Resource Area for eXtension.org: Map@Syst Community of Practice. Online: http://www.extension.org/geospatial+technology/

Smith, R., P. Rasmussen, Orr, B., C. Stephens, J. Choquehuanca, Garcia, and C. Pruden. In Press. GPSmap 60 application #2: Finding, or navigating to, a waypoint. [article/exercise] GTK Trainer Series, Geospatial Technology Resource Area for eXtension.org: Map@Syst Community of Practice. Online: http://www.extension.org/geospatial+technology/

Smith, R., P. Rasmussen, Orr, B., C. Stephens, J. Choquehuanca, Garcia, and C. Pruden. In Press. GPSmap 60 Application #3: Finding a waypoint that was defined by someone else. [article/exercise] GTK Trainer Series, Geospatial Technology Resource Area for eXtension.org: Map@Syst Community of Practice. Online: http://www.extension.org/geospatial+technology/

Smith, R., P. Rasmussen, Orr, B., C. Stephens, J. Choquehuanca, Garcia, and C. Pruden. In Press. GPSmap 60 Application #4: Recording your movements and retracing your steps. [article/exercise] GTK Trainer Series, Geospatial Technology Resource Area for eXtension.org: Map@Syst Community of Practice. Online: http://www.extension.org/geospatial+technology/

Smith, R., P. Rasmussen, Orr, B., C. Stephens, J. Choquehuanca, Garcia, and C. Pruden. In Press. GPSmap 60 Application #5: Estimating area. [article/exercise] GTK Trainer Series, Geospatial Technology Resource Area for eXtension.org: Map@Syst Community of Practice. Online: http://www.extension.org/geospatial+technology/

Orr, B., J. Choquehuanca, Garcia, and C. Pruden. In Press. Garmin GPSmap60 Quicklist. [article] GTK Trainer Series, Geospatial Technology Resource Area for eXtension.org: Map@Syst Community of Practice. Online: http://www.extension.org/geospatial+technology/

Orr, B., J. Choquehuanca, Garcia, and C. Pruden. In Press. Images I can easily use: Aerial photos. [article] GTK Trainer Series, Geospatial Technology Resource Area for eXtension.org: Map@Syst Community of Practice. Online: http://www.extension.org/geospatial+technology/

Orr, B., J. Choquehuanca, Garcia, and C. Pruden. In Press. Images I can easily use: Scanned Topo sheets. [article] GTK Trainer Series, Geospatial Technology Resource Area for eXtension.org: Map@Syst Community of Practice. Online: http://www.extension.org/geospatial+technology/

Orr, B., J. Choquehuanca, Garcia, and C. Pruden. In Press. What is metadata? [article/FAQ] GTK Trainer Series, Geospatial Technology Resource Area for eXtension.org: Map@Syst Community of Practice. Online: http://www.extension.org/geospatial+technology/

Orr, B., J. Choquehuanca, Garcia, and C. Pruden. In Press. How to Obtain DOQs and DRGs. [article/exercise] GTK Trainer Series, Geospatial Technology Resource Area for eXtension.org: Map@Syst Community of Practice. Online: http://www.extension.org/geospatial+technology/

Stephens, C., P. Rasmussen, Crimmins, T., B. Orr, C. Hannah. In Press. Using TerraServer-USA. [article/exercise] GTK Trainer Series, Geospatial Technology Resource Area for eXtension.org: Map@Syst Community of Practice. Online: http://www.extension.org/geospatial+technology/

Orr, B. and C. Hannah. In Press. Sources of imagery and GIS data layers: USA. [article] GTK Trainer Series, Geospatial Technology Resource Area for eXtension.org: Map@Syst Community of Practice. Online: http://www.extension.org/geospatial+technology/

Orr, B. and C. Hannah. In Press. Sources of imagery and GIS data layers: Global. [article] GTK Trainer Series, Geospatial Technology Resource Area for eXtension.org: Map@Syst Community of Practice. Online: http://www.extension.org/geospatial+technology/

Orr, B. and C. Hannah. In Press. Imagery Viewers: Which one is for me? [article] GTK Trainer Series, Geospatial Technology Resource Area for eXtension.org: Map@Syst Community of Practice. Online: http://www.extension.org/geospatial+technology/

Orr, B. and C. Hannah, and J. Choquehuanca. In Press. Downloading GPS data and saving it in a useful format. [article] GTK Trainer Series, Geospatial Technology Resource Area for eXtension.org: Map@Syst Community of Practice. Online: http://www.extension.org/geospatial+technology/

Hannah, C. and B. Orr. Using USGS global visualization viewer. [article] GTK Trainer Series, Geospatial Technology Resource Area for eXtension.org: Map@Syst Community of Practice. Online: http://www.extension.org/geospatial+technology/

Stephens, C., G. Searle, P. Rasmussen, Orr, B. and K. Wisneski. In Press. Getting started with an iPAQ handheld computer. [article] GTK Trainer Series, Geospatial Technology Resource Area for eXtension.org: Map@Syst Community of Practice. Online: http://www.extension.org/geospatial+technology/

Stephens, C., G. Searle, P. Rasmussen, Orr, B. and K. Wisneski. In Press. Getting started with HGIS. [article] GTK Trainer Series, Geospatial Technology Resource Area for eXtension.org: Map@Syst Community of Practice. Online: http://www.extension.org/geospatial+technology/

Stephens, C., G. Searle, P. Rasmussen, Orr, B. and K. Wisneski. In Press. More advanced topics in HGIS. [article] GTK Trainer Series, Geospatial Technology Resource Area for eXtension.org: Map@Syst Community of Practice. Online: http://www.extension.org/geospatial+technology/

Olsson, A., Orr, B. and K. Wisneski. In Press. How to create an HGIS template file in Excel. [article] GTK Trainer Series, Geospatial Technology Resource Area for eXtension.org: Map@Syst Community of Practice. Online: http://www.extension.org/geospatial+technology/

Stephens, C., G. Searle, P. Rasmussen, Orr, B. and K. Wisneski. In Press. Templates in HGIS: Customized data attribution. [article] GTK Trainer Series, Geospatial Technology Resource Area for eXtension.org: Map@Syst Community of Practice. Online: http://www.extension.org/geospatial+technology/

Hartfield, K, C. Ellers-Kirk, K. Wisneski, B. Orr, S. Marsh, and Y. Carrière. In Press. Novel ground truth method for crop fields combining a global positioning system (GPS) and Handheld Geographic Information System (HGIS). [article] GTK Trainer Series, Geospatial Technology Resource Area for eXtension.org: Map@Syst Community of Practice. Online: http://www.extension.org/geospatial+technology/

Distinctive Educational Tools

Thwaits, A., K. Waser, J. Stanley and B. Orr. In Press. GTK Trainer Learning Module. Geospatial Technology Resource Area for eXtension.org: Map@Syst Community of Practice. Online: http://campus.extension.org/course/view.php?id=94

GTK Trainer Wiki, FAQs, Ask-the-Expert System: Geospatial Technology Resource Area for eXtension.org: Map@Syst Community of Practice. Online: http://www.extension.org/geospatial+technology/

Torrey, Y., B. Orr, N. Hongu, and A. Thwaits. 2008. Geospatial Equipment Lending Library. Online: http://gell.arid.arizona.edu/.

Olsson, A. 2009. Beta Buffelgrass Phenology Reporter. Online: http://java.arid.arizona.edu/bgpheno/faces/jsp/index.jsp.

Evaluation:
The major training events (e.g., On Target and the Noxious/Invasive Weed Shortcourse) were formally evaluated with a brief post-workshop questionnaire and a qualitative feedback session. Smaller workshops were not formally evaluated. Sessions involving the GTK Trainer and associated learning materials received scores ranging from 4.1 to 5.0 on a five point scale for all factors assessed. These were short, post-workshop evaluations which assessed the quality of the instruction as well as the materials, including usability of the learning module and wiki articles. These short questionnaires were supplemented by a qualitative discussion where we solicited both proposed changes as well as additions. We then instituted the changes which were feasible in the next iteration. While we asked about perceptions of comprehensive, we did not formally assess learning. While the learning module quizzes provide scores, these are purposively not emphasized because the primary purpose of the post-quiz is to reiterate important information and give the user a feeling of success when questions are answered correctly.

Aside from invaluable feedback on the materials themselves and the delivery method, we received some very interesting insights on the approach itself. A common comment among participants was about the “non-linear” nature of the educational materials. Participants were pleased, for example, that the online learning module had many different paths towards the same goal, and a user could chose among them, and was not obligated to do them in a particular order. They also appreciated the “search” approach to finding answers to questions on the wiki and through the FAQ system. They commented that relative small things often prevented them from using, for example, GPS technology post-training, but with a search-based approach to the supporting educational materials, they could get answers quickly rather than leafing through a book of factsheets.

Outcomes and impacts:

A. Educational Materials and Tools Development: development of interactive professional development educational materials, which, in aggregate were called the GTK Trainer, (online learning modules, wiki-based education material generation and peer-review, FAQ and “Ask the Expert” systems)

The foundation for the online educational materials involved 75 pages of fact sheets focused on digital field mapping with geospatial technology and 25 additional pages of collaborative mapping “How to” documents. Using these and associated feedback from training workshops, we produced the Moodle-based GTK Trainer learning module (7 sections, each involving the 10 components outlined above), 47 wiki articles and associated FAQs and glossary terms. The online learning module, wiki articles, FAQs and glossary terms are under peer-review through eXtension.org via the Map@Syst community of practice. All 47 articles and the learning module have been submitted for peer-review, were accepted, and are considered “In Press” with ultimate publication through eXtension.org (via the Map@Syst community of practice) expected in 2009. The process involves two peer-reviews and a copyedit process prior to online publication. The “Geospatial Technologies” resource area of eXtension.org was unveiled to the public in February 2008. It is now the The 47 articles produced by this project will join 373 others related to geospatial technology.

B. Professional Development Training/Testing Events: testing the GTK Trainer materials in educational workshops involving producers, agency personnel and CWMA volunteers.

Over the life of the project, we engaged 1,613 participants in 49 educational events (presentations, field days, meetings, workshops, conferences, etc.). A significant proportion of the participants have been from groups traditionally underrepresented in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (43.7% women, 25.6% minorities). This included work with three Cooperative Weed Management Areas, four Master Watershed Stewards programs, the Arizona Livestock Incidence Response Team (ALIRT) program, two “train the trainer” events with Arizona Cooperative Extension professionals, and field demonstrations with producers on three ranches. Our work was assessed by professionals responsible for management invasive species, including over 150 participants in both the 15th and 16th Annual Noxious/Invasive Weed Shortcourse in Farmington, New Mexico. The products were also assessed both years by a combination of technology experts (five Geospatial Extension Specialists) and early-adopter Extension Agents at “On-Target” Geospatial Technologies Seminar, led by Dr. Phil Rasmussen in Salt Lake City, Utah. Perhaps most exciting – 15 of the educational events involved youth interested in learning about the environment and addressing the invasive species problem.

GTK Trainer learning module URL: http://campus.extension.org/course/view.php?id=94
Login info: selected by user upon registration

GTK Trainer Wiki, FAQs, Ask-the-Expert System: Geospatial Technology Resource Area for eXtension.org: Map@Syst Community of Practice. Online: http://www.extension.org/geospatial+technology/

Project Outcomes

Project outcomes:

A major new partnership was formed, in part, as a result of this initiative. The Arizona Geospatial Extension Program joined the eXtension.org Map@Syst community of practice in 2007. Soon after, we secured an agreement from Map@Syst to publish all learning materials produced by the GTK Trainer project.

The GTK Trainer materials produced in this project were endorsed by the Department of Interior-BLM Integrated Pest Management Specialist, Dr. Richard Lee, resulting in a request to demonstrate the online tools at the 16th Annual Noxious/Invasive Weed Shortcourse, the primary invasive species management professional development opportunity in the southwestern United States.

The educational material development process (content creation > element of knowledge generation (Google Knol) > transfer to wiki-based content management system (eXtension.org) > peer-review (Map@Syst community of practice) has been adopted for all similar initiatives at the School of Natural Resources and Environment at the University of Arizona. We are now considering publishing this approach.

New, distinctive educational tools (beyond the learning module and wiki) are the Geospatial Equipment Lending Library (GELL) and the Buffelgrass Phenology Reporter.

Recommendations:

Potential Contributions

ranching, are challenged by and seek to address invasive species issues. One of the major barriers they face is sometimes complicated and rapidly changing technology. The GTK Trainer initiative provides them simple solutions to field data collection, collaborative solutions to mapping and sharing their data, and an interactive and self-paced repository of learning materials that can be accessed long after training events. Moreover, because of the partnership with eXtension.org’s Map@Syst community of practice, these materials will be updated as technology changes, which is one of the advantages of the wiki approach for educational material production and publication.

Future Recommendations

The success of field mapping efforts and the implementation/adoption of the technology depends on a blend of access to technology and materials that can be revisited after workshops. Workshops help, but they become even more useful when live training is combined with online training resources for a strategic educational approach. The demand for more interactive educational experiences remains high. Online, self-paced training materials are the next best thing to in-person training because they are immediately and freely available to anyone with an Internet connection and they allow for audio, video, and interactive elements to supplement the effectiveness of print and images. Producing those materials, as explained above, in an iterative way with stakeholder input, broken down into “units of knowledge” which can be assembled in a variety of ways that address different learning styles has proven to be a powerful approach to educational material development that is responsive a dynamic audience.

Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.