MCC Instructor to Present at Geological Society of America's Annual Meeting
Katrien (Kaatje) van der Hoeven Kraft, a Geology faculty member at Mesa Community College Red Mountain campus has been chosen to present information regarding two of her most current research projects at the 2011 Annual Meeting of The Geological Society of America, October 9-12.
In conjunction with co-scientists, Jenefer Husman, School of Social and Family Dynamics, Arizona State University and Gene A. Brewer Jr., Department of Psychology at Arizona State University, Kraft will present a paper titled, “How Do We Remember? Implications for Learning Deep Time.” Her talk will focus on how bridging research on memory systems in the cognitive psychology domain and geology education may help students have a greater understanding of geologic time (known as “deep time”). Psychologically, different memory systems exist that support learning. Learners access different memory systems depending on both the content covered and their prior experience. By helping students examine time using both the semantic and episodic memory systems, student comprehension of deep time will be better understood. “We will discuss how a student’s perception of their own future relates and doesn’t relate to their ability to understand geologic time based on these different memory systems,” stated Kraft.
The second session Kraft will present is titled, “A Tale of Two Classrooms: What Shapes the Classroom Dynamics.” Scientists presenting on the topic with Kaatje include; Jennifer A. Stempien, Department of geological Sciences, University of Colorado at Boulder, Ronald K. Matheney, Dept. of Geology and Geological Engineering, University of North Dakota, and David A. McConnell, Marine, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, North Carolina State University.
Kraft explains, “As a teacher you notice differences between classes and student motivations.” To better understand these types of classroom dynamics, Kaatje selected two classes of students who were participating in the same course on the same days but at different times and were participating in the GARNET project (Geoscience Affective Research NETwork, http://serc.carleton.edu/garnet/index.html). Based on her perceptions, the morning class appeared to be more grade-motivated with a higher degree of absenteeism. The afternoon class had a high-energy student population that asked compelling questions. Pre and post data from the GARNET survey and a geology concept test were collected, and compared to final grades. Statistically significant differences were discovered between these classes with motivation and interest levels, but no measureable difference existed with the content-based assessments. The affective factors (motivation and interest) lead to implications for recruiting majors and could have implications for how faculty could target goals for different student populations.
For more than forty years, Mesa Community College, www.mesacc.edu has provided outstanding transfer, career, and service programs to the East Valley of Phoenix, Arizona. Our nationally recognized student outcomes assessment program testifies to the faculty’s commitment to more than 40,000 students who attend annually. Mesa Community College is one of ten colleges that comprise the Maricopa County Community Colleges District.