Instructional Development Award Recipients
Several undergraduate instructors who attended the 2004 SPACE workshops were awarded funds to continue their efforts in integrating spatial analysis into their course curriculums. These pages showcase their achievements. See the full recipient list.
Jo Beth Mertens
Affiliation: Economics, Hobart and William Smith Colleges
Notable Achievements in Her Own Words
Motivating students to examine data with statistical and econometric techniques is hard...
Somehow, their curiosity needs to be piqued. Once that
happens, they develop questions and become interested in learning... As I learned last summer at UCSB, one way of piquing that interest is to use spatial analysis.
Convincing students that data contains fascinating information and that examining it, or "playing" with it, is the way to get to know it and have fun with it is an almost impossible task. This is especially true with students today, who were raised with videogames and GameBoy. If they can't "see" it, they really are not interested. And "seeing" information in a table of numbers is difficult. But motivating students to examine data with statistical and econometric techniques is hard if they can not think of any interesting questions to ask that the data might answer. Somehow, their curiosity needs to be piqued. Once that happens, they develop questions and become interested in learning the techniques they must use to answer those questions. As I learned last summer at UCSB, one way of piquing that interest is to use spatial analysis.
I attended the 2004 SPACE workshop on Spatial Analysis for the Undergraduate Social Science Curriculum at UCSB. There, I was introduced to the spatial analysis software GeoDa, and in conjunction with the seminars on introducing and using spatial analysis in the classroom, I became very excited at the idea of using GeoDa in my statistics and econometrics courses. To that end, I have developed a computer lab using economic data to introduce spatial analysis using GeoDa. The lab is a tool I presented at a conference in February, "Teaching Economics: Instruction and Classroom Based Research" at Robert Morris University. I also plan to use the lab in my statistics class to introduce my students to GeoDa and to spatial data analysis.
In the future, I will be able to integrate spatial analysis into my statistics and econometric courses. I will also attend one of Luc Anselin's ICPSR workshops and develop a seminar on spatial data analysis for my colleagues at Hobart and William Smith Colleges.