LSAW Joins Forces with Teachers

"How do land surveyors attract students to fill our college programs and into our profession?" The Land Surveyors' Association of Washington (LSAW) has been asking this question for the past few years as we've read about state budget cuts, low enrollment, and the uncertain future of college survey programs across the country.

LSAW began to develop ideas to assist the Pacific Northwest college survey programs early in 2002. We understand that as professionals and an organization we should be looking for ways to promote our profession to the youth of tomorrow and help inspire kids to further their education, and maybe choose to become a Land Surveyor.

One answer to the question is the national Trig Star Program. This has been a great way to target high school students.

Another answer is the CORSE Program that has been held in Auburn, New York, for the past few years. The Conference on Remote Sensing Education (CORSE), is designed to teach teachers how to use Geographic Information Technology in the classroom. Please visit the Web page for more information:

In 2002 the Washington State Section of ACSM sponsored two teachers from the Seattle area to attend the CORSE 2002 training. After the teachers returned from this training they were asked to attend a section meeting and describe how they were using this training to introduce GPS and GIS technology to elementary school children. All the members attending this meeting were inspired by the contagious enthusiasm these two teachers displayed during their presentation. When the Chapters of LSAW heard about this program they jumped on board and helped fourteen teachers attend the 2003 training session.

The following article was written by two of the fourteen teachers from Washington State who attended the CORSE 2003 Conference.


More than 500 students in Western Washington will have the opportunity to learn the latest Geographic Information Technology thanks to LSAW joining forces with teachers.

The Conference on Remote Sensing Education (CORSE), a high-powered four-day conference, held last summer in Auburn, New York, trained teachers to use GPS (Global Positioning System) units, GIS (Geographical Information System), and Remote Sensing. More than 100 participants-teachers from all over the United States-each were given a Garmin 12, GPS unit, along with ArcView software, instruction manuals with lesson plans, and ideas for community service. Training emphasized how to effectively use General Information Technology (GIT) as a tool for teaching a wide variety of subjects. The focus of this year's conference was community service.

"The best kept secret about math and science careers is how much fun they are," said Anne Koenen, the executive director of LSAW. "The CORSE program offers teachers the opportunity to bring these disciplines to their students in ways that go beyond textbook problems, into interesting applications of math, science, and mapping, demonstrating how accessible and enjoyable these professions really are."

NASA, the Institute for the Application of Geospatial Technology, Cayuga Community College, the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, the New York State Education Department, the Mid-Hudson Service Learning Institute for Watershed and Environmental Studies, and the International Center for Remote Sensing Education (ICRSE) joined together to put on the conference.

Hands On GPS Experience
Mark Becker, Director of the Geospatial Technology Section of Columbia University's Center for International Earth Science Information Network, developed much of the introductory track of CORSE 2003. This gave teachers hands on GPS experience from assigned projects such as mapping the impervious surfaces and drain fields of Cayuga Community College. For this project teachers collected GPS information, and then input it into computers where it was displayed on a satellite image of the Cayuga College campus. With the use of an ArcView computer program, teachers generated a printable map displaying the collected information entitled "Storm Water Study Project."

Teachers also attended workshops and listened to presenters discuss ideas on how they have used this technology with their classes and for community projects. For example, Anton Ninno, K12 Technology Integration Trainer, Onondaga-Cortland-Madison Boces, New York, showed slides of people holding signs indicating their latitude and longitude. "Where in the world are these people located?" was the question. A hint might be the clothing they were wearing.
LSAW chapters sponsoring teacher CORSE participants included: Lower Columbia Chapter sponsored Laura Shoenborn of WISE (Wisdom In Science Education) Home School, North Olympic Chapter sponsored Steve Boots, Sequim Middle School, and Sandra Smith from Sequim Community School; North Puget Sound Chapter sponsored six teachers-Judy Streideke, Michele Corey, Susan Armbruster, Pat Drake, Thecla Siqueira, and Francelle Reynolds from Puyallup All Saints Catholic School; Snohomish Chapter sponsored Judy Irving, Jeanette Kelso, and Brian Saulsman; South Puget Sound Chapter sponsored Scott Lessor and Michael Parent.

These teachers were inspired by CORSE to complete a variety of projects. "This will be a great new way to integrate technology with science and geography. We already have several projects in mind to incorporate this technology with ongoing community projects at our school," said All Saints Computer Coordinator Michael Parent. Second grade teachers Judy Stredicke and Thecla Siqueira plan to use GIS to follow a teddy bear who travels the United States with a truck driver.

Michele Corey, who teaches seventh and eighth grade science, will use the technology for a salmon release project. Corey's students will do water quality testing, take way points on the testing, use satellite imagery to compare the vegetation along the stream with what was there ten years ago, and to take way points of the salmon release.

Judy Irving, Susan Armbruster, and Pat Drake are also Teacher Leadership Project (TLP) participants. They received grants from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Included in the grants are classroom laptops and teacher technology training. Irving, now a TLP instructor, has used the GPS training received at CORSE to give TLP regional coordinators GPS instruction, and information on the Confluence Project and Terra Server. Regional coordinators receiving Irving's training came from all parts of Washington State. TLP classrooms have the available computers for GIS technology, now GPS units are needed.

"The conference was awesome. It gave us an opportunity to network with people all over the country," said Judy Irving. "We really appreciate the support of LSAW."

New York teacher Michele Greenia recently shared her high school water shed project with Pat Drake who then shared with the teachers at All Saints. Chief Executive Officer/Chair, The Institute for the Application of Geospatial Technology at Cayuga Community College and Chair of CORSE 2003, Robert Brower, said that the CORSE had a teacher cabinet whose members stress-ed "hands on, hands on," A body of lesson plans and ideas is being accumulated for teachers to use this technology and collaboration is being encouraged between schools and community. Teachers also learned that by teaching these technologies to their students they are helping to create a workforce that understands this type of information and sees its value.

Educational Boost
Also, the CORSE training will help teachers meet Washington State Academic Learning Requirements for social studies geography 1.1 that is, states use maps, globes, and other geographic tools including various map projections, satellite imagery, and Geographic Information System (GIS) data to interpret information from a spatial perspective.
LSAW members have given education a boost with their support and Washington State teachers are grateful for the opportunity to receive such outstanding training provided at the CORSE Conference.

Many teachers expressed their desire to receive additional training such as the advanced class offered by CORSE. "Although the training was very intense," said Thecla Siqueira, "an additional class would help me feel more comfortable with the technology."

Teachers across the state welcome support from surveyors. An idea would be to visit schools as guest speakers to talk about the profession and demonstrate some of the tools that are used.

Fifth grade students study the navigation and mapping of early explorers. LSAW could show how those early maps were made and compare with today's methods. Last year, Michael Lee, a Renton Technical College student and LSAW student member, took All Saints students back to the time of Lewis and Clark by giving a presentation as Meriwether Lewis in full costume complete with a collection of antique surveying tools.

Teachers who plan to mark historical sites using GPS units could use professional help in taking accurate readings on way points before children mark way points. These are just a few suggestions. Any help by LSAW members would be appreciated.
"Students like hands on learning and finding out about options for their futures. LSAW members are giving children and teachers wonderful opportunities to learn both," said fifth grade teacher Susan Armbruster.


Pat Drake is a 5th grade teacher at All Saints School, in Puyallup, Washington. Pat has published approximately 600 articles and is a quest columnist for Tacoma News Tribune and Seattle PI.

Susan Armbruster is a 5th grade teacher at All Saints School, in Puyallup, Washington, and specializes in Geoscience.

For more information on this training please contact:
Kenneth W. Swindaman, PLS
Vice President - 2004
Land Surveyors' Association of Washington
and Education Chair
777 108th Avenue NE
Suite 800
Bellevue, WA 98004
425-233-3314 (DIRECT)
425-468-3100 (FAX)

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