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Tuesday, February 7 • 3:20pm - 3:40pm
Technical Session. Isolation Not Dragon Predation Caused Unicorn Extinction in Pre-historic Sky Island: Fairy-tale Creatures Teach Spatial Ecology in Ohio

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AUTHORS: Andrew J. Gregory, Ashlee N. Nichter - School of Earth Environment and Society, Bowling Green State University

ABSTRACT: Educators are finding it increasingly difficult to engage millennial learners. For the millennial, with instant access to information over the internet, nothing taught is valid until confirmed via Google. This skepticism is both a boon and a bane to student learning, as some students get hung up on idiosyncratic trivia and miss the point of lessons designed to teach know how skills. Moreover, millennial learners tend to have a difficult time synthesizing what they learn into a novel finding. Their innate instinct is to look information up on the internet to find the answer, and they will reject their own conclusions if they are not the same as what the internet tells them they should have concluded. In the spring of 2016, I was teaching graduate/undergraduate level class in spatial ecology to a room full of millennial learners. In an attempt to side-step the afore mentioned issues with teaching menials, I created a series of lessons using dragon and unicorn spatial ecology and demography to teach concepts related to measuring the effects of isolation and synchrony on local meta-population dynamics. For the final exam, students had to apply a life stage analysis of unicorns and dragons inhabiting a sky island meta-population to determine if dragon predation or isolation caused of unicorn extinction. I found the use of fairy tale creatures freed students from preconceived biases and the use of simulated data for these creatures ensured that student could not simply look information up on the web, but had to find their own solutions based on their own analysis. Students had mixed success at accomplishing this. Approximately 80% of the class utilized a valid approach to solve the problem, but only 34% of the student’s problem could accurately synthesize their findings into a coherent narrative

Tuesday February 7, 2017 3:20pm - 3:40pm CST
Arbor I/II