Master of Arts in Liberal Studies Student Timothy Baker Receives First Prize at Maine Water Conference

Posted May 15, 2013

Timothy Baker, student in the Master of Arts in Liberal Studies program, received first prize for his poster “Combining Environmental Education and Computational Thinking” at the 2013 Maine Water Conference in Augusta. The Maine Water Conference was founded in 1994 by the Mitchell Center as an annual forum for water resource professionals, researchers, consultants, citizens, students, regulators, and planners to exchange information and present new findings on water resource issues in Maine. The conference has grown to become one of the largest environmentally-related conferences in Maine attracting over 350 attendees each year. Baker’s research is focused on watershed education in middle school curriculum. He and a team of UMaine students have developed and tested seven different activities as part of a pedagogical framework combining computational thinking, environmental learning, and integrative thinking. Integrative thinking refers to both system-based learning -such as exploring 'what if' questions of an environmental model and adjusting the model appropriately- and also multi-disciplinary possibilities, such as activities that require or allow students to use skills and knowledge from math, science, english, and other subjects. Baker said of his research, “Water and watershed issues are used to explore creative learning and problem solving through computer programing based activities. The activities provide a way for students to explore and learn about interconnected human and natural systems, specifically watershed systems.”