Should we be embracing GIS in Geography education?
We do not wish to fall prey to technocentrism, the justification for the use of technology because of the so called Mount Everest rationalewe use it because it is there Bednarz and Ludwig, (1997)
1. The Educative Justification Many argue that GIS helps students to learn geography by practicing spatial thinking Sarah Witham Bednarz (2001)
Spatial Thinking Skills Spatial Relations (one of the spatial thinking skills often used in geography learning) Processes used in cognitive mapping and GIS Recalling and representing layouts Connecting locations Associating and correlating spatially distributed phenomena Wayfinding in real world frames of reference Imagining maps from verbal descriptions Overlaying and dissolving maps (windowing) Correlating Evaluating regularity or randomness Associating Assessing similarity Forming hierarchies Assessing proximity (requires knowing location) Measuring distance Measuring directions Defining shapes Defining patterns Adapted from Bednarz (2001)
Cognitive maps are the store of knowledge an individual has about environments organised as internal models of the world. Cognitive maps are the basis of both spatial and non-spatial decision-making. Bednarz (2001) It has been suggested that cognitive maps are an internalised geographic information system.
improved spatial thinking improved cognitive mapping GIS in school Improved decision-making improved geography learning …but more research needed to explore the claim that GIS improves cognitive mapping & spatial thinking skills
2. The Workplace Justification: GIS as an Essential Skill knowledge workers able to collect data, calculate and analyse data, and communicate knowledge ….but should this drive GIS in schools?
…we need to make a strong geographic and pedagogic case for or against GIS/GISci We do not need to join a technology- driven-workplace-oriented crusade on behalf of GIS/GISci unless we are convinced that it is in the best interests of students and their personal, social, and spatial development. Sarah Witham Bednarz (2001)
Access to hardware/ software/ data Training resources Clear pedagogic & geographic rationale Curriculum space & priorities
Case of the IOE, London a) ICT assignment 1.Find opportunity for geographical enquiry in the curriculum using GIS (should have important human implications e.g. hazard, urban planning issue) 2.Plan a sequence of 2-3 lessons using GIS 3.Evaluate how the ICT (through GIS) affected the geographical learning and the learning of generic skills (including ICT skills)
Teaching sessions, aegis, arcview, infomapper & free web GIS viewers, used to support enquiry learning Free trial periods with AEGIS & infomapper, to partner schools ICT observation days in partner schools (currently these are not exclusively GIS focused) b) GIS support & resources for students