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Spatially Speaking Participant Reports

2005-6 and 2006-7

Progression in GIS

Dr Peter O’Connor, Bishop’s Stortford College

Experienced and skilled with GIS, Peter gave invaluable support to the less experienced in the group. In his article below, Peter demystifies the use of GIS for learning, breaking GIS use into three levels:

  1. Presenting Spatial Data (the most commonly used in school)
  2. Processing and Analysing Spatial Data
  3. Date Input and Editing of Spatial Data

Bishop’s Stortford College Report

Bishop’s Stortford College – Project Leader’s Comments

Cross-curricular GIS

Steve Dunn and Mark Smith, Leeds Grammar School

Experienced and skilled with GIS, Steve and Mark gave support and inspiration to the group. In their report, Steve and Mark show that GIS has importance right across the school curriculum. Skills from literacy and numeracy to problem-solving can be supported through GIS. Their report shows how, through GIS, Geography can take a leading whole school role.

Leeds Grammar School Report

Leeds Grammar School – Project Leader’s Comments

Vocational GIS

Dr Adrian Johnson, Bedford School

Experienced and skilled with GIS, Adrian also supported the less experienced in the group. In his article Adrian shows the vocational importance of GIS, and introduces a vision of school geography working with industry to make geography relevant and exciting.

Bedford School Report

Bedford School – Project Leader’s Comments

Beginning with GIS… and Persisting!

Sian Grayson & Terry Charlton, Barton Court Grammar School, Canterbury

Sian took a term’s sabbatical to develop her GIS skills for teaching and learning before joining the group. In her article, Sian provides invaluable advice for any teacher new to GIS, that the best starting point is using the many free, straightforward online GIS viewers. She urges caution before committing to the complexity of arcview software, but shows that, if you are determined to change your curriculum, persistence will pay off.

Barton Court Grammar School Report

Barton Court Grammar School – Project Leader’s Comments

Beginning with GIS… and using free online viewers

Louise Ellis & Sergio Matias, Icknield School, Luton

Louise and Sergio were new to GIS but dynamic and enthusiastic teachers, committed to bringing GIS to their curriculum through their opting for the GIS module of the pilot GCSE. Their report, in common with the other GIS beginners in the group, shows that free online viewers are an effective use of GIS for meaningful and motivating geographical enquiry.

Icknield School Report

Icknield School – Project Leader’s Comments

Beginning with GIS… and how to get started

Denise Freeman & Kat Logan, Oak Park School, Ilford

Denise and Kat were also new to GIS, but committed to raising achievement and developing their geography curriculum. Their report again favours free, online GIS viewers as an effective starting point, but adds the importance of pupils understanding something about GIS. They also share their valuable experience of beginning with a new technology and the importance of support in this.

Oaks Park School Report

Oaks Park School – Project Leader’s Comments

Taking GIS Outside

Mark Smith and Steve Dunn give a very clear explanation of how using GIS with handheld PDAs for local fieldwork has real advantages over paper based approaches. Data is collected and analysed more quickly, more accurately and pupils know they are using the same techniques as GIS professionals.

What impact has GIS had on geographical education in secondary schools?

Tom Biebrach considers his own experience as well as a range of literature to ask what impact has GIS had on geographical education in secondary schools? He considers areas including motivation, geographical enquiry and the ability of pupils to identify patterns to draw geographical meaning from data. He also considers the barriers to developing GIS and ways forward.

An overview of the use of GIS in England

Kathryn Morrell, in her Masters Dissertation, gives an overview of the use of GIS in England and considers the barriers which have caused such a low use, how these might be overcome and what may be the benefits of using GIS.

Kathryn then went on to assess the practicality of online GIS viewers with her pupils. She gives examples from the classroom including a geographical enquiry into social factors effecting crime, through a spatial approach. She points out a grasp of scale, better spatial literarcy and spatial awareness through using GIS.

Using GIS at Woodland

Sergio Matias tells his story of how GIS can be introduced when moving to a new department. The motivational impact of Google Earth (GE) is clear. He shows how GE reached pupils’ personal geographies; looking for ‘my house’ and letting pupils take control with GE to tell their life story through space and place. He also finds the spatial angle useful in tackling controversial issues like migration by throwing new light on old questions and to challenge pupils’ preconceptions, such as ethnic distributions in Luton.

Using Google Earth

Steve Kitson explains how he overcame technical issues in getting GIS started in schools through Google Earth. He found pupils took to the technology easily, once it was working.

Using GIS at Icknield School

Sarah Cowling and Louise Ellis at Icknield school used web-based GIS viewers in a decision-making task, taking the role of estate agent finding suitable property locations for customers. They found pupils took easily to the technology, and were able to evaluate their use of GIS.

Spatially Speaking at Vyners School

Neil Lobo from Vyners School has introduced GIS into his department’s curriculum. He found that a department INSET session was the important catalyst for this.

GIS supporting fieldwork at the 2012 Olympics site

Bob Grinham and Caroline Hone from Nobel School, Herts, found their students were able to use a wide range of data, deepening their enquiry focused on spatial patterns, when they used Digital Worlds GIS to follow up fieldwork at the London 2012 Olympics site.

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