Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Geography lessons using GIS software for UK pupils

ESRI, a Geographic Information Systems (GIS) specialist, and Digital Worlds International (DWI), a provider of GIS technology to schools, have launched new geography mapping software across 60 secondary schools in the UK.

The Digital Worlds GIS2 helps students learn geography by using creative mapping software. They can time travel to compare electronic historical maps to modern day geographies, investigate the movement of rivers and shorelines or write newspapers and podcasts about their geography-based findings.

Angela Baker, community programme manager of ESRI (UK), said: "Digital Worlds GIS2 makes industry-standard GIS accessible to schools and enables pupils to develop valuable skills that they can apply in the real world."

The mapping software enables teachers to access a variety of pre-programmed geographic datasets. As a result, teachers can obtain information to support their lessons, without having to source geographic data.

Richard Pole, managing director of DWI, said: "We have cherry-picked the best and most appropriate GIS software tools from ESRI (UK)'s enterprise-ready stable of products, creating, for the first time, a robust GIS specifically tailored for teaching and learning in schools. There is now a real opportunity for Geography teachers to give pupils access to technology that typifies real world geographical techniques."

The two organisations claim that the software addresses the concern of the Office for Standards in Education, Children's Services and Skills (Ofsted), which has reported a drop in the number of students taking geography for GCSE and A-Level, at a time when floods, climate change, famines and traffic management have become important topics to study.

Gerard O'Sullivan, advanced skills teacher for geography in Kent, said that the new mapping software brings real life examples into the classroom. "The introduction of Digital Worlds GIS2 into the classroom is a breath of fresh air for the children, especially when they use it to support and enhance fun field trips to the beach and create 'virtual' field trips. The mapping software helps us teach pupils concepts and skills in a way that goes beyond traditional worksheets and appeals to children via the media that they habitually use," he said.

Source : article_news.asp?guid=C6B08C9A-C9DA-4ED8-BDDC-6577C940A2FD


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