GIS in the Classroom

April 12, 2014 in Student Research Ideas, Teaching Resources, Technology

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Today at KU Edwards Campus I attended the “GIS in the Classroom” workshop, part of April’s PD opportunities provided the KU Center for STEM Learning (under who the UKanTeach program can be found). Skipping right to the chase, you can find my notes, ideas, and instructions for using GIS in the classroom here. Most of what I have to say about the workshop can be found there so I’m not going to re-hash much here, in fact I would enjoy comments on KABT as well as within the document, especially ideas on how to engage students in projects involving GIS, which is what part of the workshop was dedicated to. The other main focus was showing how student devices (smartphones and tablets) can be used to do this, no sophisticated GPS systems needed (although they definitely can be used).

I think for biology the primary opportunity this allows for is field sampling. The ways it could be used in the field is pretty vast, not limited to creating trails, collecting probe data, mark and recapture, basic sampling, etc. Obviously the benefit here is quick data collection that is forwarded to a central data sheet (CSV file) that is live and can be uploaded straight to many types of maps for data visualization. In the workshop today we recorded various life stages of dandelions in mowed and unmowed regions of Edwards Campus and uploaded and manipulated that data on a map.

So with that, what does everyone else think? What type of capacity do we visualize students using the technology (even outside of field studies)?

3 responses to GIS in the Classroom

  1. Hey Camden, I attended that GIS training last summer and I think it has great potential to enable students to create, collect, and analyze unique data sets. I implemented this in my Field Ecology class this last January for collecting squirrel leaf nest (called Dreys) locations in an Urban Park in Wichita. I provided the URL link using a QR code to speed up the collection process for the whole class. The project worked so great I presented a Poster about it at the Spring KAS meeting. Overall, the best thing that came out of this project we completed as a class was STUDENTS asking real science questions – “Don’t squirrels also nest in cavities? How accurate is our sampling? How have other scientists used drey nest counts to estimate squirrel populations?” Therefore, the “after” collection questions by students might have been more intriguing than the actual study. Citizen science projects have a huge potential also.

  2. Thanks for sharing! I think this will go great with our BYOD initiative that is just being implemented in our district. I actually really like the dandelion idea to use as part of my otherwise pretty linear life cycles project.

  3. Bill,

    You should make a copy of your poster available here or consider reformatting it into a post. Good stuff.

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