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Why use GIS in the classroom?

GIS is an interdisciplinary technology tool

GIS technology offers the opportunity for many interdiciplinary projects. There are many different aspects of social studies, science, math, language arrs and and other curriculum that GIS can help students explore. The important part is to have a location or series of locations to explore or relate to the curriculum.

A great example of the interdiciplinary nature of GIS stems from a literature unit about Mark Twain. Barbaree Duke, a middle school teacher in Raleigh, North Carolina, created a GIS project for her students based on the travels of Mark Twain. Her students measured distances (math) using the tools found in the ESRI ArcVoyager product and queried the database to find locations around the world that Twain had visited (social studies and technology).

Other ideas include:

  • Social Studies - explore demographic information for countries of the world; visualization of historical events; explore natural change over time

  • Science Education - explore natural phenomena such as earthquakes and volcano locations; explore habits of animals and impact of humans, and many more

  • Business and Marketing Education - business location analysis; create travel routes for a business that will be delivering goods in a town or city

  • Language Arts - explore locations of a books plot; map the travel logs/journals of a specific author

  • Mathematics - explore mathematical functions of demographic data (ie differences between the number of males and females of cities, proportions of Hispanic Americans to African Americans in major US cities)

  • Health and Physical Education-explore locations and spread of diseases and illnesses

  • Other great GIS education projects

Another exciting use of GIS in the classroom occurs when educators and their students collect and create their own data. The GIS is then used to display the data and analyze the results. GPS (Global Positioning System) units can also be used to collect location information which can be used in a GIS. More on GIS analysis...

GIS technology promotes higher order thinking skills. GIS use in the classroom can also help students understand the spatial relationships that are found in their world. Spatial analyses, such location selection, change over time, and environmental impact, can play an intregral part in GIS use in the classroom.

Where is GIS used?



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