The New Zealand Geospatial Office in collaboration with Eagle Technology has produced a prototype application, currently known as the Educational GIS web portal which aims to introduce the value of GIS to students in New Zealand High Schools.
According to an official statement, New Zealand High Schools indicated that restricted computer access, budget constraints, and minimal access to comprehensive New Zealand centric lesson plans using GIS have made schools struggle to introduce GIS to their students.
“Through the Educational GIS Web Portal we’re looking to present teachers with a web-based GIS application that makes use of the government’s broadband initiative, and brings pre-package lessons using GIS to the classroom to allow students to meet the requirements of the new Spatial Analysis Achievement Standards,” said Kathryn Salm, Geospatial capability leader at the New Zealand Geospatial Office.
Salm added that there are two lesson plans incorporated within the pilot - an introduction lesson which allows students to plan their summer holiday and a national achievement compliant lesson showcasing the Rugby World Cup.
Since the portal is currently in its prototype stage, Salm said they are currently testing the portal in five schools ranging the width and breath of New Zealand, both urban and rural, to present geospatial concepts to their geography classrooms.
“Testing is due to be completed in the next couple of months, and all participating teachers have been asked to provide feedback on the portal, including usability, through an online form on the Eagle Technology Website,” she said.
“Once testing is completed the Working Group will review the feedback and determine a way forward for the Portal.”
“Ideally we would like to link this resource into the Ministry of Educations TKI website and see it used as a permanent spatial information and concepts teaching tool within New Zealand classrooms.”
Salm noted that they are also keen to have the Industry be deeply involved in conceptualising the lesson plans that reflect how GIS is used to solve interesting real-world problems.
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