Evolving technology, shifting expectations: cultivating pedagogy for a rapidly changing GIS landscape

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As humans and natural processes continuously reshape the surface of the Earth, there is an unceasing need to document and analyze them through the use of Geographic Information Systems (GIS). The public is gaining more access to spatial technologies that were once only available to highly trained professionals. With technological evolution comes a requirement to transition traditional GIS training for the next generation of GIS professionals. Traditional GIS combined with non-traditional GIS (i.e. mobile and location media) and CyberGIS educational materials could attract new and diverse students into Geography departments while informing the next generation of geospatial tool builders and users. Here we pose an applied pedagogical framework for teaching cutting-edge GIS material to diverse student populations with varying levels of technological experience and professional goals. The framework was developed as part of the National Science Foundation (NSF) CyberGIS Fellows program and was applied as a course template at the University of Washington Tacoma’s Master’s of Science in Geospatial Technologies. We chart how the framework developed into a cyclical structure from our original conceptualization as a hierarchy. This changed the epistemological orientation accommodating the shifting technological terrain of the GIS landscape to improve the skills of those driving the machines.




Ricker, B., & Thatcher, J. (2017). Evolving technology, shifting expectations: cultivating pedagogy for a rapidly changing GIS landscape. Journal of Geography in Higher Education, 41(3), 368–382. https://doi.org/10.1080/03098265.2017.1315533

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