The role of GIS in digital earth education

  • Kerski J
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Abstract

Abstract A growing number of educators worldwide have become convinced that geotechnologies ? including geographic information systems (GIS), global positioning systems (GPS), and remote sensing ? are key technologies to prepare students to be tomorrow's decision makers. Grappling with local, regional, and global issues of the 21st century requires people who think spatially and who can use geotechnologies. Some educators teach geotechnologies as a discipline, emphasising skills. Other educators use geotechnologies as a tool to teach content, such as geography, history, environmental studies, Earth Science, biology, mathematics, economics and other disciplines. Issues such as traffic, population growth, urban sprawl, energy, water, crime, human health, biodiversity and sustainable agriculture are growing in complexity, exist at every scale and increasingly affect people's everyday lives. Each of these issues has a spatial component. Drivers for geotechnology education include educational content standards, constructivism, the school-to-career movement, active learning, citizenship education, authentic practice and assessment, interdisciplinary education, community connections and a sustained, increasing demand for GIS professionals. Digital Earth is an ideal framework for contextualising domains of inquiry. The Digital Earth community can have a significant impact on the growth of geotechnologies in education, and conversely, the growth of geotechnologies in education and society can foster the forward movement of Earth systems concepts.
Abstract A growing number of educators worldwide have become convinced that geotechnologies ? including geographic information systems (GIS), global positioning systems (GPS), and remote sensing ? are key technologies to prepare students to be tomorrow's decision makers. Grappling with local, regional, and global issues of the 21st century requires people who think spatially and who can use geotechnologies. Some educators teach geotechnologies as a discipline, emphasising skills. Other educators use geotechnologies as a tool to teach content, such as geography, history, environmental studies, Earth Science, biology, mathematics, economics and other disciplines. Issues such as traffic, population growth, urban sprawl, energy, water, crime, human health, biodiversity and sustainable agriculture are growing in complexity, exist at every scale and increasingly affect people's everyday lives. Each of these issues has a spatial component. Drivers for geotechnology education include educational content standards, constructivism, the school-to-career movement, active learning, citizenship education, authentic practice and assessment, interdisciplinary education, community connections and a sustained, increasing demand for GIS professionals. Digital Earth is an ideal framework for contextualising domains of inquiry. The Digital Earth community can have a significant impact on the growth of geotechnologies in education, and conversely, the growth of geotechnologies in education and society can foster the forward movement of Earth systems concepts.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Digital earth and geotechnologies
  • Digital earth and society
  • Educational gis
  • Spatial thinking

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Authors

  • J. J. Kerski

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