An achievable approach for all classrooms

THE GIS Skill Development Process

There is much debate about whether this component should or should not be the starting point for the model.  What is agreed however is that at some stage students need to be guided through an achievable and practical skill development process. We do not see that our role is to train students in all of the GIS operational skills available to the GIS consultant.  Whatever skills are taught must fit the curriculum, the abilities of the students, the technology available and the motivational capabilities of the teachers in the time available.  If the skills are not required then why teach them?  Again, this topic has provided a vigorous debate between classroom teachers and university lecturers and indeed the GIS software industry.  Despite the rocky ground covered in this debate, teachers in South Australia have developed a GIS skill development process that has demystified and simplified GIS skills and provided a sequential approach to the acquisition of the required skills.  As a result the development of GIS skills have become more achievable for teachers, more relevant to the curriculum and hence more likely to be introduced into the classroom.  In short, why insist on high level GIS technical skills for teachers if their acquisition merely become a “roadblock” to implementation.  By developing an achievable GIS Skills Development Course we have customised GIS to the needs of the education system.  The developed stages of GIS skill development have provided “leaping off” points or rather sequential learning stages for teachers to feel comfortable about learning GIS and subsequently to introduce GIS into their classrooms at a level they view as achievable. 

The skills course is divided into four developmental steps 

* Data manipulation, data selection and search skills using provided data.

 * Creation of student generated databases and customised maps.

* The application of digital images, digital maps and aerial photographs.

* The use of Global Positioning Systems (GPS) as a data development tool and map generation technique.

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