Saturday, September 29, 2007

The trip Itinerary

The Spatial Worlds website
At this stage these are my stops and contacts.
1. October 9th: Professor PC Lai: Hong Kong University
2. October 13th- 18th: Dallas with George Dailey from ESRI US, visiting Texas schools such as Bishop Dunne.
3. October 19th-22nd: Oklahoma City at the American Association of Geographers Conference.
4. October 23rd-27th: Washington with Bob Kolvoord from James Madison University and Kathryn Keranen visiting schools in Virginia.
5. October 27th-28th: New York (just for R&R)
6. October 29th-31st: Toronto with Jean Tong from ESRI Canada, visiting Canadian schools and meeting with education authorities.
7. November 1st-13th: United Kingdom visiting Judith Mansell at the Royal Geographical Society, Roger Jeans at the Ordnance Survey, Noel Jenkins from Digital Geography, Angela Baker from ESRI UK, Richard Poole and Jason Saulle from Digital Worlds and participating in GIS training at the RGS on December 8th.
Other visits are being planned at each stop but this itinerary gives an outline of the 'first stop' visits during my project.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Why spatial education as an area to investigate

Spatial Worlds website
Spatial technology in the classroom has been happening in various schools around Australia since 1997 in a disparate and ad hoc way dependent on groups of motivated and passionate educators keen to see the introduction of spatial technologies into the classroom for their students. In the early days there was much discussion about why we should bother with spatial technology in the classroom and the impediments for it to happen. Today the world has changed and there are few who argue that we shouldn’t use spatial technology in schools and the impediments of cost and resources available have rapidly diminished. The acceleration in interest in spatial technology has been further enhanced by the increasing accessibility of GIS orientated materials on the Internet such as Google Earth and the accelerating all pervasiveness of GIS technology in our everyday life’s. In short educators are starting to open their eyes to the possibilities of spatial technology in schools to enhance spatial literacy and are looking around for support and expertise from those in the know. The purpose of this project is to explore what can and has been done around the world to enhance and support the uptake of spatial technology in schools.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

The Spatial Worlds Project

Welcome to my Churchill trip blog on spatial technology in education. During my trip to Hong Kong, the US, Canada and the UK I will be investigating the following project brief:


Spatial Worlds website

The focus of the project is to investigate the use of spatial technology in education at the system and school level. The project involves the exploration of materials used and methodologies employed to ensure successful classroom implementation of spatial technology by teachers. It is hoped by visiting spatial education experts and stakeholders in Hong Kong, the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom that an awareness of how spatial education implementation has been successfully undertaken in schools. The project aims to develop templates of good classroom and system practice to use in in-service activities and teaching materials in Australia.

For more information on the Churchill Fellowship:

The following questions are an expansion on my project aims. I hope to explore these questions and find some answers which will help us back in Oz to implement spatial education in schools. I will be visiting Hong Kong, Dallas, Washington, New York, Toronto and London. More about who I visit as the trip proceeds through the blog.


1.How widespread is the use of spatial technology in schools in your country.
2.What type of software is most commonly used?
3.What teaching resources are available using spatial technology in schools?
4.Have local curriculum materials been developed for schools to use spatial technology to enhance spatial literacy?
5.Can schools access local, regional and national data easily?
6.What are the major impediments to the implementation of spatial technology at the school and system level?
7.What teacher training models are employed? What resources are available to train teachers in the area of spatial technology and spatial literacy? Who undertakes the teacher training?
8.Has the inservice of teachers in spatial technology been taken up positively by teachers and schools?
9.How has the education system supported the implementation of spatial technology in schools?
10.How have students responded to the technology?
11.Is there school based evidence and research that spatial technology significantly enhances the spatial literacy of students?
12.Is the term spatial literacy widely used in your country and if so what resources are available to help teachers delineate and comprehend the concepts involved?
13.Has the vocational aspect between the teaching of spatial literacy and use of spatial technology been linked with the opportunities in the spatial industry in your country i.e. vocational education programme in schools.
14.Is there a general awareness and acceptance by educational authorities of the need for spatial literacy and the use of the associated spatial technologies in schools? Moreover do the authorities and schools see the opportunities such technologies provide for student employment and classroom practice?
15.Is there a sense of frustration by the spatial industry and teacher’s presently using spatial technology in schools on the rate of uptake of the technology and the priority placement of spatial thinking in schools?
16.Is the use of spatial technology limited to geography or is it employed across the curriculum?
17.Are there ‘model schools’ demonstrating good spatial technology practices in your country which could be used as implementation templates for other parts of the world?
18.What is planned in your country to enhance student spatial literacy and/or the comprehensive use of spatial technologies in schools for the future?
19. I am sure I will think of others as I travel around!!

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