Mapping software breathes new life into Geography lessons

Mapping software breathes new life into Geography lessons

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New geography mapping software for the classroom has been launched across 60 secondary schools engaging “digital native” children throughout the UK.

The launch of Digital Worlds GIS2 mapping software from ESRI (UK) and Digital Worlds International (DWI) comes as OFSTED has reported a drop in the number of pupils taking Geography for GCSE and A-Level, at a time when floods, climate change, famines and traffic management should be making the subject one of the most important in schools worldwide.

Dr Gerard O’Sullivan, Kent-based Advanced Skills Teacher for Geography, has praised the new mapping software, believing it brings ‘real life’ examples into the classroom while engaging children that are now “digital natives” with internet access, mobile phones and electronic games consoles at home.

Pupils are being entertained using creative mapping software in activities such as ‘time travelling’ to analyse electronic historical maps compared to modern day geographies, investigating how rivers and shorelines move, or writing newspapers and podcasts about their geography-based findings.

“The introduction of Digital Worlds GIS2 into the classroom is a breath of fresh air for the children, especially when they use it to support and enhance fun field trips to the beach and create ‘virtual’ field trips. The mapping software helps us teach pupils concepts and skills in a way that goes beyond traditional worksheets and appeals to children via the media that they habitually use,” he said.

The Digital Worlds GIS2 solution from ESRI (UK), the market leader in Geographic Information Systems (GIS), and Digital Worlds International (DWI) enables teachers to access a wide variety of pre-programmed geographic datasets. As a result, teachers can obtain a wealth of information to support their lessons, without having to deal with the complexity of sourcing geographic data.

Richard Pole, Managing Director of DWI, is excited by the partnership and what it means for teachers, “We have cherry-picked the best and most appropriate GIS software tools from ESRI (UK)’s enterprise-ready stable of products, creating, for the first time, a robust GIS specifically tailored for teaching and learning in schools. There is now a real opportunity for Geography teachers to give pupils access to technology that typifies real world geographical techniques”.

Angela Baker, Community Programme Manager, ESRI (UK), said: “ESRI (UK) has, for many years, encouraged greater use of GIS in schools and wider education establishments demonstrating the importance and vision for technology use in the future of geography-based learning and professions. Digital Worlds GIS2 makes industry-standard GIS accessible to schools and enables pupils to develop valuable skills that they can apply in the real world.”