Teaching Innovation Projects


Physical geography as a discipline is deeply rooted in field-based and technique-based courses where students are expected to learn through lectures and hands-on laboratories (Allen, 2007). Unfortunately, research has shown that just having students ‘do’ geography using step-by-step instructions may not be contributing to deep learning or long-term retention of knowledge (Armstrong and Bennett, 2005; Scheyvens et al., 2008). One way in which this learning model can be improved is by adopting the constructivist model in which learning is student-centred and teachers act as expert guides and instructors (Day, 2012; Keengwe et al., 2009; Sheng et al., 2010). One area of physical geography that can be improved with this model of teaching is Geographic Information Systems (GIS). GISs are systems that allow us to visualize, analyze, and interpret spatial data and are a ubiquitous tool in geography (Sanders et al., 2001). Unfortunately, GIS software programs are often expensive, complex, and have steep-learning curves. As a result, students are often provided pre-selected datasets and stepwise instructions for completing assignments. They are rarely given the opportunity to collect their own data, develop their own projects, or link their practical field experiences with the theory learned in lecture. This workshop will introduce participants to using simple mobile GIS technologies, such as Google Earth and Collector for ArcGIS, as an active learning tool for teaching undergraduate Geography students. Specifically, participants will have the opportunity to experience data collection with mobile GIS technology firsthand while also engaging in discussions about technology integration with their peers. By the end of the workshop, participants will be able to integrate mobile GIS-based technologies as an active learning tool into both lectures and laboratories in undergraduate geography courses.

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Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.