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Learning Geography with GIS

Geographic Information Systems (GIS) are fundamental tools for learning geography. The importance of teaching students GIS skills as a basic requirement has been reflected in its recent inclusion in the new programme of study for geography at KS3.

GIS is identified as a ‘Key Process’ that all young people from 11-14 years must experience and it provides a ‘Curriculum Opportunity’ that should be offered to enhance their engagement with key geographical concepts and content.

What we can do

Place Based Learning Within Primary Education – A school package 

Columbia Classroom

Columbia Classroom

Mapping for Change and HEC Global Learning Centre have developed a child centred programme enabling children to explore and take ownership of their local environment, to share their views and findings and work together to seek solutions, using the Mapping for Change online community map.

They explore issues of sustainability, local history and links with the wider world, empowering them to become active citizens. Through creative activities they express their views, feelings, memories and hopes for the locality around their school. Through a child-centred approach children share their own views and stories on an online map, with the school, their parents and beyond.

The Putting Ourselves on the Map Toolkit includes:

One day of training for teachers and support staff

  • One day of training for teachers and support staff
  • A set of 6 sessions to use with pupils at KS2 or KS3
  • Powerpoints, lesson plans and worksheets
  • Large laminated wall map of your area
  • Digital resources
  • Support and membership of MfC

Key Activities

Contains ten sessions looking at grid and story mapping, exploring the locality, recording their findings and views on an online map, with photography, text and poetry.

Sessions include:

  • Introduction to maps and places
  • Walk around the local area, story maps
  • Mapping my world; local and global links
  • Sustainability
  • Walk to school ‘senses’ poems

Using Google Earth in the classroom

Mapping for Change has developed a one day training course that provides teachers with the tools and skills to develop their own lesson plans using Google Earth. If teachers have clear expectations, and if they set clear guidelines for students, internet-based resources such as Google Earth can become powerful learning aids. The use of such tools and resources can clearly improve students’ motivation and make learning geography fun.

Some of the advantages to using Google Earth include:

  • It is well known to both teachers and pupils – most people have had a play with this software.
  • It has increasingly high resolution satellite imagery of all the continents.
  • It has the capability to show 3D landscapes and to ‘fly’ across the land between pre-determined locations.
  • The latest version now has historical satellite images and underwater data.
  • You can attach placemarks at a specific location and add text, photos, sound and video files.
  • There are a large amount of additional data layers available in the form of kml (kmz) files, and you can import your own fieldwork data from GPS units.

The MfC training programme involves hands-on practical tutorials that link to the students’ experiences. We can show you how to:

  • Extract, import and develop relevant teaching material that can be incorporated into both classroom and homework exercises;
  • Control and limit what is accessed during your lessons,
  • Link this work to other areas of the curriculum
  • Tailor this work to the specific needs of your school and your current syllabus.

When introducing web-based activities into the classroom teachers are faced with the issue of controlling what students access and have access to. This is no different with tools such as Google Earth which hosts a wealth of material, some of which you may not wish your students to access. We can help you do this whilst using a powerful resource to enhance the students’ learning experience.

We can provide in-house training which saves you time and money. It also allows for teachers covering other curricula such as history to benefit from attending the training. There are clear advantages to utilising GIS as a tool for historical investigation.

If you are interested in finding out more about working with us or there is project ideas that you would like to discuss call us on 020 7679 2296 or contact us

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