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Maps & Geospatial: Teaching and Learning Resources for Educators

Ways to incorporate mapping, geospatial information, and/or geographic information systems (GIS) with classroom activities.


Across disciplines maps and geospatial information can provide an important means to communicate patterns, relationships, and features.  This guide provides resources and examples to consider when implementing mapping concepts into classroom activitiesExamples from K12 and higher education are included.

Factors to consider when incorporating geospatial component into curriculum

  • Learner prior experience with geospatial content, GIS technology, and map concepts: For instance, are students exposed to map content in a prior course or an earlier part of the course? How to geospatial concepts from an earlier assignment build upon one another in later assignments?
  • Instructor prior experience with geospatial content, GIS technology, and map concepts: For instance, does the instructor use geospatial information in own research or personal interests?
  • Assignment goals: For instance, what are objectives of the assignment and how does including a geospatial component enhance, connect, or help achieve the objective of the assignment?
  • Independent or Group work: For instance, are students working independently or in small groups on assignments? It may be helpful to provide learners with tips on coming to group consensus on geospatial components of the project and provide a list of the geospatial decisions that will need to be made in an assignment.
  • Timing: For instance, how much time will students have to work on assignments with a geospatial component from point of instruction to assignment completion deadline? It may be helpful to provide students with smaller milestone dates to communicate project progress in order to identify challenges or hurdles. This aspect of timing is also important in terms of identifying any technology issues or issues of an entire class.
  • Data Sources: Is additional data needed related to assignment? What geospatial data search skills are incorporated into assignments?
  • Data Analysis: Does the assignment incorporate analytical techniques and conceptual foundation of these topics?
  • Related materials: For instance, do assignments entail the use of different media formats, data formats, or sources, which learners will be working with?

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