Geographic Information Systems Teaches Students
How to Visualize Information and Data in a geographic context
What is GIS?
GIS systems are essentially a system of spatial databases that combine layers of data with a spatial reference. These geographical reference points literally allow users to see connections and relationships in data. By utilizing tools, students can then create spatial queries, analyze and edit the spatial data to create maps and track trends and patterns, opening up a world of discovery.
GIS technology is utilized in every industry from environmental (hurricanes, wildfires) to urban land use (such as traffic patterns and population). By teaching our students to find new information through project based learning, real world problem solving and service learning, we are preparing them to able to live, compete and successfully function in their community and global society.
Project Based Learning - GIS provides geographic context for history, world events, and natural phenomena that can be used to solve a wide range of problems. By incorporating GIS technology into our Louisiana school curriculums, we can teach STEM related topics while also providing students with real world, marketable job skills before they graduate.
At Ben Franklin High School six groups of students utilized GIS tools and remote sensing to access vegetation health in Bayou Savage National Wildlife Refuge. By obtaining the spectral signature and other biophysical parameters of the vegetation, the students accessed changes over time and were able to study marsh health and its recovery from Hurricane Katrina. Each team placed in their division and presented at the Regional Science and Engineering Fair in 2012.
Real World Problem Solving – GIS professionals can be found in almost every modern industry ranging from police departments using map data to find crime hot spots, to insurance companies tracking natural disaster risks. The list is endless, for a list of 15 Applications and Uses of GIS READ MORE.
Service Learning - The National Youth Leadership Council defines service learning as a “multi-faceted learning and teaching process” whereby service projects are embedded with intentional learning goals and designed to meet real community needs.
When GIS is integrated with meaningful community service, students experience enriched, meaningful learning enhanced with knowledge of civic duty and job skills and the end result is stronger and more vibrant communities.
In Hammond, Louisiana, senior citizens, young mothers and students worked together to address American Disabilities Act (ADA) compliance and to identify areas of concern determined by crash density and clusters of crashes involving pedestrians. By utilizing GIS, citizens can work together to ensure their communities are safer.