With the use of Geographical Information Systems (GIS) now a requirement in schools, Esri UK and the Society are working together to support teachers in their use of the technology.
The use of GIS is a requirement of the National Curriculum, and the new GCSE and A Level geography examinations. This means that all secondary school pupils should be using GIS in their geography classrooms and on fieldwork, to explore, analyse and interpret geographical data within a spatial context.
There have always been geography teachers who have developed outstanding work with GIS. However, there have been many more for whom the twin barriers of cost and confidence have limited their use of the technology.
The Society is delighted to be working with Esri UK to help overcome this situation through two significant developments. Firstly, in an unprecedented move, Esri UK is providing a free ArcGIS subscription to every UK secondary school, enabling all geography pupils to access and use GIS.
Secondly, the Society is working with Esri UK to help roll out a national Geo-Mentors programme. Geo-Mentors are expert GIS users who work in a wide range of business, not-for-profit or local and national government roles who volunteer to support a local teacher’s use of GIS.
The Society’s Director, Dr Rita Gardner, said: “In reflecting GIS’s application to real world contexts, Esri Geo-Mentors demonstrate the added-value of GIS to many leading businesses and organisations, whilst also helping geography teachers with the practical use of this technology.”
The Society hopes all geography teachers will sign up for a free ArcGIS account and also encourage their GI proficient Fellows and Chartered Geographers to become Geo-Mentors and share their professional expertise with a local geography teacher.