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Critical Issues in GIS-Based Educational Module Development:  NCGIA’s ArcView-based Color Your World Module (96-6)

  • Author(s): Palladino, Steve
  • Van Zuyle, Paul
  • et al.
Abstract

This report seeks to provide a framework for Geographic Information System (GIS) based education module development. The full potential of GIS in the K-12 classroom has not been met in part due to the limited availability of necessary support materials such as tutorials, exercises, datasets, background information on GIS and geographical data, and packaged approaches to using GIS software in learning. Now, however, GIS software is becoming easier to use as it adopts point-and-click icon and menu-based graphical user interfaces in step with broader trends in computing. These positive trends have made creating materials that support teachers and students in their use of GIS more feasible and have encouraged various groups and individuals to begin creating these support tools.

The modules investigated in this report are all based on the Environmental Systems Research Institute (ESRI) software package ArcView 2. The focus is primarily on a series of educational modules developed over the past two years by NCGIA. The three modules are: Color Your World, the introductory module, which uses a global level dataset; Light Up Your Nation which uses national level nighttime space imagery; and Know Your Neighborhood which uses local level street network and demographic data. The experience of creating these materials is compared to three other ArcView module development efforts. We begin with a bit of background on the issues related to ArcView-based module development. This includes a discussion of the critical issues, both in the design and in the actual development process. Finally, we present a discussion of lessons learned from all of these efforts.

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