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Technology In Education - Term Paper Example

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During the decade of the 1980s, computer technology entered many areas of everyday life in developed countries. The writer of the paper "Technology in Education" gives information about the benefits of using geographic information system in the education process…
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Technology In Education
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Download file to see previous pages Basic Definition and Application of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) A geographic information system is a package consisting of four basic parts: an adequately powered computer, software (built-in procedures and instructions), geographic data (in a variety of formats), and the accessing and using the data (Schuurman, 2004). In the broadest sense, GIS can be defined as a powerful set of computer-based tools for collecting, storing, retrieving and displaying spatial information (Schuurman, 2004). Another way of saying this is that GIS is a tool for mapping and analyzing what is and what happens on earth. However, GIS is more than "computer maps" - it provides the power to link databases and maps and to show dynamic displays. More significant is that it gives the user the tools to imagine, explore or investigate, and overlay databases in ways that are not possible with traditional spreadsheets. Education, government, and business use GIS to improve on making their decisions and on managing the information.Why Use GIS In the Classroom The robust hardware, powerful software, spatial data can be powerful tools for an active explorer. Schools can take advantage of this "new geography" in many ways (McMaster and Usery, 2005). With relatively little financial investment by a school, GIS can be incorporated into current curricula, at each grade level and subject. GIS can give support and increase the value of existing activities and does not need a separate and 'isolated place in the curricula. With GIS the teacher and students have a new means to look at and analyze information. Also, the student's higher order thinking skills (e.g., observing, questioning, exploring, evaluating) can become a focus (McMaster and Usery, 2005).
However, even more, significant than the powerful technology and tools with GIS, there is a wholly new emphasis and opportunity in the educational philosophy or paradigm for increasing individual exploration (NCSU.edu, 2002). In everyday life, answers are defined by people's questions and the parameters that are given. At present GIS software and data do not provide "the" answer. Instead, GIS offers ways to look at alternative responses to situations and problems that are specific (ESRI, 1998; ESRI, 2008).
Interdisciplinary projects can be one important and effective use of GIS: mathematics, social studies, language arts, science are some examples of how this system can be helpful for the exploration of students. However, to relate GIS to the curriculum of these and other fields, there must be the "dimension" of a "location" that can be explored.
An example of how GIS can be used in an interdisciplinary way is the use of a middle school teacher in North Carolina, Barbara Duke. This teacher used this technology to create a project for the students in a literature unit on Mark Twain. This unit could be related to Mark Twain's travels. The students of her class tracked the distance of Twain's travels by using tools of the ESRI Arc Voyager Project and. probed the database to find places located throughout the world where the author had traveled (NCSU.edu, 2002).
Schools can employ GIS across the curriculum to engage students and teachers in the ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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