We discussed the different ways that we could help faculty or students to support learning about spatial data/technologies. One of the main problems we discussed was how we could persuade faculty to adopt new technologies in their teaching. Here are some of our suggestions:
Show and Tell
Regular sessions to allow students and staff to demonstrate, to each other, some innovative geospatial tools or techniques they use – “a forum for showing off”. These could be held at lunchtime to fit with the timetables of people who are otherwise very busy. If there are other groups who already have these kinds of meetings, a geospatial expert could try to join them (a “friendly spy”) and present a session on geospatial technologies or data.
Along similar lines to show and tell sessions, we thought that one day workshops that group people together to work on a particular project could be a good way to teach geospatial technology. For example, the ‘Social Innovation Camp’ run day sessions that pair developers with non-developers to solve small problems.
We thought that online resources could have a large part to play in supporting geospatial learning, ranging from short video clips to an online tutoring system (similar to #geosciteach). We thought that it was particularly important that any online learning system didn’t look like a ‘traditional’ portal/VLE resource – if it looked more attractive and less like a university resource (and didn’t mention “scary” phrases like “GIS”) it might be more attractive.
It was suggested that drop-in sessions for students could be very beneficial, particularly if they were staffed by other paid students who might be more approachable than formal teaching staff. It is particularly useful to have students create their own material, so drop-in or show and tell sessions might be a good way to encourage this.
On the whole, our overall recommendation is to: create as many avenues as possible to allow people to get to geospatial information.
People in the group: Andy Hudson-Smith, Steven Gray, Gregory Marler, Nicola Osborne, Julie Sweetkind-Singer, Nick Malleson