Despite it not feeling very Spring like yet, a sunny (but chilly) Derby played host to the annual Geographical Association Conference. Held during the school holidays, it is a great opportunity for meeting geography teachers using Digimap for Schools and to engage others who may not have heard of the service.
Digimap for Schools was represented on the Ordnance Survey stand in the exhibition and a workshop was held on the Saturday.
Friday was a busy day on the stand with plenty of teachers stopping by to either find out about the service or to tell us how much they love using Digimap for Schools and to hear about the latest set of new tools and enhancements.
In previous years, I haven’t been able to get time to attend any of the interesting sounding lectures that take place during the conference. This year, I really wanted to make sure I got to at least one and so attended the ‘Mapping the route to resilience’ lecture by Mark Thurstain-Goodwin of GeoFutures Ltd. From the description of the lecture, this sounded like it would be good example to inspire the use of GIS in the classroom.
Mark’s key message was that mapping should be at the heart of geography teaching and learning, which I agree with. Mark used an example of how mapping can be used to analyse and answer questions about how we can plan for future food security with the resources available.
I found it a very interesting lecture and a great example of spatial analysis and mapping. I was a little disappointed to not hear anything about specific technologies, tools and skills required to carry out such analysis and how GIS can be implemented in the classroom. I hope the teachers attending found it inspiring and will consider carrying out their own analysis using the same or similar topic in their own area. Rather than only using the materials and images that will be provided from the talk. Whilst using maps created by someone else is a good way to examine an interesting topic, I feel that giving students exposure to GIS and enabling them to carry out their own spatial analysis and create maps, will create more enthusiasm and interest for putting maps in the thick of it.
Saturday saw another steady day on the stand for those coming to see what was on offer. In the afternoon, a 50 minute Digimap for Schools workshop was held where attendees were given the chance to get their hands on Digimap for Schools and have a play. Delegates used measurement tools to measure their garden, added a photo of the olympic stadium from geograph and used the buffer tool to draw a 1km zone around their own school.
It was another successful conference and from catching up on Twitter and blogs, many found it to be a stimulating and worthwhile.
Last Friday and Saturday (13 – 14 April) the Digimap for Schools team joined the Ordnance Survey on their stand at the GA Conference in Manchester. It was a fantastic couple of days and we welcomed many visitors to the stand. In fact, some people had to come back on the Saturday to see us because the stand had been too busy when they stopped by on Friday!
Digimap for Schools received lots of positive feedback from teachers currently using the service and those interested in signing up. Visitors were impressed with the new enhancements released a couple of weeks ago (read about them here) and were very interested in the new secondary and primary teaching resources recently added (download resources here)
It was an excellent conference for us, providing a great opportunity to meet new and familiar teachers to demonstrate the service and to hear feedback from those already using it.
The Education team from Ordnance Survey also held a workshop on Friday afternoon demonstrating Digimap for Schools. The room was crammed full of eager teachers to hear about the history and development of Digimap for Schools, as well as getting chance to have a hands-on session to have a look at the service themselves.
From the buzz on various blogs and Twitter, I don’t think we were the only people to think that the conference was fantastic, a job really well done by the GA!
EDINA are delighted to announce that the Digimap for Schools service has been awarded the GOLD Certificate for the best overall resource in the the Geographical Association’s 2011 Publishers’ Awards.
The GA Publishers’ Awards aim to recognise material which is likely to make a significant contribution to geography in primary schools, secondary schools or colleges, and to encourage the creative development of new materials. Further information about the awards can be found here: http://www.geography.org.uk/news/publishersawards/
The Award was presented at the Geographical Association’s Annual Conference at the University of Surrey, Guildford on Thursday 14th April 2011 to EDINA’s Director Peter Burnhill and Ordnance Survey’s Director General and CEO, Vanessa Lawrence.
Peter Burnhill said, “This Gold Certification from the Geography Association Publishers is splendid recognition for all those who have worked together on Digimap for Schools to bring Ordnance Survey mapping into the classroom.
“At EDINA, which is based at the University of Edinburgh, we aim to live up to your expectations and do for primary and secondary schools what we have done so successfully for universities and colleges, encouraging love of maps as well as helping to prepare students for the future.”
About Digimap for Schools
Digimap for Schools is a joint venture between EDINA (University of Edinburgh), Ordnance Survey and JISC Collections and provides easy access to a wide range of current Ordnance Survey maps including national coverage of OS MasterMap, as well as digital versions of the Landranger and Explorer series paper maps. Also included are street level maps showing street names and road-atlas style maps.
Subscribing schools can use a seamless digital map of Great Britain at each scale available. Maps can be printed as PDF files at A3 or A4 size and in landscape or portrait orientation. Maps can be printed with an individual’s own map title and name included with the scale bar and school name and address. Search tools include postcode, place name or national grid reference and maps can be moved to centre on any chosen location within Great Britain. Map keys are available for each scale map to explain the symbols used within the map.
For information on how to subscribe and links to a free trial demonstration version of Digimap for Schools, please check the following links:
Other articles that review the Geographic Association Awards: