Call for Papers – GIS Education: Who Wins?

The following is a Call for Papers for a session jointly held by the GIScience Research Group (GIScRG) and the Higher Education Research Group (HERG) at the Royal Geographical Society – Institute of British Geographers International Conference 2014. The conference runs between 26th – 29th August, 2014.

“GIS Education: Who Wins?”

Convened by: Dr. Claire Ellul and Patrick Rickles (University College London)

A Geographic Information System (GIS) has been said to be a fundamental research tool and likened to the next generation’s Word or Excel. As daily use of GIS becomes ubiquitous, through mobile access to maps (Google Maps, Sat Navs, etc.), digital maps become something that everyone wants to create and use, to convey their own stories or what’s important to them. That said, though, there is still a need to use specialist technology to create these maps; using a GIS can be difficult and there is a steep learning curve. Before enthusiasm turns to frustration, potential users need to be supported to facilitate successful uptake – this is often through educational approaches, which can be anything from informal to formal and self-directed to mentored.

Educators are always thinking about new and innovative ways of engaging potential students to keep material relevant and interesting. This can be through problem based group learning that uses real-world, interdisciplinary problems to challenge preconceived notions; incorporate open source, digital technologies to broaden accessibility of educational programmes; or simply providing bespoke, student-centred education to interested parties with the emphasis on cultivating a conducive learning environment.

This session will focus on how people may successfully teach non-experts from other disciplines, how those non-experts learn about GIS and inventive mediums employed as educational aids. This may include, but is not limited to:
• Analysis of Educational Theories and Applications
• Digital Education Approaches
• Reflection on Experiences from Novice GIS Users
By knowing what people want to learn and how to effectively teach it we can empower users so that they apply GIS in ground-breaking and inventive ways.

We would like to welcome participants who have had to teach and/or learn how to use GIS to share their experiences (good or bad) and suggested approaches for the future when dealing with non-experts from various disciplines. Titles, abstracts (roughly 250 words) and 5 keywords, along with contact details should be emailed to Patrick Rickles ( by Monday, 10 February, 2014. Notification of acceptance will be given by Monday, 17 February, 2014.

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