Legends, lines, learning: GIS map focused curriculum and its effect on student learning and engagement

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Montana State University - Bozeman, College of Letters & Science


Though maps have been part of classroom curricula for thousands of years, digital mapping resources are a new tool for teachers. However, how effective are digital maps, like GIS, at teaching students historical as well as science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) information? In this study, five 7th and 8th grade level classrooms in Montana and Wyoming were given a curriculum with GIS maps to pilot. The results have shown that students learn very well with GIS maps and absorbed the information. The data showed that student confidence with STEM and digital learning platforms increased. Additionally, the qualitative data from the teachers showed that ArcGIS is a user-friendly platform they enjoyed using as a teaching tool. These results indicate that digital maps, like physical maps, are valuable teaching tools from which students benefit.




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