SPatial Literacy IN Teaching
Spatial literacy and allied geospatial technologies, such as Geographical Information Systems (GIS), Satellite Remote Sensing and Global Navigation Satellite Systems are increasingly important in society and education. The spatial context is an important component in the search for solutions to complex and critical environmental and social problems ranging from emergency response scenarios to understanding the spread of disease.
The Geography Department at Leicester has a long and distinguished pedigree in research and teaching GIS. It is one of only a few Geography Departments in the country to have maintained a chair in Geographical Information Science, and has been at the cutting edge of the development and application of GIS technology for more than 20 years.
The Department has a particular focus on innovative taught postgraduate teaching and has a long history in learning and teaching developments - over the last ten years it has attracted considerable funding in this context. Students have benefited enormously; over 280 students have graduated from the M.Sc. in GIS course since 1989, many of whom have gone on to occupy senior positions in public and private GIS sectors.
This CETL - which is a consortium between the University of Leicester (lead), the University of Nottingham and University College London - will use its £3.9 million award to build on these foundations, while simultaneously sharing this excellence across many other disciplines, making the centre truly interdisciplinary, innovative and forward facing.
Enriching the Learning Experience
The SPLINT CETL has three goals, the first of which is to pioneer innovative approaches to develop best pedagogic practice for the learning and teaching of spatial literacy. This will enhance the learning outcomes of those students on postgraduate GIS, Remote Sensing and Geomatics courses, and will pay particular attention to issues of student diversity.
Outreach of spatial literacy concepts and geospatial technologies to staff and students in other disciplines is the second goal. Awareness of these elements allied to the development of multi- and cross-disciplinary curricula is an important step in utilising concepts of space within student learning.
Investment in new state-of-the-art computer, virtual and augmented reality facilities represents the third goal. This will exploit developments in personal navigation technology, mobile computing and virtual reality to give staff and students access to world-class cutting edge technology both in the laboratory and in the field, and will facilitate the pedagogic and outreach goals.
Disseminating our practice outwards from this base of excellence is a key focus of the SPLINT CETL. Collaboration with staff and students from multiple disciplines across the three consortium universities and other national and international institutions, as well as non-academic organisations is central to deepening the appreciation and use of spatial literacy and allied technologies.
A programme of workshops and collaborative meetings will expose students and staff to the developments described above, and a number of internal and external fellowships will enable colleagues to augment and create learning resources and curricula. Such an exciting investment will ensure that Leicester continues to be at the vanguard of world-leading developments in GIS education.