Thursday, September 1, 2011
The Genie is out of the bottle!
Related sites to the Spatialworlds project
21st Century Geography Google Group
Australian Geography Teachers' Association website
'Towards a National Geography Curriculum' project website
Geography Teachers' Association of South Australia website
Adelaide, Australia: S: 34º 55' E: 138º 36'
Spatial Genie goes live
Check out Spatial Genie, an Australian education system developed GIS platform of massive significance to the promotion of GIS in Australian schools. Spatial Genie is a GIS platform from Education Services Australia (ESA) and is available for free use at http://www.spatialgenie.edu.au/spatialgenie/.
As mentioned in a previous Spatialworlds posting, ESA has morphed out of The Learning Federation, Curriculum Corporation and EDNA as the resource development arm of the Australian Curriculum initiative. The development of Spatial Genie by ESA is important because for the first time the education system in Australia, via ESA, has invested in the development and promotion of GIS in schools in a practical way. Although only the first version (with a few bugs still), Spatial Genie: Mark 1 is a great development and sets the scene for the continued development of a free, Australia-wide, system supported, data rich and customized to schools GIS platform.
Have a look at Spatial Genie and see how it may be used in your classroom. Michael Gehling at ESA would love to hear your views on how it has performed and what can be done to improve the platform for school use in the future. Regardless of some of the platform problems we may experience as Spatial Genie is developed and improved, this development is especially important for the geographer wishing to use GIS in their classroom because of the data access function of the product. ESA has worked hard at acquiring data from government and private providers for use in Spatial Genie. Such a data bank acquired by a government organization such as ESA is just what Australian geographers have been looking for to make data access, storage and configuration on a national scale a reality. In time Spatial genie will also have data associated student activities and support materials integrated into the site.
Spatial Genie has a huge potential to promote GIS in Australian Schools (and beyond) by providing a stepping stone for teachers to start using spatial data in an meaningful way via a free education system developed on-line platform. No longer can those skeptical or unfamiliar with the use of GIS say that there is no system support in Australia for the use of GIS or that it is too expensive, data is too hard to acquire and that GIS is not accessible for every classroom in Australia. Watch the Spatial Genie space as it continues to be more stable, improve functionality and gather data sets. Michael is presently working on the next stage of development for Spatial Genie in 2012.
Any feedback we can provide can only help to make this a world leading educational resource for geography (and the other subjects such as science, history and mathematics). Geographers in Australia should support this development as a move in the right direction to get spatial technology into every Australian school.
What can one say about the diversity of place?