Apr 172018
 

We’ve put together a series of 4 short guides on using Digimap for Schools. The guides are intended to be worked through over 4 weeks and new subscribers to the service will be sent one each week, post sign-up. Each guide takes just 10 minutes and by week 4, you’ll be making the most of the cross-curricular potential that Digimap for Schools offers.

We guide you sequentially through key features and provide short videos to demonstrate each function. A short practise exercise plus links to some of our lesson ideas are included.

Have a look and let us know what you think!

  • Week 1 Maps and Places Get to grips with the essentials of searching, zooming and viewing our range of maps – contemporary, historic and aerial.
  • Week 2 Making your mark Find out how to add text, shapes, symbols and images to your maps.  Create prints in different sizes and formats. Organise your maps into folders for different classes or projects.
  • Week 3 The numbers Check out how to find a grid reference and measure map features. Add measurement labels to any shapes and lines you create.
Week 3 - add measurement labels.

Week 3 – add measurement labels.

Lesson ideas

Remember we have lots of resources, written by curriculum experts,  with great ideas for using Digimap for Schools. Browse by subject and level at our resources site:

https://dfsresources.edina.ac.uk/

Keep in touch

We really value your feedback so let us know if we can improve these, or if there are any other resources that we can provide to help you get mapping!

Apr 102018
 

Over the Easter period Digimap for Schools made a trip to Sheffield for the GA Conference, which happened to be celebrating their 125th anniversary.  The conference itself was fantastic with lots of great ideas and plenty of excellent CPD for teachers and trainee teachers alike.

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We had our usual display and demo on the Ordnance Survey stand and it proved to be a busy few days with lots of interest from everyone, though we did find that most of the attendees where well aware of Digimap for Schools and quite avid users:-)

One of the most cited uses of Digimap for Schools was for illustrating the impact of coastal erosion.  A few people in particular highlighted Cowden Sands as a great example of displaying the tangible impact of coastal erosion.  I thought I would post up a few maps as examples of what is very quickly achievable by pupils.

digimap_for_schools (14)
digimap_for_schools (13) digimap_for_schools (12)
digimap_for_schools (5)

 Posted by at 3:08 pm
Mar 262018
 

We have a very useful resource in our Resources centre which highlights the common skills for GCSE Geography which can be developed using Digimap for Schools.  The resource was developed by the award winning geographer Alan Parkinson, who delves deep into the new GCSE Geography curriculums and highlights the exact GCSE map skills students need to develop and demonstrate.

Alan highlights the Map Interpretation Skills required in the new specifications and identifies how Digimap for Schools can fulfil them!  (We’ll be honest and tell you it doesn’t fulfil them all but it does cover a conservative 85% of the requirements 😉   i.e we currently don’t “demonstrate the understanding and construction of cross sections” – unfortunately you’re going to have to dig out the graph paper (or Excel) and do this manually.

Please come along and have a look, its a great way of ensuring that you are getting the most out of Digimap for Schools, and a good reminder of what exactly needs to be covered.

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The resources is available in our Resources centre or you can download it directly here: https://dfsresources.edina.ac.uk/resource/digimap-schools-support-gcse

 Posted by at 4:41 pm
Mar 082018
 
Calling all Secondary KS3 Geography teachers!
 
“Mapwork skills continue to be poorly developed. It is not uncommon for students to be unfamiliar with Ordnance Survey maps. Maps are a basic tool of geography but students admit to being uncomfortable reading maps and have little opportunity to use maps in lessons. In far too many schools, map use is limited to specific examination requirements, rather than the progressive development of these specific geographical skills.”
Geography: a fragile environment? Leszek Iwaskow (Teaching Geography Summer 20132)
We have a fantastic resource in our resources centre written by David Gardner from the Ordnance Survey.
 
It highlights some of the issues around Mapwork and Mapskills in Secondary schools.
 
Its a fantastic resource at identifying EXACTLY where mapskills are required in the KS3 national curriculum and how best introduce and use them.
 
The resource allows teachers to plan for progression through years 5,6,7 and 8. There is also an incredible curriculum planner you can download and use to support you curriculum making process.
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 Posted by at 3:51 pm
Mar 022018
 

As we are experiencing one of the heaviest snowfalls in recent memory, many school kids are having their first snow days for a very long time.  So why not embrace the novelty and enthusiasm by giving the pupils a snow based mapping activity!

We did a very quick Story Map of our walk around the neighbourhood, talking a few pictures on my phone and adding them to the map…  Again you can tailor this to your own requirements.

Here’s my example: digimap_for_schools (71)

 

 

 Posted by at 11:35 am
Jan 222018
 

Have you checked out our free resources recently? We’ve updated this area of our website to make it easier for you to see what’s available. We have lots of high quality resources for each stage of the curriculum, written by geography experts such as Dr Paula Owens and Alan Parkinson. Have a look and get some fresh ideas for the new term!

https://dfsresources.edina.ac.uk/#

You can now browse and filter all of our resources by subject. We’ve added a subject page for all of the major curriculum areas – you can see some examples on this image of the starting screen:

opening screen of the resources area

Starting screen

After selecting a subject, you can browse the available resources – each has a short description to help you decide which are most useful to you:

image of tiles for each resource

Browsing resources

You also have the option to open a Filter Results panel, which allows you to select multiple stages and subjects – so for example you could look at Geography resources for Stage 2 and Stage 3, or Outdoor Learning resources for Primary levels:

image of curriculum stage filter boxes

Filter by stage

For those who like to keep their options open, we’ve included a Primary and Secondary page so that you can browse and filter all resources available for those stages.

Your feedback

We think this is going to make life much easier for you. As always, it would be great to get your feedback. Does the new design work for you? Have you put any of the reources into practice? Get in touch and let us know!

@digimap4schools

https://www.facebook.com/digimap4schools/

digimap.schools@ed.ac.uk

 

Digimap for Schools at Christmas

 digimap for schools  Comments Off on Digimap for Schools at Christmas
Dec 082017
 

As Christmas approaches we thought we’d pull together a few Christmas themed activities for Primary schools.

Activity 1: Whats the quickest route for Santa?

This is a whole class activity and involves the use of pupil postcodes.  The locations are plotted onto a map,  pupils will then have the ability to see all the locations Santa has to go in order to visit all the pupils in the class.  Pupils should then either work independently or in teams to identify the quickest route for SScreen Shot 2017-12-08 at 09.26.43anta to go.  The amount of combinations should make it an interesting little competition to see who identifies the quickest route!  (Perhaps a Christmas themed prize for the winner :-)

 

Step 1: Create a excel spreadsheet with the pupils postcode and their name.  NOTE: Make sure the postcode column has ‘postcode’ at the top and the name column has ‘label’ at the top.  Please also ensure that you save the file as a .csv (comma separated value) rather than an .xls.

 

Step 2: Once you have saved your file in Excel, you need to upload it into Digimap for Schools.  Simply open the annotations toolbar and then go to the markers section and upload your file. step2Step 3: This is the stage at which you are able to start planning Santa’s route.  You will see all the locations with the pupils name beside it.  You then simply get the pupils to draw a line between the different pupils houses to see which is the quickest route.  You can use the measurement tool to get the length of the individual routes.  Remember you can add some photos to your map also!
Santa

Activity 2: Digimap Christmas Jigsaw’s

This can be done either as an online Jigsaw or as a hard copy.  You can generate a series of maps with ‘secret’ Christmas phrases or words that correspond to places on your maps.  E.g.

Screen Shot 2017-12-08 at 10.49.11

To create an online Jigsaw I’ve used Jigsaw planet https://www.jigsawplanet.com which is very simple to use and allows you to create your jigsaw.  Alternatively you can simply download a Jigsaw image from Google e.g. http://miamibox.us/puzzle-piece-template.html and place it over your map in Powerpoint.  Here are is an example of both:

jigsaws

These are quite festive little activities which can be all done pretty quickly in Digimap fro Schools.  We wish you all the very best in the run up to Christmas and hope these activities can be of some help!

We’ve created a quick video to show you how to do these tasks above….

YouTube Preview Image

Pete

 Posted by at 12:19 pm

GCSE Geography Fieldwork/Controlled Assessment

 digimap for schools  Comments Off on GCSE Geography Fieldwork/Controlled Assessment
Dec 062017
 

The Geography GCSE curriculum has changed over the last number of years so we decided to have a quick look into what had changed and more importantly how Digimap for Schools can cater for these changes.  We looked in particular at the AQA, Edexcel, OCR, WJEC and CEA examination boards.  We noted that the majority of these examination boards now mandate that two field studies are required, one for physical and one for human geography.

As we got into the bare bones of the specifications we noted some common themes occurring in the Controlled Assessment/Fieldwork.  Many of them had similar themes for the Data Collection and Data Presentation elements of fieldwork.  We created this short video highlighting how Digimap for School can help.  Hopefully this will showcase how beneficial the service is to teachers and pupils at GCSE.

 

YouTube Preview Image
 Posted by at 5:26 pm

GIS in the Geography classroom? A personal review of Digimap for Schools

 digimap for schools  Comments Off on GIS in the Geography classroom? A personal review of Digimap for Schools
Oct 022017
 

Below is a personal review of Digimap for Schools by Megan Roodt.  Megan is an NQT and has been very generous in sparing some time to write and share this review with us.  Thanks Megan.

 

The Geography National Curriculum for England states that students should be taught to “use Geographical Information Systems (GIS) to view, analyse and interpret places and data,” (DfE, 2013) however, whilst it can be agreed that proficiency in GIS is a valuable skill of Geographers, implementing its effective use in the classroom can be both ambitious and daunting to teachers and students. So firstly, why would the Department for Education signpost the use of GIS in the Geography National Curriculum? GIS has revolutionised the way in which we view land on Earth, (Heywood et al., 2011) and has been noted as one of the 25 most important developments for human impact in the 20th Century due to its powerful analytical abilities, (Fargher, 2013) thus students who are familiar with its uses not only have a better understanding of their environment but are better equipped to enter the technological business world, (Butt, 2002; Demirci, 2008). Traditionally, GIS software was quite complex with time-consuming downloads and processing; indeed, GIS was not initially created for use in the classroom but rather as a decision-making tool to be used by government and business. Unfortunately, such characteristics made the use of GIS unsuitable for the contemporary Geography classroom that is under increasing curriculum and timetabling pressures. So how do we then, as teaching practitioners, effectively implement GIS in our classrooms in a way that both fulfils the criteria of the National Curriculum and acts as a tool to promote learning among our students?

Digimap for Schools may very well offer the solution to this problem. As a collaborative venture between EDINA, JISC Collections and Ordnance Survey, Digimap for Schools offers an online mapping service to both students and teachers, (Digimap for Schools, 2017). The online nature of this service instantly makes it incredibly time-effective to implement in the classroom; there is no need for downloading software or mobile apps, maps can be accessed at any time and on various platforms (e.g. laptops, iPads or mobile phones) and all that students require is internet access. A far cry to the bulky and time-consuming GIS software that I became familiar with at university!

During a GIS club run by the Geography Department at The Mountbatten School, students were asked to create a proposal to identify the best locations for bins and recycling centres on the school grounds. Using Digimap for Schools, students collected raw data which was uploaded to their own maps. Students then used buffers and their personal understanding of various environmental and human factors to analyse and interpret the data to make justified decisions which would then better inform their proposal. Something that soon became apparent was that the way in which Digimap for Schools is set up can allow for a brilliant example of differentiation by outcome in that students had complete control over what went onto their maps and what functions they were going to use to make their decisions. The only premise was that their decision would need to be justified; both an important command word in the new GCSE specification and a skill to be used throughout personal and professional life.

The user-friendly layout of Digimap for Schools meant that students quickly became not only familiar with the functions available but also confident in its uses. As such, students could complete complex GIS functions in a short period of time and view the results instantly which further motivated them to challenge their data by processing alternative solutions which only made for better informed decisions. Other features of Digimap for Schools that students really enjoyed included being able to upload their own images to maps, annotating their choices and using historical maps and aerial images to view their map area in different settings.

From a teacher’s perspective, the service is very simple to use and, as many classrooms and IT suites are now fitted with interactive whiteboards, it is easy to demonstrate to students how to perform functions on Digimap for Schools. Digimap for Schools offers a simple yet effective service that makes the use of GIS both effective and enjoyable in the classroom whilst fulfilling the requirement stated on the National Curriculum.

Overall, I would highly recommend the use of Digimap for Schools in the Geography classroom as I’ve experienced its value as an efficient tool in promoting geographical enquiry and independent decision-making; it has a layout that students quickly become familiar with, the outputs of functions are immediate which allow students time to process and manipulate data as they feel appropriate and it is a service that puts as much emphasis on the process as it does on the output which, in my opinion, provides an authentic learning experience for both students and teachers.

Digimap_MBmap

References:

Butt, G., 2002. “Chapter 10: The Role of ICT in the Teaching and Learning of Geography” in Reflective Teaching of Geography 11 – 18: Meeting standards and applying research. Continuum: London.

Demirci, A., 2008. Evaluating the implementation and effectiveness of GIS-Based application in secondary school geography lessons. American Journal of Applied Sciences. 5(3): 169-178

Department for Education, 2013. The national curriculum in England. Available from: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/381754/SECONDARY_national_curriculum.pdf. Accessed: 10/08/2017

Digimap for Schools, 2017. Digimap for Schools: About. Available from: http://digimapforschools.edina.ac.uk/about

Fargher, M (2013) Geographic Information (GI) – how could it be used?’ ch 15 in Lambert, D & Jones, M (Eds) Debates in geography Education. Routledge: Oxon.

Heywood, I., Cornelius, S., Carver, S., 2011. An introduction to Geographical Information Systems. (4th ed.). Pearson Education Limited: Essex.

 Posted by at 2:44 pm