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
Sep 062017
 

In September 2016, Getmapping contributed their high-resolution aerial imagery data for free inclusion into the Digimap for Schools service.  This imagery has been hugely successful and has quickly attracted lots of attention and usage from our schools.  We asked some of our users to give us a little insight into how they are using this Aerial Imagery in their school activities.

We found that the aerial imagery was being used widely across Primary  schools in conjunction with the native functionality of Digimap for Schools e.g. adding photos and text to the maps and imagery to supplement and personalise it.

“Aerial photographs have been beneficial to compare Ordnance Survey maps with aerial images.  For example, we have used it when looking at river features in Year 5.  In the past, comparisons would have been made using Google maps but they haven’t been able to be annotated like you can on Digimaps.  We have also used it for Year 3 when looking at Stone Age features like Skara Brae Orkney Isles.  The children also enjoyed looking at aerial photos of the Jurassic Coast.”

Helen Kennedy
St. Katharine’s C.E. (V.A.) Primary School

Screen Shot 2017-09-04 at 16.16.48

 

The Secondary school students have also been finding that collating and overlaying images and text on the aerial imagery to be incredibly beneficial

“We use it for students in year 7 looking at school environments up to year 11 controlled assessments /new field work specs.  The aerial photography is useful for bringing a landscape to life from a map which many students find as a bewildering array of lines and colours.  Seeing the relief from a map takes some skill having an immediate photo makes this easier…same applies to land use. I use the annotation tools to highlight similar features on maps and then on a photos at the same scale. It stops students using google earth where there is too much temptation to go to street view !”

Robert Perry
Geography Teacher Chiltern Edge Community School

Many of those that responded cited it as incredibly beneficial in the delivery of GCSE and A-Level to those students at the higher age ranges, and an integral part of their fieldwork assessments.  We believe this usage can only increase with the new format of GCSE and A-Level Geography which now includes 2 independent field studies as part of the new curriculum.

“The Aerial Imagery function in Digimap for Schools has proved very useful for our GCSE and A-Level students in planning their fieldwork data collection.  Together with the ‘how to guides’ on land-use mapping, we are hoping for some excellent map based presentation this year.”

Mr S. Williams
Borden Grammar School

An example of how to Present data collected through a field study

An example of how to Present data collected through a field study

Below is a really nice testimonial of how teachers and pupils are using Digimap for Schools as a day to day resource in their teaching and learning.  Abingdon School is using the service and all of its features to enhance students understanding of the connections between the human and physical worlds. The service is dynamic enough to cater to all students within the school and unlike many textbooks is accessible to all students in the school.

“We are very pleased with the service and the aerial photography is an important part of how we can use Digimap for Schools in our lessons on a day to day basis.

Aerial Imagery has broadened the topics we can investigate with the students, from historical and modern land use mapping to investigating the course of a river, understanding coastal processes and the processes of glaciation within landscapes. 

The students find the sliding bar easy to use and like the option of choosing aerials with or without labels. They can now digitize and label geographical features from aerial photographs with ease. 

The ability to change transparency of aerial imagery and OS mapping to show both simultaneously, is an important tool, allowing students to better understand the connections between the human world and the physical landscape. 

All in all, Digimap for School is a vital tool for geographical study, we use all three mapping tools OS mapping, Historical Mapping and Aerial Mapping, with all ages from 11 to 17 year olds and they find using the service intuitive. In addition, this year will have our first batch of 6th Form students using the tool, in combination with a variety of other services, to aid and resource their independent investigations.”

Kimberly Briscoe
GIS Teaching Support Coordinator
Abingdon School

 

 

 Posted by at 2:59 pm

Aerial Imagery Update for Digimap for Schools

 digimap for schools  Comments Off on Aerial Imagery Update for Digimap for Schools
Jun 232017
 

We have recently updated our aerial imagery in the Digimap for Schools service.  This has been quite a major event in our calendar with a huge amount of data being updated.  The update consisted of approximately 80,000 individual 1km tiles, all of which were captured in 2015, which is approximately 30% of the country.

Prior to this update just over 50% of the data was from 2013 or later, this now has increased to 77% of the data now being from 2013 or later.

This means that more up to date imagery is now available in Digimap for Schools for a significant part of the country.  The map below shows the approximate distribution of the updated data.  http://digimap.blogs.edina.ac.uk/files/2017/03/2015_aerial_update.png

2015_aerial_update

Click on the map to view a larger version

This is the first update we have received from Getmapping, and we are expecting another update later this year containing data captured in 2016.  This data will obviously be introduced as quickly as possible into the service, ensuring that the most up to date data is always available to Digimap for Schools users.

We’ve included a couple of nice images we happened to stumble upon whilst playing around with the new aerial imagery.  The first is an image of a Cruise liner in the Firth of Forth.  This is particularly nice as it illustrates the quality of the imagery where you can literally measure the basketball court.  

cruiseliner

Cruise Liner on the Firth of Forth

We also found another fantastic example, one which surprised the entire Digimap for Schools team as it has been built with such precision it looks somewhat other worldy…

Solar FarmCanworthy Solar Farm: Canworthy Solar Farm, which became operational in 2014 and covers approximately 55 hectares (~67 football fields)

NOTE: If you want to find it yourself, search for Canworthy in Digimap for Schools,  then use buffer tool to measure 1 mile from the T-junction at Canworthy Water, slide to Aerial or AerialX and you’ll see it to the NE of Canworthy Water just beyond the buffer circle.

Please feel free to have a good dig around as there are undoubtedly plenty of other hidden gems out there.  Do let us know if you do find anything of interest, we like to let our users know about these little gems.

 

 Posted by at 4:42 pm

New Updated User Guide.

 digimap for schools  Comments Off on New Updated User Guide.
Jun 232017
 

Darren Bailey from the Ordnance Survey recently contacted us with an updated Digimap for Schools User Guide (thank you Darren!).  This User Guide is incredibly comprehensive and covers every element of the service.  This updated version does a fantastic job of instructing users on how to use some of our newly released features i.e. the Map Manager and Geograph functionality.

This User Guide is a fantastic resource and gives clear and simple instructions on how to use the full functionality of the service.  We recommend that all users refer to this document if they have any issues or problems when using the service.

 

To download this resource follow this link: http://digimapforschools.edina.ac.uk/schools/Resources/allstages/userguide.pdf

 

Screen Shot 2017-06-23 at 13.04.25

 

 

 Posted by at 12:32 pm

Digimapping your Daily Mile!

 digimap for schools, Maps  Comments Off on Digimapping your Daily Mile!
May 162017
 

We are delighted to present new Daily Mile learning resources that give you some great ideas for bringing your Daily Mile into the classroom. Many teachers want to bring The Daily Mile into the classroom – Digimap for Schools is the perfect classroom accompaniment to The Daily Mile – the drawing, measurement and annotation tools allow many numeracy, history, social studies and literacy based activities to develop from running The Daily Mile!

How can Digimap for Schools help?

Have a look at our Daily Mile resource section for ideas. A few suggestions to get started:

Measuring your Daily Mile!

Measuring your Daily Mile!

  • Plot your route and check the distance with the line drawing and measurement tool
  • Explore your area using a 1-mile buffer and adding compass points- where could children reach by running a mile in different directions? Extend this exercise by looking at aerial and historic maps of your area.
  • Choose a famous route, such as Hadrian’s Wall or the West Highland Way. Find out the distance and calculate how many Daily Miles it would take your class to complete the route!
  • Add Geograph photos to your maps to see what geographic features have been photographed in your area or find photos of famous landmarks.
  • Research and plot a route, with distance and stopping points, to show tourists around your town.

We hope you enjoy exploring the resources and bringing your Daily Mile into the classroom! Remember, we would love to see photos of the maps you create or of you out and about on your Daily Mile – tweet them to us @digimap4schools.

Ofsted 3&4 Ordnance Survey Training with Darren Bailey

 digimap for schools  Comments Off on Ofsted 3&4 Ordnance Survey Training with Darren Bailey
May 042017
 

Are you an Ofsted rated 3 or 4 schools in the Birmingham area?

Ordnance Survey will be running a Free training session, showing you how to make best use of the Digimap for Schools service.  This is taking place on Wednesday 24th May, starting at 2pm, at Birmingham City University North Campus (B42 2SU),   If you would like to come along or send a colleague, then email Darren Bailey to reserve a place – darren.bailey@os.uk

To find out more and register to attend, please email darren.bailey@os.uk

 Posted by at 9:17 am

Managing your saved maps

 digimap for schools, Maps  Comments Off on Managing your saved maps
May 022017
 

We have recently added the ability to create sub-folders within your Digimap for Schools account, to help you store and organise your saved maps. You could create folders for different classes, projects, dates, places or schemes such as Duke of Edinburgh.

To get started, click on the Map Manager icon on the toolbar:

Map Manager icon

Map Manager icon

 

 

 

 

You will need your PIN to continue. These have been emailed to the main Digimap for Schools contact at your school. Check with them for the number or contact us to request it.

The Map Manager area will open and you will see a list of saved maps. It’s a good idea to create folders first. Click Add Folder on the left and name your folder. When you next create and save a map, you can select any of your folders to save the map within.

You can make the list of saved maps more manageable by filtering. Just enter your term(s) in the four boxes at the top of the list and your list will reduce. In the image below, we have input 7 in the Class box and sam in the name box:

Filter saved maps

Filter saved maps

To move maps to any folder, just click a map and drag it to the folder of your choice. You can move multiple maps by checking the boxes to the right of the maps and dragging all of the selected maps to a folder.

We’ve made a short video on this feature, which you can find on YouTube:

 

We hope it will be a really useful tool for you. Let us know how you find it and if there is anything we can do to improve it.

Why Digimap for Schools matters – an endorsement

 digimap for schools  Comments Off on Why Digimap for Schools matters – an endorsement
Apr 262017
 

We recently received some fantastic feedback on Digimap for Schools from Dr Neil Clifton, a retired chemistry teacher/lecturer. When his grandson showed him our service, Neil was so impressed that he requested access so he could further explore the maps and tools available. A lifelong mapping and geography enthusiast, whose son studied geography, Neil enjoys contributing photos to the Geograph project.

We particularly like Neil’s point about the maps helping young people to develop a love for their environment and wanted to share his considered thoughts with you:

Every child/pupil/student in every school in Britain should have access to this brilliant facility which has been developed by a team at Edinburgh University in co-operation with Ordnance Survey.

For little more than the cost of a set of text-books, the project allows access to the whole range of Ordnance Survey mapping, right up to the largest scale of 1:1250, (on which even garages, sheds and tiny streams are depicted, and where appropriate, named).

The team has put much thought into the project, which has made it easy to use, and attractive in appearance, so that even young children will enjoy exploring and using it, for locations such as their immediate home surroundings, as well as for locations that they have visited, or hope to visit, in more distant parts of Britain.

A beginner, in perhaps year 1 or 2 in their junior school, might look at a map showing their own school.  And as the child develops and matures, they will trace their own house and the route they follow to get to school.  Then, finding perhaps the location of the local supermarket, where the railway station is situated and so on, their confidence as map-users will increase all the time.  The pond or stream where they go fishing will be found – and perhaps the map will enable the discovery of other possible fishing sites nearby.

The benefits to those students taking geography examinations can hardly be overstressed.  But there are so many other ways in which the use of these maps will help the young person to acquire a love of the environment and a care for its well-being.   It is here that our future botanists, naturalists, photographers, walkers, cyclists, and leaders of the next generation of young people are born.

If any teacher is still unconvinced of the real and lasting value of making this resource available in their schools, I would urge them to look at the (free) trial which shows just a small area of the country.

Dr Neil Clifton, April 2017

 

Geograph images now available!

 digimap for schools  Comments Off on Geograph images now available!
Apr 182017
 

Geograph

You can now view images from the Geograph project in Digimap for Schools. Geograph aims to collect images for every grid square in Great Britain. So far more than 5 million images have been contributed.

Just click the Geograph icon on the toolbar to start searching and viewing images. Our search facility offers suggestions as you type to aid your explorations. A short help video is available on  YouTube, to help you get started.

Dr Paula Owens has authored some fantastic new learning resources to accompany the new Geograph feature.  They have lots of ideas to inspire you to use the images. Landscape Alphabet has some fun ideas on using the images in Key Stage 1 to support language development.

Geograph images as viewed in Digimap for Schools

 

There are three resources aimed at Key Stage 2; A focus on rivers, Flooding and Other Hazards, and Photographic! There’s also a Getting Started resource with lots of suggestions for searching.  All resources include ideas for linking in literacy and numeracy.

We hope you will find Geograph a useful tool and enjoy viewing the wonderful images that are available. Do send us your feedback and any examples of fun images you find!

Upcoming webinars

 digimap for schools, Webinars  Comments Off on Upcoming webinars
Apr 122017
 

Hi folks, we have planned a series of webinars in May.

Webinars are free to attend. They are open to all schools subscribed to Digimap for Schools and anyone interested in learning more about the service. To join a webinar, you must register to book your place.

To see more details on the webinar content and register, click the link after the webinar of interest to you.

Hope to see you there!

 

If you have any questions about attending a webinar, or would like to suggest topics for future webinars, please comment below or get in touch with the Digimap for Schools Helpdesk – digimap.schools@ed.ac.uk