Richard Mrazek (November, 2004)
In November of 2004, we made application to the CTITL committee for $3500 to provide the Faculty of Education with Software and hardware to continue to offer the ED 4210 GIS course and provide extension opportunities for participants in their own classrooms. For the previous 3 years, all equipment and software used for this course and related activities had been from the Geography Department. The demands for use of GPS units through the year by students and teachers was beyond what the department could lend due to their own course offerings. The GIS program – ArcView – that geography uses is DOS based. We needed to purchase a MAC version for us to work with teachers and students that are in a MAC environment. We also needed to purchase starting Databases that could be used with that system.
There was considerable delay of over a year in trying to come up with a Mac version of ArcView. In the meantime, we successfully offered 2 more full sections of the Ed 4210 GIS course in the summer of 2005. Many teachers (graduate students) and undergraduate students eagerly looked forward to sharing what they learned about GIS with their students in the fall. We were very fortunate to have been able to use the Geography department equipment during those sessions. In 2006, we finally solved the ArcView application problem with a solution through the Geography department that allowed us access without additional cost. When we went to allocate the funding to additional GPS units and databases, we found that since the funds were not spent within a 1 year period, they were no longer available. The only item purchased following approval of the project was 1 GPS unit to see if this was the model that would serve us best. This unit will be used in the Ed 3601 Science major methods classes and Ed3700 Science minor methods classes for demonstration purposes.
As predicted, with the increased demands on the University of Lethbridge Geography department human and physical GIS resources, we were unable to offer the Education 4210: Curriculum Development Seminar “Geographical Information Science in Urban and Natural Environments” course in 2006. It appears GIS will not be one of tools used in the near future by many education students to teach their science and social studies classes.