Accomplishments

MapTEACH has developed a solid, made-for-Alaska curriculum that enables teachers and students to use Google Earth and GIS (Geographic Information System) software and data to better understand and represent their local community. This has been accomplished by adopting free, entry-level GIS software, creating a large set of Alaska-specific data, crafting, piloting and revising clear and easy-to-follow lessons and making all of these resources available for free download from this website. Activities have included providing professional development opportunities and support to over 60 teachers from 20 Alaskan school districts and pilot testing of the curriculum in teacher training via courses, workshops, videoconferences, classroom visits and a community-based field capstone. In all of these efforts, students and teachers have been very enthusiastic about this project, increased their understanding of landscape concepts, related those concepts to their local environments, communities and cultural heritage and gained the skills necessary to complete complex information technology tasks. Moreover, they have been consistently inspired by working in a field setting with local experts and scientists, collecting their own data and making their own maps using. Teachers in both rural and urban Alaska recognize that this work not only increases student understanding of landscape concepts, but that it helps to prepare students for future academic success and learning in diverse ways. They also recognize that development of geospatial technology skills might lead to career options using technology in ways that are important to a student’s home community (landscape monitoring, community planning, and traditional and subsistence use documentation to name just a few.)