Using GIS to Enhance the Social Studies Classroom


Building off of the popularity of the first online course titled Putting Social Studies in its Place, a second edition has been created to specifically serve educators in Virginia.  This 5-week online course was designed and delivered by three practicing social studies teachers well-versed in classroom application of geospatial technologies and geo-literacy.   The course consists of video tutorials, hands-on activities, discussion threads, practical and authentic assignments, and a flexible library of current and future lesson plans and activities that utilize geospatial technologies to enhance the classroom. At the heart of the course is the idea that in order to understand geography you have to do geography!

To enhance the geographic literacy of students at the classroom, district, and statewide levels, this project will:

  1. Leverage the activities and resources from previous Virginia Geographic Alliance projects develop an online course that trains teachers to use GIS and shares exemplar classroom-ready geospatial activities for the Social Studies classroom.
  2. Implement this 5-week course to 60 participants from Virginia  during the summer of 2016.
  3. Create a resource site (via VGA website) from the course materials to allow any teacher access to many of the activities and “how-to” media to help facilitate the use of GIS in the social studies classroom.
  4. Offer this course in subsequent years; incorporate components of the course in future VGA workshops and division-level professional development.

PARTNERS: Virginia Geographic Alliance and Charlottesville City Schools (VA)

FUNDING & SUPPORT: Virginia Geographic Alliance

Team Biosketches