Utilization of geographic information systems technology in middle and high schools in the State of Maryland


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Towson University. Department of Geography and Environmental Planning


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Over the past decade there has been a growing interest in the use of geographic information systems (GIS) technology for kindergarten through 12th grade education. This study examines if and how Maryland teachers are utilizing GIS in the classroom. In addition, the study considers the perceived instructional benefits of this technology, as well as the factors constraining or preventing wider adoption of GIS in Maryland's schools. A self-administered, cross-sectional Internet questionnaire was sent to science and social studies teachers in the State of Maryland who teach grades 6-12. Of all respondents, 86.8% are not currently using GIS in their classroom. The survey results confirmed that: 1) Teachers lack training and do not possess educational background in geography and GIS; and 2) The lack of easy-to-use software, digital geospatial data, teacher training, and educational pedagogy, particularly lessons key to state standards, prevent teachers from utilizing GIS as an educational tool.