I came across the article ‘Workshop on GIS Tool Kit for Schools‘ this past week. Institutions in Thailand are working toward including GIS into school curriculums. Such events are not new and many GIS manufacturers have been working diligently on providing these kinds of awareness sessions for a long time. However, it caused me to wonder, do we have similar workshops on GNSS, CAD design, survey technologies for sustainability in schools?
It seems that we spend an inordinate amount of time developing high technologies and training professionals to use them – often along the lines of pushing the right buttons. And while that is beneficial and important, I wonder how the surveying communities fare when it comes to generating new ideas, integrated approaches and leadership thinking in the management and measurement of resources and the land base in young minds?
Sure we can point to urban planning courses, civil engineering, ecology and the like for adults, but most of these courses extend from undergraduate programs and advanced education institutes.
By comparison, through GIS manufacturers endeavors, many school kids now understand what a map is and some have gained actually experience in touching and working with GIS tools and technologies. That in turn has caused their minds to ask questions, generate new ideas and to become engaged in their communities in innovative ways.
I am struck by the fact that a similar engagement for GNSS, remote sensing and other geospatial pursuits has not transcended those boundaries between big people – and little people.
The question we need to ask, I think, is “how do we engage non-professionals at younger levels to become engaged not only with what these tools are, but why and how they contribute to society?” This assumes of course that we understand them not only as technologies, but as transformative forces.
How do we light the spark that causes younger school people to engage and link their thoughts together with high-end tools (that are actually in use in the environments) – but for which they are disconnected from?
It is more than the map, it is about integration and expanding the boundaries about how to look at the world and gather the right information. It seems that without understanding this link, how can one feel empowered to begin changing anything?