The Finger Lakes Institute Helps Area Teachers GIT Ahead – Hobart and William Smith Colleges \
The HWS Update

The Finger Lakes Institute Helps Area Teachers GIT Ahead

FLI Kicked off Its GIT Ahead Institute this week.

The cutting edge of geospatial technology is here at Hobart and William Smith. This week, experts from Hobart and William Smith, the Finger lakes Institute and Cornell University introduced area teachers to the latest in geospatial information technology (GIT). The Institute began the first session of its GIT Ahead program on Monday, June 25, in collaboration with the Conference on Remote Sensing Education (CORSE) program at Cayuga Community College in Auburn, NY.

During the first three days of this five-day session, GIT Ahead teachers explored a variety of geospatial technologies including GPS, ArcMap, and Google Earth to create, view, and analyze geospatial data. On Thursday and Friday, teachers came to the Finger Lakes Institute (FLI) here in Geneva where they took their skills to the next level by conducting a roadside ditch investigation in an area adjacent to Seneca Lake. In the HWS Multimedia Computer Lab, teachers used high-end software as they learned how to use maps and spatial data in the classroom.

“One of the great things we have to offer is that we are now showing area teachers how to use maps, not just create them emphasizes Jim MaKinster, assistant professor of education and GIT Ahead Director.

The GIT Ahead project separates itself from other geospatial education projects because it responds to the needs of its participating teachers. “One thing that is really unique about our program is that we recognize that use of GIS in the classroom is not one-size-fits-all, notes Karen Edelstein, GIT Ahead Project Manager. “A big component of what’s ahead for these teachers is for them to design lesson plans using GIS technology based on an environmental issue that is specific and local to their school. We work with individual teachers to meet their specific needs.

Now in its second year, the GIT Ahead project has four major goals: teacher professional development, providing student opportunities such as internships and job shadowing, creating software that helps teachers access data more easily, and developing curricula for and with teacher participants.

Using web-conferencing as a wrap-up to the program on Friday, the GIT Ahead participants and CORSE attendees presented summaries of the week’s work to each other, live over an Internet connection between Auburn and Geneva.

The GIT Ahead program is funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation.