Date of Award

8-1997

Degree Name

Master of Arts

Department

Geography

First Advisor

Dr. J. P. Stoltman

Second Advisor

Dr. J. Fischer

Third Advisor

Dr. I. Zaslavsky

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Open Access

Abstract

This research focused on three aspects of the integration of GIS into the high school curriculum. Firstly, the investigation strove to demonstrate how GIS could enrich the high school geography curriculum in Michigan. Secondly, GIS software programs were evaluated for suitability using three techniques, and thirdly, the study area high schools were assessed for their technological capabilities relative to GIS.

The pedagogical and cognitive benefits of using GIS as a tool were established _ from the pertinent literature and the feasibility of incorporating GIS into the curriculum was examined with the reference to the Michigan geography content standards and benchmarks. Four GIS software programs, chosen on the basis of selected criteria, were systematically analyzed for ease-of-use. This was followed by a nine criteria evaluation conducted by high school students. The technological status of high schools within the study area, established through questionnaires, was related to environmental and enrollment data and to the hardware requirements of the selected GIS programs.

Generic GIS projects were successful aligned within the context of the Michigan curriculum framework. The evaluations revealed that of the selected GIS programs, Map Factory was easiest to use. However, the students favored ArcView and Mapinfo. There was some evidence that age and gender influenced student preferences. The study area high schools were on the whole technically ill-equipped to implement GIS and many did not provided computer access to social studies classes.

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