Cultivating pedagogy for a rapidly changing GIS landscape

Jim Thatcher & Britta Ricker
University of Washington - Tacoma



Nathaniel V. KELSO

October 15, 2015


  1. EVOLVING TECHNOLOGY, SHIFTING EXPECTATIONS Cultivating pedagogy for a rapidly changing

    GIS landscape Jim Thatcher & Britta Ricker University of Washington - Tacoma
  2. Talk Outline •  The circumstances •  Master’s in Geospatial Technologies;

    CyberGIS Fellowship •  The problem •  What GIS education has been •  What it’s becoming •  Our solution (one amongst many) •  A CyberGIS informed pedagogical framework
  3. UWT Master’s of Science • Geospatial Technologies •  Not GIS • 

    A wider purview, but also a less defined • Specifically South Sound Serving •  Urban Serving
  4. What the heck is CyberGIS? •  CyberGIS is the application

    of GIS to CyberInfrastructure •  Cyberinfrastructure: •  Computational power •  Data storage and repositories •  Instruments and tools of analysis •  CyberGIS integrates: •  Spatial analysis and modelling •  GISystems •  GIScientific approaches •  CyberInfrastructure (Wang & Armstrong, 2009; Wang et al., 2013)
  5. CYBER CYBER CYBER CYBER! •  CyberGIS is the CyberApplication of

    CyberGIS to CyberInfrastructure •  Cyberinfrastructure: •  CyberComputational Cyberpower •  CyberData storage and Cyberrepositories •  CyberInstruments and tools of CyberAnalysis •  CyberGIS integrates: •  CyberSpatial analysis and CyberModelling •  CyberGISystems •  GIScientific CyberApproaches •  CyberInfrastructure Words matter Skilled in steering or governing
  6. GIS Education

  7. GIS Education • GIS is something one does • A purported gateway

    to a secure, middle- income lifestyle • Learn GIS, work for the city, become an analyst, etc.
  8. GIS Education – what it’s becoming…

  9. GIS Education – what it’s becoming… •  Technologies constantly evolving

    •  Job space changing •  Constant pressure on teaching tools vs. concepts •  What concepts for what tools? •  What tools for what concepts? •  Teaching GISystems vs. teaching about GIScience
  10. GIS Education – at UWT •  These changes play out

    unevenly across space •  Opportunities available in some areas, not the case in others •  Constant tension between: Where the job market will be in 5 to 10 years vs. The need for a job now •  “Open-source is great and all, but I need to know ArcServer.”
  11. GIS Education – at UWT From this: And this:

  12. GIS Education – at UWT To this: A cyclical, Interdependent

    Relationship Local/ Topic Expert Front End Back End Data Analyst
  13. The Merry-go-round of GIS •  Constructivist approach to pedagogy • 

    Built on existing (GIS) skills •  Attentive to existing (spatial) interests •  Highly interactive •  Able to ‘jump on’ at any point •  Build from existing technologies •  To emergent ones •  Through core concepts
  14. The Merry-go-round of GIS •  Reflective of student goals: • 

    Position inside the academy = concepts and research •  Position in traditional GIS = traditional tools •  Position in wider geospatial industry = open-source, open-data •  CyberGIS framework helps bridge these divides
  15. Our Curriculum by numbers… • GIS Concepts •  Formal training required

    for every student • Tool training •  Formal training varies by student goals •  Informal training occurs through professional development, etc.
  16. Our Curriculum by numbers… • One year, cohort based • 13% core

    concepts • 13% desktop skills •  80% ESRI tools •  20% Open-Source • 60% CyberGIS/Web •  60% ESRI tools •  40% Open-Source • 14% Research project
  17. Research focus on student goals

  18. So… what does it all mean? •  GIS is changing,

    but you already knew that. •  GIS education must change as well, but you knew that too. •  Different students will have different goals and different opportunities •  The uneven development of spatial data and spatial analysis matters •  A precarious balance amongst GIScience, GIS as job, and what spatial jobs will and are becoming •  CyberGIS can help •  On the one hand, CYBER! as questionable framing •  On the other, focus on high-end, distributing computing recognized by national agencies •  Constructivist pedagogy and the Merry-Go-Round of GIS