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  • Northside West

Finglas students have it all mapped out

Thursday, 8th November, 2018 1:00pm
Finglas students have it all mapped out

Pictured announcing Esri Ireland’s ArcGIS for Schools programme are (l-r): Joanne McLaughlin, ArcGIS for Schools Sponsor, Esri Ireland; St Kevin’s College students, Casey Farren Colloty and Nathan Furlong; Aideen Croasdell, ArcGIS for Schools Programme Team, Esri Ireland; and Andrew Horan, geography

Finglas students have it all mapped out

Pictured announcing Esri Ireland’s ArcGIS for Schools programme are (l-r): Joanne McLaughlin, ArcGIS for Schools Sponsor, Esri Ireland; St Kevin’s College students, Casey Farren Colloty and Nathan Furlong; Aideen Croasdell, ArcGIS for Schools Programme Team, Esri Ireland; and Andrew Horan, geography

A FINGLAS school has taken part in a pilot testing of new digital mapping software that’s now being made available to every primary and secondary school in the country.

St Kevin’s College was one of 12 schools chosen to pilot the ArcGIS software from Esri Ireland, a market leader in Geographic Information Systems (GIS).

Last week the company officially announced the launch of ArcGIS, making €500 million worth of digital mapping software available to up to 231,000 students in 670 schools across Dublin.

The schools will have free access to Esri’s digital mapping platform ‘ArcGIS Online’, which allows students to collect, analyse and visualise data on a wide range of topics.

Andrew Horan, geography teacher at St Kevin’s, sees great potential in the new software.

“The functionality and applicability of the ArcGIS application to so many different subjects means it has huge potential as a teaching tool,” he said.

“The support and resources provided by Esri Ireland have made it easy to implement, but most importantly, my students are really engaged with the technology.

“It’s simple to use and allows them to study topics in new ways, enhancing both teaching and learning in my classes.”

As well as teaching the skills and techniques required for working with GIS, the application enables new ways to study climate change, design cities and towns, explore demographics, understand history, predict future scenarios, and perform many other cross-disciplinary activities.

The cloud-based application is accessible through any device connected to the internet including school computers, tablets and students’ smartphones, allowing pupils to collect their own data in the field in their spare time.

Interactive project-based experience with Geographic Information Systems (GIS) supports STEM learning for students, and ties in well with the recent announcement of computer science as a Leaving Certificate subject.

The initiative has been rolled out by Esri in other countries across the world, including the UK, Canada, the US, the Netherlands, Germany, Spain, Portugal, Australia, and New Zealand.

Students are applying the technology in a wide variety of ways and creating impactful GIS projects.

For example, an Australian school recently mapped and developed solutions to alleviate local school traffic congestion, while students in Virginia have been using the technology to analyse police and fire coverage in four major US cities.

Esri Ireland will provide a fully supported ecosystem consisting of hosted and managed infrastructure and continually updated local and global mapping data and content.

Lesson plans aligned to primary and post-primary teaching and a GeoMentor programme, designed to connect mapping experts with local teachers, will also be provided.

The programme fits well with the Department of Education and Skills’ ambition to bring the Irish education system further along the path to being the best in Europe at embedding digital technology in teaching, learning and assessment by 2026, as laid down in the 2018 Digital Strategy Action Plan.

“The Esri Ireland team is delighted to launch the ArcGIS for Schools programme here in Ireland,” said Joanne McLaughlin, ArcGIS for Schools Sponsor, Esri Ireland.

“Through our work with the pilot schools we’re really encouraged by the reaction of both teachers and their students.

“Key to the successful adoption of the programme is the provision of support for teachers through workshops, lesson plans aligned to the curriculum, and a huge variety of online training resources.

“We believe this initiative can help address the evident STEM skills shortage in this country, by developing key spatial analysis, and critical thinking skills at a grassroots level.”

Read the digital editions of the Dublin People Northside East, Northside West & Southside here