Geospatial Technology Summer Teacher Workshop #1 is a Big Success!

Geospatial Technology Summer Teacher Workshop #1 is a Big Success!

June 30, 2014

–Atlanta, GA

On Thursday June 26 and Friday June 27, The Georgia Geographic Alliance hosted 11 of Georgia’s finest teachers in a geospatial technology workshop held in CURVE at Georgia State University. Workshop participants engaged in a series of hands-on, active learning experiences with staff from the Georgia Geographic Alliance.


A selfie with GA teachers, REU students, Dr. Hawthorne, and students from Southwest Atlanta Christian Academy.  Taken during the mobile mapping data collection at Cascade Springs Nature Preserve.

Thursday began with a place-based learning session led by Dr. Christy Visaggi. In this session, participants worked on a place-based exercise focused on natural resources across Georgia. Participants were also introduced to resources available on the National Geographic website to aid in place-based approaches.


Dr. Visaggi leading a small group discussion about place-based learning


Participants viewing Dr. Visaggi’s presentation on place-based learning on CURVE’s interact-touch screen wall!

Participants then engaged in a working lunch discussion where they shared innovative geography lesson plans ranging from historical walking tours around a city to mental mapping exercises around a student’s home neighborhood.  After lunch, despite the rain dampening outdoor data collection plans, participants worked through a mobile mapping session led by Dr. Timothy Hawthorne. Here participants were introduced to the GGA’s soon to be launched “Sustain Our Schools” mobile mapping application and online platform through ArcGIS Online. Participants used the online mapping platform to map sustainable elements of the GSU campus as well as their home schools. Features such as recycling bins, gardens, alternative energy sources, and the like were mapped by participants.

Participants then worked with Dr. Jessie Hong of the University of West Georgia to learn more about ArcGIS Story Maps. In this session, participants worked in the GSU GIS lab to create basic story maps of features of interest to them and their students. The day ended with a stimulating brainstorming session co-led by Dr. Hawthorne and Dr. Visaggi about the power of mobile mapping technologies, and how GGA could assist teachers and students in using such technologies. A great list of potential mapping applications was developed by participants, which GGA staff will use to create new applications to roll out later this fall.

Friday was the grand finale of the workshop. Workshop participants travelled to Cascade Springs Nature Preserve in SW Atlanta to work with the West Atlanta Watershed Alliance, Dr. Hawthorne’s Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) students, and 10 youth from Southwest Atlanta Christian Academy to engage in collaborative community geography fieldwork and mobile mapping of the greenspace. Teams (equipped with iPads) walked the trails and identified problem locations (such as mud slides, lack of signage, needed infrastructure) and also mapped future possibilities for the space. The day ended with another free lunch in the nature preserve and a lively discussion about the day’s activities and the possibilities for continued collaboration.


Participants listening to the history of Cascade Springs from Darryl Haddock, Science Educator at the Outdoor Activity Center hosted by the West Atlanta Watershed Alliance.

Check out a quick video of teachers talking about the mobile mapping event:

We are grateful to all participants for their lively participation in this workshop. We are also incredibly grateful to the GSU Library for allowing us to use the innovative CURVE workspace at no cost to the Alliance!

We are looking forward to hosting additional workshops in the coming months. Please join us as we reach new heights with Georgia Geography!

Check our more pictures and short video clips from the event on our Facebook page at:

With my best,

Tim Hawthorne, GGA State Coordinator and Director of Research

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