ERIC Number: EJ1061786
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2015
ISSN: ISSN-1933 8341
An Assessment of GIS Use for Teaching in Rwandan Secondary Schools
Akinyemi, Felicia O.
Geography Teacher, v12 n1 p27-40 2015
Technology has transformed how teachers and students search, access, use, analyze, and present information in and outside the classroom. Among the numerous technologies creating opportunities and changes in education is Geographic Information Systems (GIS; Kerski et al. 2013). Over the years, GIS in secondary school programs has been introduced mostly in developed countries. The introduction of GIS in secondary schools is recent in Rwanda (Forster et al. 2012; Akinyemi 2014) as in most other African countries such as South Africa (Eksteen et al. 2012) and Uganda (Ayorekire and Twinomuhangi 2012). Although GIS has great potential for the teaching and learning of Arts (Humanities), Science, and Social Science subjects at the secondary school level, the use of GIS is not as widespread as would be expected (Kerski et al. 2013). Studies have reported different context specific challenges which prevent the effective use of GIS in schools (Kim et al. 2011; Eksteen et al. 2012; Ayorekire and Twinomuhangi 2012; Kerski et al. 2013). Some challenges are inadequacy of teacher education on technology use, lack of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) equipment in schools, unavailability of user-friendly software and the cost of software which is often beyond the means of most schools (Bednarz and van der Schee 2006; Walden University 2010). Studies have shown that inadequate GIS knowledge and skills among teachers, time constraints, and not understanding how GIS can be used effectively in the classroom are some of the major impediments to its use in schools (Kinniburgh 2008; Höhnle et al. 2011; Kerski et al. 2013). Focusing on Rwandan secondary schools, this study examines constraints in the implementation of GIS. In Rwanda, GIS is integrated in the national ICT curriculum for the lower secondary level, that is, S1-S3 (equivalent to Grades 7-9). There are plans to also integrate GIS in the upper secondary school (S4-S6 equivalent to Grades 10-12) ICT curriculum in the future (Forster et al. 2012). GIS is not a stand-alone subject in this context but it is integrated within ICT which is a cross-cutting subject that is offered to all students. The Rwandan case shows that the choice of teaching with GIS or teaching about GIS is mainly determined by how GIS is positioned in schools' curriculum. This study examines the extent of GIS utilization in teaching six years after GIS was introduced in secondary schools in Rwanda. Teachers' use of GIS and the challenges they face in teaching with GIS in schools are identified. As Rwanda exemplifies a developing country context, recommendations made for the effective implementation of GIS for teaching and learning in schools will be applicable to other countries with similar circumstances as these challenges are not unique.
Descriptors: Foreign Countries, Geography Instruction, Geographic Information Systems, Educational Technology, Teaching Methods, Secondary Education, Technological Literacy, Teacher Competencies, Access to Computers, Barriers, Technology Integration, Developing Nations, Teacher Education, Questionnaires, Knowledge Base for Teaching, Teacher Surveys
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Secondary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Rwanda