Spatial Connect is a project established through collaboration between CeRDI and the Geography Teachers Association of Victoria Inc. (GTAV).
Spatial Connect involves the development of curriculum resources through the application and use of spatial technology for the geography and science curriculum for primary and secondary school students. Through this project, curriculum and resources are linked to their real-world application in agriculture, environment, geology and hydrogeology, urban planning and natural disaster planning and recovery. Real-world knowledge resources will also enable students to develop an understanding of industry, social, community and environmental issues.
Spatial Connect knowledge partners include the Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC), Landcare networks, environmental scientists, hydrogeologists, water authorities, Waterwatch, EstuaryWatch, local government, natural disaster planning and recovery initiatives in areas including fires, landslides, floods and climate change, State Wide Integrated Flora and Fauna Teams (SWIFT) and Visualising Victoria’s Biodiversity (VVB).
A major benefit of this project is that all students will be able to receive the same educational opportunities through online learning. Until now, some students have been disadvantaged in pursuing opportunities outside of the classroom setting. Spatial Connect addresses these issues and offers opportunities for disadvantaged students such as those in more remote locations.
CeRDI’s Angela Murphy is working with researcher Pat Bonney to implement the key research activities associated with Spatial Connect. Together with staff at GTAV, they have achieved the project objectives associated with phase one, which included developing the curriculum resources to enhance science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) using spatial technologies, and facilitating access to web-based knowledge repositories.
Marketing Spatial Connect to all schools is now in progress under the co-ordination of GTAV, who presented in late August at the 2017 GTAV Teachers’ Conference. GTAV affiliates – Australian Geography Teachers’ Association (AGTA) and Australian Federation of Societies for Studies of Society and the Environment (AFSSSE) – are also promoting Spatial Connect Australia-wide. FedUni will also promote the adoption of Spatial Connect in the tertiary sector via pre-service teachers in the Faculty of Education and Arts.
With phase one nearing completion, funding is being sought to meet the longer-term objectives of this project and to encourage and empower students to embrace STEM through a better understanding between school, work and industry, applied to knowledge building and problem solving. Ensuring the sustainability of the project in the longer term and at the national level and across the national curriculum is now essential.