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National Centre for Technology in Education – promoting Information and Communications Technology with Ordnance Survey Online Maps

From RTE Morning Ireland 4th September 2012

RTE Education correspondent - Emma O’Kelly. "The Department of Education have a service called the Professional Development Service for Teachers and there’s a woman working in there called Karen Whooley. She has designed an online resource for geography students in secondary school, it’s a geographic information system. It’s quite ingenious when you hear what she did. It’s modelled on the Department of Education’s own geographic information system, this is a system that they use for planning where schools should go and as Karen explains now, it was actually budget cutbacks which prompted her to come up with this idea."

Karen Whooley – "We really put our heads down, looked around and said, there must be something going on here that we can leverage and we found that within our own department the planning unit in the Department of Education uses this type of technology to plan where schools go and to develop new school buildings and so we talked to them and to other partners like Ordnance Survey Ireland and we talked to the Department of the Environment and all these parties came together and helped us make it happen. So there’s a real sense of co-operation among all those public sector parties. It’s highly visual, it’s highly engaging,  it allows teachers to use this as one tool in their tool kit that they bring."

RTE Education correspondent - Emma O’Kelly. "In St. Michaels, the Holy Faith out in Finglas I saw a teacher and students using it for the very first time and it went down very well with the students and just to give you an idea, Karen there mentioned Ordnance Survey maps. You have layer upon layer, underneath that layer you have historical maps, you have aerial photographs that students can literally by moving a cursor across these maps can click. You might say well, what’s wrong with Google maps, obviously the geography syllabus is very precise, you need proper maps and every single Ordnance Survey map of the country is available here. You have national monuments, again by clicking, you can see the flood plains. The CSO has offered data to do with the census, students can measure, and they can use these tools. The other important thing about this resource is it’s designed specifically for the Irish geography curriculum."

Listen to the Morning Ireland piece here.


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