The majority of our designed intervention requires students to use computers to solve problems. The primary technology we use is GIS, or Geographic Information System, utilizing a virtual globe to add an additional layer of context. We have selected to use QGIS--a free, open-source software--for the GIS component of our curriculum. QGIS is an advanced QGIS that is used in both academics and by professionals. QGIS has proven to be well supported, frequently updated, and useable on a wide variety of machines.
We utilize Google Earth, a virtual globe, to provide context. Users are able to export data from QGIS to Google Earth, making these programs a nice fit for our curriculum.
To interact with the QGIS Activity Files, QGIS will first need to be installed.
Mac vs. PC
QGIS is available for download on both Mac OS X and Windows. We will be implementing our curriculum in schools using both operating systems and creating materials that address the unique qualities of each system.
iPad and tablet technology
As iPads and other tablets become popular technology in many schools, it is essential to utilize that technology to its maximum benefit. A component of the curriculum will be websites designed for both teachers and students and optimized for use on iPad and other tablets. The teacher website will provide support, information about the curriculum, and useful tools for teaching. The student website will feature contextual information about the issues they will explore in each module. Used alongside a desktop computer or laptop, a tablet can be used to get more information about what the students see in GIS.