A joint effort between the Department of Urban and Regional Planning at the University of Florida and the Martin and Mirash Ivanaj foundation, lead to the development of a prototype course that uses Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to teach middle school children about environmental and sustainability subjects. The course was taught on site, in June of 2012, to students of the public middle school “Dëshmorët e Lirisë” in Tirana.
Supporters included (among others) the Albanian Ministry of Science and Education, the National Albanian American Council, the Regional Environmental Center for Central and Eastern Europe, an Albanian MP, the Ambassador of the United States in Albania (ret), and the GISCorps, that provides volunteer GIS services to communities worldwide. Dr. Jenny Rechel, from the USDA, joined the UF team in Tirana as a GISCorps volunteer.
We employed resources developed by ESRI’s education team, by My Community, Our Earth, the Green Mapping System, the Mediterranean Association for the Protection of the Sea Turtles (MEDASSET), and the geo-media in K-12 education at the “digital-earth.eu.”
Reception of this project from the professional community:
- Presentation at the annual conference of the Georgia Planning Association, Athens, Georgia (9.25.2012).
- Presentation at the GIS Day 2012 event, University of Florida (11.16.2012)
- Presentation at the Green Mapping System to several Albanian Mayors hosted by the US State Department, New York City, New York (2.16.2013).
- Presentation at the 7th International Technology, Education and Development Conference, Valencia, Spain (3.4.2013).
- Presentation to the Advisory Council of the Department of Urban and Regional Planning, University of Florida (3.25.2013).
- Lightning talk at the 2013 ESRI’s Education GIS Conference, San Diego, California (7.6.2013).
- Chapter 7, in the book published by Cambridge Scholars “Innovative Learning Geography in Europe: new challenges for the 21st Century”.