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A study of the role of GIS in constructing relational place knowledge through school geography education

Fargher, Mary Genevieve (2013) A study of the role of GIS in constructing relational place knowledge through school geography education. PhD thesis, UCL Institute of Education.

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Abstract

This thesis addresses a specific aspect of geography in school education, the role of geographic information systems (GIS) in supporting relational understanding of place. It does this by combining a literature-based conceptual analysis with schools-based empirical enquiry. The main research question that steers the thesis is: What role does GIS play in constructing relational knowledge about place through school geography education? The research offers new insights on the ways in which teachers can use GIS in geography education to construct relational knowledge about place. Following a discussion of place, relational knowledge and GIS in both academic and school geography, a methodology for the research is fully explained and justified. A qualitative enquiry approach is adopted via a multi-staged design consisting of case study and practitioner research. Analysis of interviews with teachers and pupils, lesson observations and document analyses yields ‘thick description’ of constructing place knowledge through GIS. A synthesis of the conceptual and empirical analyses provides the basis for a discussion of findings. Findings identify GIS as a powerful medium for relational spatial analysis in school geography but also reveal its limitations on relational constructions and interpretations of place. A model of geographical knowledge construction in GIS is presented as a device for developing teachers’ critical engagement with GIS in school geography. The thesis concludes with a critical evaluation and recommendations for future study.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Subjects: Departments > Curriculum, Pedagogy and Assessment
Depositing User: Mr Julian Zerfahs
Date Deposited: 02 May 2015 08:47
Last Modified: 02 May 2015 10:17
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