GIS Community Development Through Community Cooperation:
Collier County 4-H, Collier County School Board & GISCorps
By Darryl Clare, PhD, GISCorps Volunteer & Anna Galdames, Collier County 4-H
The Collier County GIS Community Development Project will provide the children, youth, and adults of Collier County, Florida, with access to computers, access to the Internet, and assistance with geographic information technology. Funded by an ESRI grant, the Collier County 4-H GIS Community Development Project’s main goal is to help Collier County teachers to learn Geographic Information Technology skills so that they may teach their students to use the technology and better understand local and international geography.
|Figure 1: Anna Galdames|
Collier County GIS Community Development Project
The Collier County GIS Community Development Project is a collaborative project of 4-H of Collier County University of Florida IFAS Extension Services, Collier County School Board, the City of Naples City Council. The project was first implemented at the Collier County School Board Administration training center and was opened on a Saturday November 11, 2007 specifically for this training. There are twenty up-to-date computers, all of which are connected to the Internet. Teachers volunteered from Collier County to participate in this effort. These volunteers, along with a University of Florida 4-H Extension Agent (Anna Galdames), and a GISCorps volunteer (Darryl Clare) provided training and guidance to workshop participants.
|Figure 2: Darryl Clare|
Measuring Changes in GIS Computer Skills
The Collier County GIS Community Development Project helps Collier County teachers learn computer skills through hands-on use, informal tutoring from volunteer technical staff, interaction with other computer users, and an introduction to database management. This portion measures the impact of the Collier County GIS Community Development Project on participants’ computer skills.
To measure changes in their skills, participants were asked to demonstrate their abilities to do tasks in four common areas:
– General operation of the computer,
– Operate ArcView,
– Create a GIS Project, and
– Save and Electronic mail the results.
The process started with very basic tasks, such as turning on the computer and opening a file, and progressed to more difficult tasks, such as advanced map document formatting and navigating to folders. The teachers will create a map project a trained evaluator review the map product with the participant, asking the participant to create a solution to a problem. Each teacher participant will then present their results to their students and to the community during their GIS Day Festivities. Participants’ computer skills will be measured over a six-month period to see if there were any changes. The first trial will be given around November 24, 2007, and the second test was in June 2007.
|Figure 3: Teacher Volunteers|
Community Computing Can Make a Difference
The project will show, in our estimation, that community GIS computing can have a positive impact on participants’ computer, IT and Geography skills. Even without formal on-site training programs, the Collier County GIS Community Development Project will appear to be helping community members of all ages improve their computer and GIS skills. The Collier County GIS Community Development Project will make a difference in the lives of the children, youth, and adults of Collier County, Florida, and facilitate narrowing the digital divide for residents of this growing city. The Collier County GIS Community Development Project can serve as a successful model for other programs to develop GIS technology skills through community cooperation.
|Figure 4: Teacher Volunteers|
To see other K-12 projects, click HERE.