02 Sep 2012 to 02 Sep 2012
The overall concept of “digital earth” is generally understood as being inclusive, reaching out to citizens, facilitating participation, and providing interfaces between the real world, its virtual representations, and people. Usually maps and imagery are used as interface frameworks, ranging in scale from virtual globes to local neighbourhood maps. Spatial ‘awareness’ and ‘literacy’ summarize the competences needed to navigate and leverage these geospatial interfaces.
It is widely accepted that childhood acquisition of geospatial digital navigation skills provides the foundation for interacting with digital models of our world. A national center for geospatial pedagogy (digital:earth.at) as well as the European network digital-earth.eu and its centres of excellence focus on the development of media competence with digital geospatial interfaces increasingly defining many facets of our daily lives.
General aims are identified around the concept of ‘Spatial Citizenship’, expecting citizens to be digitally and specifically geospatially literate in order to participate in community processes, contribute to informed decisions, and to manage their own lives, community contributions and business activities in a fully spatially aware manner. With the ubiquitous availability of geospatial interfaces on all personal devices, pervasive technologies are easily accessible, making skills the bottleneck towards taking better informed actions and responsibility in society.
These qualification objectives are being addressed through the development of teaching and learning media, didactic pathways and motivational approaches to skills development, and supported through continuing teacher education initiatives. Having originally started from desktop devices, the building of geospatial media competences now focus on personal mobile devices (i.e. smartphones), tablets and surface tables as collaborative platforms, and augmented reality and kinetic interfaces for simultaneous navigation of real and virtual worlds.
Based on a strong background of experience in graduate and undergraduate curriculum development for academic and professional qualification pathways, the digital:earth initiative addresses the citizenship at large through school-age awareness and literacy building elements. With many elements still being experimental and exploratory in nature, partly based on rather speculative assumptions and not yet empirically validated learning strategies, the author suggests elements of an ambitious research agenda.
The presentation will demonstrate an inventory of geospatial media competence building blocks, illustrate alternative learning strategies, and discuss various approaches based on a range of current user interface paradigms. digital:earth aims at enhancing access, building understanding, and fostering responsibility for our real world by leveraging the power of virtual models and interactive visuals.
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