Our Education team have been running a series of twilight workshops for teachers aimed at showing them how to make the best use of Ordnance Survey’s mapping in the classroom. The most recent sessions have been for teachers in Southampton and Hampshire, but there are plans to take them out across the country if there is enough demand.
With the fourth workshop recently completed, we thought you might like to find out about how geography is taught in schools these days as it’s changed quite a bit from my schooldays when we all pored over (and fought over) a large paper map. A very precious and much revered Ordnance Survey map at 1:25 000 scale showing contours and footpaths was shared amongst a gaggle of teenagers trying hard to identify the map symbols and work out why things were where they were.
Ordnance Survey maps have always been an important part of the geography teacher’s toolkit, but the move to digital mapping data makes it more accessible across the school and brings relevance to other curriculum areas without relying on shelves stacked full of out-of-date paper maps.
Digital Ordnance Survey maps arrived in schools across the country thanks to the Ordnance Survey and Edina’s Digimap for Schools. The service replaced, and grew from the success of, the “Free maps for 11 year olds” scheme which distributed around six million OS Explorer Maps during its lifetime.
Digimap for Schools brings a range of scales of mapping into the classroom. It allows grid references, areas and distance to be easily calculated and for school children to highlight and annotate maps with their own references and comments.
We’ve lists some examples of the way in which Digimap for Schools is currently being used in schools. If you are a teacher and have some other ideas, we’d love to hear them.
- Year 6 pupils are using mapping to investigate cliff top land uses under the threat of coastal erosion.
- Pupils printed off maps of Stonhenge and came up with ideas for improving visitor access and facilities.
- Year 7 pupils used mapping to help look at how they could improve a local footpath – recording urban blight (graffiti, litter etc) and then presented them to the local council.
- Travel and Tourism students used maps to plan and record guided walks and tours of their local area.
- Pupils use mapping to investigate the location of wind farms and why flooding happened in specific locations.