Spatial Connect is a project undertaken by Federation University Australia’s Centre for eResearch and Digital Innovation (CeRDI) in partnership with the Geography Teachers Association of Victoria Inc. (GTAV).
Spatial Connect involves the development of curriculum resources to embed the application of spatial technology across the primary and secondary geography and science curriculum. Curriculum resources will be linked to real-world knowledge sources across agriculture, environment, geology and hydrogeology, urban planning and natural disaster planning and recovery.
The online elements will enable specific targeting to maximise educational opportunities for those who currently have limited potential for online access as it has not previously been an embedded part of the curriculum. These students have been found to be at a disadvantage in pursuing opportunities outside of the classroom setting, often as a result of socio-economic constraints which limit their capacity to access technology. It will also increase educational opportunities for those in rural and regional locations, particularly given the increased broadband access via the National Broadband Network.
The project will build skills in the application of spatial technology, mapping and the use of big data within the context of contemporary issues. The use of comprehensive, up-to-date, real-world knowledge resources will enable students to build their understanding of industry, social, community and environmental issues. Crowdsourcing and citizen science capabilities will ensure the bridging of the theory-practice link. The Spatial Connect project focuses on the geography and science curriculums thereby capturing a strong science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) focus.
Access to sophisticated digital technologies (applying visualisation, data federation and interoperability) will allow students to gain new knowledge and skills through the use of real-world applications developed in collaboration with the scientific community, industry and government. Spatial Connect knowledge partners will include Grains Research and Development Corporation, Landcare networks, environmental scientists, hydrogeologists, water authorities, Waterwatch, EstuaryWatch, local government, natural disaster planning and recovery initiatives in areas including fires, landslides, floods and climate change, State Wide Integrated Flora and Fauna Teams and Visualising Victoria’s Biodiversity.