Engaging with the Real World: Mobile Spatial Technologies for Addressing Childhood Obesity and Supporting Students with Learning Difficulties

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Spatial technologies, both computer based and mobile can be used in an educational context to assist in addressing current concerns with Australian youth, such as childhood obesity and assisting students with learning difficulties. Technology is often blamed for childhood obesity as it disengages young people with physical activity. It may now be that mobile technologies such as GPS can also assist in re-engaging students with outdoor activities without the physical competitiveness that hinders some young people’s involvement in physical activity. The virtual representation of real world locations through spatial technologies such as GIS are developing the understanding of abstract concepts in relevant contexts to assist with improving outcomes for students with learning difficulties and special needs. This interactive presentation, demonstration, workshop and field activity will focus on student case studies where spatial technologies, computer based and mobile, have addressed these current concerns in Australian youth. The engaging quality of these technologies, including Google Earth and NASA World Wind have contributed to improving these outcomes.


Keywords: Special Needs, Learning Difficulties, Equity, Childhood Obesity, Health, Spatial, ICT, Technology, Mobile, Student Engagement, Multiliteracies, Spatial Literacies, GIS, GPS
Stream: Curriculum and Pedagogy; Student Learning, Learner Experiences, Learner Diversity
Presentation Type: Workshop Presentation in English
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Meegan Maguire

Spatial Technologies in Schools Project Officer, Department of Education, Training and the Arts, ICT Learning Innovation Centre
Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

Meegan Maguire, Spatial Technologies in Schools (STiS) Project Officer, Department of Education, Training and the Arts and QLD Spatial Information Office (QSIO)
A teacher since 1996, Meegan has been implementing the use of spatial technologies in her classroom practices at Coolum SHS since 2000. In 2003, Meegan became the first ESRI Australia GIS in Schools Coordinator and accredited educator. Meegan is now coordinating the implementation of spatial technologies across QLD schools for the Department of Education, Training and the Arts at the ICT Learning Innovation Centre on the Sunshine Coast, and the Queensland Spatial Information Office in Brisbane. She established the QSIC Education Working Group (QEWG) and works with the SSI Spatial Education Advisory Committee Queensland (SEACQ) to align education pathways into the spatial industry. Meegan is also currently vice chair of the SSI Young Professionals Committee and was recipient of the 2007 Queensland Young Satial Professional of the Year Award. She has undertaken a number of environmental investigations with students to participate as active citizens within their community, working collaboratively with industry mentors.

Rebecca Nicholas

Vice President, Geography Teachers Association of Queensland, Australian Geography Teachers Association
Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

Since integrating spatial technologies into her teaching at Pimlico SHS, Rebecca moved to Toowoomba, teaching at Fairholme College, where she coordinated the TIGGIS network. She is currently teaching at Somerville House and is the coordinator of the B-GIS network. Rebecca was the recipient of the QLD Spatial Excellence Awards for Excellence in Spatial Education in 2006.

Ref: L08P0123