Using GIS to Teach Placed-Based Mathematics in Rural Classrooms

Jacqueline Leonard, Nicole M. Russell, Robert M. Hobbs, Heather Buchanan


The purpose of this article is to promote the use of GIS and place-based education (PBE) in rural mathematics classrooms. The pedagogy of place is disappearing from rural communities because of declining enrollments, lack of support, and federal mandates to focus more on basic academic skills. However, PBE does not stand in opposition to standards-based instruction and academic achievement; rather, it enhances instructional strategies for getting at these aims. We present examples of place that can be used to engage rural students in meaningful mathematics activities to improve their content knowledge and problem-solving ability. Barriers exist to full implementation of this work. Yet, we offer a vision of what is possible through the use of technological tools like GIS for teachers who teach in rural communities. Additional studies regarding the effect of using GIS are needed to bring the vision of situated place-based education closer to fruition.


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