As the world moves into the Information Age, Hong Kong’s educational application of technology in schools seem to lag far behind, let alone using effective GIS (Geographic Information System) technology in school teaching. This paper aims at introducing GIS literacy modules for teacher education through acute environmental issues in Hong Kong., environmental literacy among ordinary citizens is badly lacking, as evidenced by the deteriorating air and water quality in and around the territory, as well as the serious landsliding and flooding after every rainstorms. Since 1993, a Hong Kong Ecological Database has been created by World Wide Fund for Nature Hong Kong using state-of-the-art GIS, which emphasizes biodiversity. Although the database provides a good resource to promote environmental literacy, it has not been taken up vigorously by educators. The ignorance of incorporating advanced knowledge and skills such as GIS in curriculum reform is partly attributed to weak communication of professional and academic studies and partly attributed to a not well-connected curriculum design under the colonial tertiary and secondary systems. This perhaps is one of the most critical education problems today unsolved in Hong Kong. As the theme of this paper indicates, systems of teacher education at various levels are experiencing significant reforms throughout the Asian pacific region and China. This paper will focus on one of the targets of these reforms – to put GIS into the curriculum change. It is found that GIS application can (1) help create systematic database by using multiple-sourced data; (2) facilitate the use of multimedia technologies in school teaching and learning; (3) train student-teachers on important local environmental issues through fieldwork, hypothesis testing, data analysis, and data visualization. Hence GIS is not confined to a single compartment of knowledge or to one branch of education, but is truly universal in its utility.
|Publication status||Published - Nov 1999|