Geospatial technologies make history, science and other disciplines come to life

Submitted by Meredith Guinness, Assistant Director, Media Relations on November 21, 2011

A packed house of interested teachers, parents and students greeted Fairfield University Professor Marsha Alibrandi, Ph.D., when she offered a free Nov. 17 lecture on using geospatial technologies in the classroom at the Fairfield University Bookstore, 1499 Post Road, Fairfield. About 60 people, many of whom were high school students, wanted to learn more about ways technology can make lessons more meaningful and memorable.

Dr. Marsha Alibrandi

“It was exciting to see an audience ranging from high school students, parents, teachers, professors and citizens interested in geospatial technologies All raised their hands when I asked if they used geospatial technologies – anything from GPS to online products” said Dr. Alibrandi, an associate professor of Curriculum and Instructions in the Graduate School of Education and Allied Professions. “These are now ubiquitous technologies in our cell phones, cars, desktops, laptops and iPods. The geospatial age has arrived.”

Dr. Alibrandi’s talk, “Geography is Everywhere: Integrating Geospatial Technologies in the Classroom,” centered on creative ways to look at teaching both old and new topics. Dr. Alibrandi, author of GIS in the Classroom: Using Geographic Information Systems in Science (Heinemann, 2003), has worked with schools in several states, using GPS and GIS technology to “map” everything from watersheds to African-American oral history. Recent videos and presentations she showed demonstrated student projects and uses of GIS in K-12 schools and communities, showing how this technology can make history, science and other disciplines come to life and provide useful data and service for communities. The talk took place during National Geographic Awareness Week.


A class of students uses geospatial technology to "map" a cemetery.

Dr. Alibrandi, an internationally recognized advocate for integrating technologies in the classroom, is an associate professor of secondary social studies education at Fairfield. Before coming to the University in 2006, she taught at North Carolina State University and the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. She taught social studies, geography, journalism and computer technologies for 15 years at Cape Cod Regional Technical High School.


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