Geographical review of Japan series A
Online ISSN : 2185-1751
Print ISSN : 1883-4388
ISSN-L : 1883-4388
Volume 92, Issue 1
Displaying 1-13 of 13 articles from this issue
ORIGINAL ARTICLE
  • TANI Kenji, SAITO Atsushi
    2019 Volume 92 Issue 1 Pages 1-22
    Published: January 01, 2019
    Released on J-STAGE: September 28, 2022
    JOURNAL FREE ACCESS

    “Integrated Geography,” which involves the use of geographic information systems (GIS), was established as a compulsory subject in Japan’s Course of Study for Senior High Schools in March 2018. This study aimed to identify current trends and issues in the use of GIS through a questionnaire survey conducted among teachers in senior high schools across Japan and the necessary steps to implement integrated geography by 2022.

    Questionnaires were mailed to 1,331 senior high schools across Japan, and responses were received from 476 schools. First, we analyzed the status of GIS use and found that 23.9% of teachers had used GIS in their lessons. Many who had used GIS in their lessons either specialized in geography, had studied GIS at university, or had received GIS training after becoming a teacher. The school environment also seemed to have an impact on GIS use since the rate of use was higher in schools where projection equipment or information and communication technology (ICT) equipment was provided in regular classrooms. There were some differences among the prefectures concerning the provision of information equipment. Teachers primarily used GIS when presenting materials in the classroom and mostly relied on free or web-based GIS.

    Next, we analyzed teachers’ future plans to use GIS. Some were not proactive in their plans to use GIS. Many teachers who had used GIS preferred web-based GIS to teach integrated geography, while many who had not used GIS could not imagine using it in the future. It is expected that teachers will master GIS through practical, face-to-face training. In integrated geography, GIS will likely be used mainly for browsing maps, which means that web-based GIS is an effective tool. Participants in the survey also answered open-ended questions about the challenges of GIS. An overwhelming number of comments concerned the lack of equipment. In addition, there were many comments on the challenges concerning teachers, curricula, and training.

    Finally, this paper argues that it is necessary to take the following actions to use GIS in integrated geography. First, it is essential to provide information equipment in regular classrooms. Delays in the provision of ICT in senior high schools are preventing more teachers from using GIS. Second, it is important to train teachers to use GIS. After doing so, it would be appropriate to develop a simple program centered on web-based GIS browsing functions which takes into account teachers’ GIS skills.

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