Cartography and Children

Diversified Experiences on Cartography for Children

5105.3 - Designing maps for children

Wednesday, July 5
9:10 AM - 9:30 AM
Location: Virginia C

Introduction
Wayfinding is not only of public interest as a lifesaving activity, but also as a common task in human everyday life. Human navigation is therefore highly relevant in an educational context, and is compulsory in Norwegian schools. Wayfinding refers to the ability to navigate effectively (Brunyé et al., 2010), and in an unfamiliar environment, external aids are needed such as a map.

Interacting with a symbolic map can be very difficult, and relatively little is known about how to create adequate maps for different age groups (Wiegand, 2006). The aim is for even the youngest children, to be able to understand and use the map without prior instructions (Stea et al., 2004). The relationship between a map and the reality becomes easier to understand if the symbols are similar to the referents (Casakin, et al., 2000), and it is easier to understand things that are experienced as specific and logical.


Aim and objectives for the study
Our intention is to shed light on how children can benefit from using a different type of map in relation to navigation, and the main objective of this project is focusing on pictorial maps (a hand-drawn map seen from an oblique angle). We hope to fill the gap regarding this specific topic by trying to answer the following questions:

• To what extent will use of pictorial maps be a suitable approach for learning the symbolic map?
• Is there any gender differences in relation to how children interact with pictorial maps?


Methods
There is selected an ecological approach to ensure that children’s interaction with pictorial maps are examined as it is practiced in the real world. The study involving 97 Norwegian children, 49 boys and 48 girls, divided into three groups by age; 3 - 5 years (kindergarten), 5 to 9 years (lower primary stage) and 9 to 13 years (upper primary stage).

The field mapping task; 22 controls were placed in the selected area, and the children had to visit the 7 controls that were marked on a pictorial map. The flags had no visible identifying-codes.

While conducting the field mapping task, quantitative data was obtained using EMIT (electronic timer system). The measures of performance are the average number of controls found, the average time spent on the task and number of children who completed the task (found all 7 controls).


Findings and conclusions
All the three measures of performance are developing significantly by age, but even among the youngest children (3 – 5 years) many are mastering the field mapping task, for example 17 out of 41 children found all the 7 controls. Pictorial maps appear to offer great support for wayfinding (Sigurjónsson, 2007), and would seem to be a good way of introducing children to navigation at an early age.

Average number of controls found and number of children who completed the task indicate very small gender differences, while average time spent on the task indicates that boys outperform girls. It may therefore seem that girls and boys are carrying out a wayfinding task equally well, but the boys solve the task significantly faster than the girls do. We conclude that pictorial maps can be used equally well by boys and girls, and both gender will challenge and develop spatial skill and improve wayfinding ability.

Based on the findings there has been made a model (Bjerva et al., 2010), showing how we can develop navigational skills through using different kind of maps. It is crucial that those who teach navigational skills reflects on what kind of maps they offers to children, and this study helps to illuminate this.



Trine Bjerva

Associate professor
Inland Norway University of Applied Sciences

Associate Professor Trine Bjerva have 25 years experience with teacher training connected to Physical Education (PE). One of her main subjects is teaching orienteering to children and novice students. She has worked for the Norwegian Orienteering Federation (NOF) as a national coach for the team of junior girls for 2 years, and works in close interaction with NOF in their coaching programmes. Trine is now head of department for the Institute for Sport and Physical Education in the Faculty of Public Health.

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Thorsteinn Sigurjonsson

Dr. Associate professor
Inland Norway University of Applied Sciences

Dr. Thorsteinn Sigurjonsson has 25 years’ experience with teacher training connected to physical education (PE). One of his main subject is teaching orienteering to children and novice students. The title of his doctoral thesis is "Children's map-reading: an interaction between map-reader, map and terrain." Thorsteinn works in close interaction with the Norwegian orienteering federadion and contributes in their coaching programmes.

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Jon Anders Græsli

Associate Professor
Hedmark University of Applaied Siences

Associate Professor Jon Anders Græsli has 25 years' experience with teacher training connected to pre School teaching. One of his main subjects is teaching orienteering to children and novice students. Jon Anders Works in Close interaction with the Norwegian orienteering federation and contributes in their coaching programmes.

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Carla Sena

PhD
UNIVERSIDADE ESTADUAL PAULISTA - UNESP

Graduated in Geography, MA and Ph.D. in Geography in University of São Paulo (2009). She is currently Assistant Professor Ph.D.from UNESP- Ourinhos, and Chair (2015-2019) of the ICA Commission on Cartography and Children. She has experience in geography, with emphasis on Geography teaching and training of teachers, mainly in the following themes: school and tactile cartography, geography education, special education and inclusion.

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