Cartography and Children

Studies from Three Continents

4505.2 - Didactical & Learning Cycle of Geoliteracy for Mobile Serious Game Based on Maps

Tuesday, July 4
1:50 PM - 2:10 PM
Location: Virginia C

Against the weak geospatial literacy among general population, development of geoliteracy among K-12 students needs improved didactical methods and get advantage of available technologies for geographic representation and learning.
Such a method was designed to support progressive geospatial learning and thinking by using portable digital maps within mobile educative serious game played on the terrain. The theoretical frame is based on an experiential learning cycle (Kolb; Lewin) that has two directional and alternative branches.
First, the reflective 'cartographical process' starts from concrete experience and observations, with data collection about the area of interest, toward a synthetic abstraction on a sketch mapwork for visualization of a situation, at convenient scale.
Second, a more active ‘cartological process’ of map reading, interpretation, and use to move and take action on the field or in the city, while mapping (i.e. transposing) cartographic geospatial knowledge upon the terrain, for reconnaissance.
In their evolution along this cycle, the experiential stages among the first branch are compatible to both Piaget’s and Catling’s stages of child’s cognitive development of spatial conception and representation capabilities, to draw a map that gathers information relating to the problematic theme that the teacher prepares as a game . The second branch is more active in geographical thinking, devoted to actualize structured information for making geospatial choices and decision and taking justified action to achieve the goal of the game.
Our mobile serious game is planned to play ten rounds, scheduled at each two-three weeks for instance, giving five rounds by branch (then by semester). Pre-tests verified the level of the general cartographic or ‘cartologic’ skills of the pupils, more importantly than to just assess their abilities to manipulate technological game devices (an intelligent phone or tablet). Each round is prepared and adapted by the teacher and may, at the beginning, look similar to a treasure hunt or geocaching. Its description and narrative are part of a more general scenario covering all or half of the game. The teacher elaborates a game scenario according to didactics of geographical thinking, the class grade (i.e. pupils’ age), and a curriculum theme that substantially exists within the school vicinity. As they are quasi infinite, themes must be complex enough to stimulate players and support the learning experience up to the goal, in children’s real world (urban, suburban, rural).
Scenarios may have up to seven levels of play rules, from the very simple step-by-step (from the start, go to pointed station by direct path) to the complex investigation of a spatial process or structure in an area without giving any direction (for solving a problem, answering questions, discovering clues, making choices,…). The narrative, the story of the educative game, may be fictional, historical, or realistic (i.e. locating secure implementation for a youth centre); anyway, it is preferable to combine the chapters of the story within a same frame for the complete process, at least for a semester (or a branch).
Students go outside with the game uploaded on the device, follow instructions along various types of trajectories (from point-to-point to a lattice network), note data, take photos, answer questions, etc. Later, players search and complement information, sketch an appropriate map and come back in classroom for discussion and comparison in the perspective for merging results and preparing the next round. In order to support progress and emulation, the outcomes and maps of any individual student or team at a game round may circulate in other hands at the next one.
Then, calibration of the whole mobile serious game may be revised, adapted to all, and constantly enhanced to improve students’ geoliteracy.

Yaïves Ferland

Professionnel de recherche
Université Laval

Mr. Yaïves Ferland, M.Sc., research professional at Faculté des Sciences de l'Éducation and Départemetn des Sciences géomatiques, Université Laval, Québec, Canada, since 2012.
Professional training in Geomatics (B.Sc.App.) as a land surveyor plus a Master degree (M.Sc.) in GIS and cartography. Strong interest in cadastral studies, cognitive geography, history, geoliteracy and didactics of geography, knowledge mapping and representation, land planning and management, semiology, and toponymy. Serving seven years as Defence Scientist at Valcartier Research Centre of the Department of National Defence. Canadian Delegate to the United Nations Group of Expert for Geographical Names (UNGEGN) during three years. Member of the Joint Commission on Toponymy of the International Cartographic Association (ICA) and the International Geographic Union (IGU). Co-author of articles on land law, bornage, cadastre, educative serious games, didactics of geography and history, high water marks, land disaster risk management. Co-author of two books on land planning and management within municipal governments, and on cadastre and public domain.


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Margot Kaszap

Université Laval

Professor of Didactics in Geography and History.


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Send Email for Pilar Sánchez-Ortiz


4505.2 - Didactical & Learning Cycle of Geoliteracy for Mobile Serious Game Based on Maps

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