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This article was published 26/10/2018 (519 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
A local teacher has been working hard to educate and prepare students for the future, with innovative geography lessons.
Rob Langston was recognized for his work in the classroom recently, with The Royal Canadian Geographical Society’s 2018 Geographic Literacy Award. The award recognizes individuals who have made a significant contribution to geographic literacy in Canada.
Langston said it’s an honour to be recognized, adding that he works to keep his classes as engaging as possible.
"I’m fortunate enough to teach in a computer lab, and it’s hands-on learning driven by motivated students," Langston said. "It’s a very independent course, too, and I just remember when I’m teaching geography, first I try to use modern-day current technology to do that."
The teacher has been working with Grade 10, 11 and 12 students at École secondaire Neelin High School in Brandon.
It’s important for students to learn about geographic information systems, because there’s a lot of opportunity for them career wise in geomatics. It’s also important for the future of the province and the country, Langston said.
"It just opens up doors for them. There’s so many different things they can do education wise or in the career field, so I think we have the right to teach them this technology to have them better prepared for the future," he said. "A lot of the problems the world is facing right now is geographic in nature, so if we can be more efficient at solving those problems, I think we should be doing that as geographic educators."
Langston himself graduated from Brandon University after taking a few geographic information systems courses. He moved on to use what he learned then in his classroom, ensuring he incorporates teaching methods that will be useful to students moving forward.
"I use a lot of technology in my classroom, not only in my geography classes but also geography information systems courses at Neelin," he said. "It’s a major industry. It’s used in so many different sectors like agriculture, hydro, city planning, mining and forestry, and it’s something that probably doesn’t get enough attention. The revenues from the industry are probably over $2 billion a year, so I’m trying to introduce kids to that in my class to teach the kids how to use GIS to answer problems, and see the world in a different way."
They focus on real-world problems in his geographical information systems course, like how to find new locations for a city that has overcrowded schools and where would be a suitable area to put up a wind farm, he said.
In a recent effort to create a unique learning environment for his students, Langston recently took a course on drones to see if they could use it to collect information for his geographic information systems course, but unfortunately he wasn’t able to.
"There was too many regulations," he said. "The more I learned, the more I realized it’s difficult to fly a drone in the city with students."
However, he’s going to continue to work hard to teach kids tools that will be valuable to them in the future.
It’s nice to be recognized for his work with an award, he said.
"It’s an honour."
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