OpenStreetMap has great potential for use in education with direct application for geography, but also for social sciences, environmental sciences, civics, and many other subjects. After all, a mapping project is a ready-made project-based learning experience, utilizing direct application of cartography & geographic reasoning. Despite these benefits, there is still more work to be done to promote broader adoption of OpenStreetMap in schools.
TeachOSM, a program of OpenStreetMap US, is dedicated to advocating for open mapping in educational settings. Led by a small volunteer group of educators, TeachOSM works to promote open mapping and remove barriers to using OSM in classrooms through programming, technical infrastructure, and developing educational content. TeachOSM has trained an estimated 500 teachers reaching over 1,000 students in open mapping techniques since 2013, and provides free, open mapping lesson modules online. Recently, the TeachOSM program has gained significant momentum as evidenced by the growth in educator and student interest, as well as the number of partnering institutions.
With this growth, we are inviting volunteers to join the OSM US Education Working Group, led by TeachOSM, to match community appetite with project needs. The launch of this working group is a natural outgrowth of the TeachOSM program and our hope is that the Working Group will allow us to direct the talent of the larger open mapping community to support and scale existing projects as well as fuel academic innovation and civic engagement.
Whether you’re a mapper, community organizer, or educator, there are numerous ways you can make solid contributions to the Education Working Group, such as:
Mentoring a teacher or a school.
Create content such as how-tos or instructional videos for using your favorite OpenStreetMap tools
If you’re an educator or have used OSM in a classroom setting, share your case study.
If you’re a developer or engineer, you can apply your skills to helping maintain our website or develop tools for teachers to more easily integrate OSM into their curriculum schools.
The working group launches on May 18th and will meet monthly on the 3rd Wednesday. Like other OSM US working groups, we hope to have a diversity of participation and there is no requirement to make every meeting. Join our Meetup for meeting times and links.
Have questions or want to connect with the TeachOSM community? Reach out on the #TeachOSM channel on the OSMUS Slack.
Header Image Credit: James Wood