SPACIT kick-off meeting

The Kick-off meeting of the SPACIT project, Comenius Multilateral, was held in Germany, from 21st to 22nd of January 2012 at the University of Landau, Geography department. The consortium is composed of 10 European partners (from Austria, Belgium, Germany, Italy, UK and Romania) and 2 non EU partners from USA and Japan. The partners include universities, associations, NGOs and schools and is led by the Centre for Geoinformatics (Z_GIS), an interdisciplinary centre established at Paris Lodron University Salzburg.

SPACIT seeks to examine the concept of Education for Spatial Citizenship, a new research field. Early theoretical and empirical work by the project team suggests that geo-media (geographic media) sets the stage for the appropriation of space by contextualising communication. Geo-media is any media that uses the spatial localisation of information. It includes all representations of space, covering a wide range of outputs, from verbal description to visualisation, mass media and Web 2.0.

SPACIT will create teacher training resources developing learning and teaching approaches helps young people navigate the world physically, socially and politically. SPACIT is transformative, connecting with information and converting it to encourage active participation and communication.

The SPACIT project aims at providing teachers with the relevant education to support active spatial citizenship in the classroom through the following measures: providing an up-to-date online reader on the geoinformation (GI) society; providing a competence model and curriculum to further participation in the geoinformation society (spatial citizenship); producing materials to actively learn / teach spatial citizenship skills and competences to pupils through 4 units of training. These are i) basic concepts of spatialities, ii) spatial thinking to understand and make use of the absolute concept of space, iii) GI-enabled spatial citizenship and spatial communication – to be able to translate between social and absolute space and make use of spatial representations in everyday lives, and iv) GI-enabled Spatial citizenship – participation – to be able to effectively use spatial representations in collective decision making processes.

The publication of free online materials will help in dissemination to teacher training institutions beyond the project consortium and will be supported by publication in both international and national journals devoted to teacher training.

SPACIT offers potential for the widening of citizenship education to themes important to young people today and contributes to its extensive acceptance as an essential dimension through which they can become informed and active citizens within society.