Walking Maps is an excellent tool that can be used by students in a variety of educational settings. There are many ways that the website can be applied to learning in secondary, TAFE and tertiary education. A project or assessment can be easily customised to suit curriculum requirements.
"Overall it's been interesting and fun, it's allowed me to adventure out and discover new and interesting places which I never knew about that were in close proximity to me... I think my mapping skills has improved and the walking has encouraged me to be more sunsmart, walking in this summer season." - C. Gagaridis
Year 10 students at Catholic Regional College (CRC) are required to participate in community projects. Three groups of students chose to create walking maps to showcase the amenities and facilities in their local area. The students worked in teams to research, plan and gather information in order to create their walks. They worked collaboratively to plan and photograph their walking routes, then edited their text and images before uploading their walks online.
"It was a great experience for all 3 of us to be given the responsbility, opportunity and freedom to work interdependently. We enjoyed being together, doing things together, and being able to do things you want the way you want. This project gave us a different way of looking at a place. We were interested in places that we enjoyed with our friends, a place to chill and just hang out."
- Stephen, Chris and Evelyn
"It was something different. Nobody ever asks us what we think. For this project, we went out by ourselves, worked independently and responsibly. We felt mature, and there were no teachers!"
- Rhiannon, Marcus and Jonathan
Belinda Allwood's students relished the opportunity to map their favourite walks for their assessment on tour guiding. Students researched their walks, took photographs and designed the content for each of their walking routes. Once the walks were uploaded, students acted as a tour guide and took their classmates, as well as their friends and family members on their walks.
"It was a great project because they were fully engaged in the process. I found that it brought the quieter students out of their shell. It was fantastic to see them support each other to create their walks and to discuss what was working as well as what wasn't. This strengthened the dynamic of the group as the weeks progressed.
The walks that were created brought many of them back to the places where they grew up, or were significant to them in other ways. Many students chose to feature walks from their hometown or walks taken in their childhood because they wanted to share with others what was important to them.
Putting together these walks gave them a sense of ownership and pride in their creations. They can see that what they have achieved will be appreciated by others. It was a fantastic experience for them and I know that they had a great time with this project!"
Postgraduate students from the Melbourne School of Design, University of Melbourne were presented with the opportunity to work with Victoria Walks to create a walk and in turn analyse the participatory and consultative process.
Tegan was excited about involving young people in mapping their favourite places to 'hang out' for her post-graduate assessment. She invited three young women, aged 14 - 15 years to identify and share their favourite spots by creating a walking tour to take visitors to the area on. The focus of the paper was to understand the collaborative process and obtain feedback from the participants on the process of creating and participating on their walk.
"It was very interesting to hear what they had to say about the places that they loved to visit. ...They were very articulate and passionate about each other and their neighbourhoods. Through facilitating this process, it is very clear to me what the benefits of walks being created by teenagers for teenagers are: To entice teenagers to feel inspired about the places they live in and realise the opportunity of sharing them with others."