Armenia’s Ministry of Education and Science, KARDÉS, AGBU Armenia and the AGBU Armenian Virtual College (AVC) started a partnership to introduce Geographic Information Systems (GIS) in schools across Armenia as a new method of education based on e-learning technologies.

The first workshop for school teachers was held in Yerevan on November 14, which marks the International GIS Day. Around 100 participants, including teachers from Yerevan, as well as Lori, Kotayk, Armavir, and Ararat provinces attended the workshop to learn about GIS, location intelligence and the importance of using GIS in education. The workshop was facilitated by KARDÉS, a non-profit organization specializing in GIS consulting, training and capacity building, as well as its integration in the school curriculum.

“Modernization of education is the government’s highest priority aiming at introducing innovative approaches and tools into our educational system,” said Arayik Harutyunyan, acting minister of education and science of Armenia. Welcoming the collaboration with KARDÉS, AVC and AGBU, he stressed the importance of fuller utilization of state-of-the-art tools and devices for students’ development.

The rapid growth of technology has caused major changes in teaching methods, with the primary focus on students’ ability to find, analyze and interpret information and apply the knowledge to problem-solving.

“Geotechnologies, along with biotechnologies and nanotechnologies, are the three areas identified as key for the 21st Century. GIS is used as an inquiry-driven, problem-solving, standards-based set of tasks that incorporates fieldwork and provides career pathways that are increasingly in demand,” said Pakrad Balabanian, KARDÉS Founder and CEO.

Teaching with GIS will boost science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education in Armenia. This tool will also allow students to learn how to use, make and share maps, collect and add data, as well as perform a wide range of analysis and work with big data. It will consequently help students develop critical and spatial thinking.

“GIS is an innovative e-learning tool that AVC has been using for several years. In partnership with KARDES we will continue to contribute our experience and knowledge to bring the most advanced e-learning technologies to Armenian schools,” AVC Founder and President Yervant Zorian said while addressing the workshop participants via Skype.

KARDÉS, in collaboration with the Ministry of Education and Science and AVC, will introduce GIS and location intelligence to Armenian students by providing free GIS licenses, teacher training and curriculum content. During the event, Yervant Zorian and Pakrad Balabanyan virtually signed a Memorandum of Understanding to formalize the partnership between KARDÉS and AVC.