Much of the information in the world has a geographic component, and spatial factors
affect every aspect of our lives. In a world where rich visualizations and geospatial
tools are the norm, spatial literacy is a significant asset for our faculty, our
students, and our institution.
LEarNing Spatially (LENS) is a campus-wide initiative promoting spatial literacy
as a foundational component within a liberal arts university. This is the outcome
of 10+ years of Redlands' dedication to spatial thinking in curriculum, programs
and research. Spatial thinking – the ability to visualize and interpret location,
distance, direction, relationships, movement and change through space
– is at the core of our work. Our initiative represents a lead effort in understanding
how geospatial technologies can be linked to the greater pedagogic objectives of
critical thinking and problem-based learning. We are not just teaching a tool, but
a way of thinking. Our approach develops student and faculty capacity to explore
the spatial nature of multiple disciplines in order to generate insights that drive
active learning. LENS harnesses the integrative power of geography with technologies
to help faculty and students visualize knowledge, solve problems, and understand
relationships through a spatial lens.
We succeed through the generous support of the W. M. Keck Foundation, our partnerships with neighboring ESRI, and the dedication of the University of Redlands to sustain our ongoing work.