We also tried our established microclimate activity with Y8 pupils with QGIS this year to see if it would be possible for them to take data home and continue working with it. Here it is in QGIS showing temperature data collected in May and June this year around our school site overlaid on MapStream for Schools. So it works and we can develop the activity to include follow up work at home, thus getting Y8 students to download and use the open source application.
For many schools, the advent of stable, reliable open source packages such as QGIS has dramatically changed the situation for teachers wishing to give their pupils free hands on experience of real GIS, as opposed to digital mapping or Google Earth. The increasing availability of accessible spatial data has coincided with the maturation of open source software making this the ideal time for schools to reconsider introducing GIS but without some of the barriers such as cost and data acquisition that may have previously put them off. Launching MapStream for Schools for schools now is very timely.