Daily Archives: August 8, 2012
Esri’s Education Industry Solutions Team (Education Team) convened the first meeting of a new GIS Education Community Advisory Board on July 23rd. The meeting took place in San Diego during the 2012 Education GIS Conference and Esri International User Conference. The Board’s charge is to help ensure that the Team’s strategic priorities respond to Community needs. This year, the Team asked the Board to focus on strategic priorities for educational resources.
Prior the meeting, organizers asked Advisers to review and comment upon the Team’s ArcLessons platform and collection (http://edcommunity.esri.com/arclessons) as well as its current strategic plan for educational resources. From those comments organizers distilled four questions for facilitated discussion during the 90-minute session. The questions were:
- Regarding educational resources, what is the “GIS Education Community”? What is the Esri Education Industry Team’s relationship to it?
- Does the ArcLessons collection address Community needs effectively? In light of trends in the GIS Education Community, what should ArcLessons become?
- What should our priorities be for educational resource development in 2013?
- What should Esri’s Education Industry Team do to advance research-based knowledge about the efficacy of GIS in education?
The Board’s advice:
- The GIS Education Community consists of educators (professional and volunteer), researchers, learning designers, education administrators and staff, and learners. Community members share a common goal of promoting GIS use and spatial thinking to maximize student success. Esri is one of the Community’s key stakeholder organizations, and is its primary social hub. Esri is simultaneously a part of and partner to the GIS Education Community.
In regard to educational resources, Advisers agreed that the Esri Team’s near-term emphasis should be to (a) promote broad Community participation in resource development, sharing, and assessment; and (b) organize and disseminate Community resources, including those authored or co-authored by Esri. In all these efforts Advisers stressed that Esri be mindful of the differing needs of educators and learners in higher education, primary and secondary education, and informal education settings.
- Advisers recommended several improvements to the ArcLessons platform and resource collection, including (a) specifying educational objectives for each resource; (b) identifying how resources align with education standards (state, federal, international); (c) promoting and collaborating on resources focused more on problem solving and less on software use; and (d) helping users design meaningful sequences of learning activities (i.e., curricula) by identifying related resources. All these are Community responsibilities, not Esri’s alone.
- Advisers agreed that the Esri Education Team’s priority for 2013 should be to design and implement a new web-based platform and interfaces that respond to the distinctive needs of educators and students in primary and secondary education, higher education, and informal education around the world. The platform’s key purpose should be to enable and support resource sharing by Community members. In addition, the Team should address the recognized gap in support for intermediate learners and best practices in advanced topics, such as application development, ArcGIS server, and dealing with big and messy data sets. Assisting Community members’ efforts to discover, create and share resources should be a higher priority for Esri’s Education Team than developing resources of its own. The Team should bear in mind differing user preferences for ready-to-use resources versus points of departure for further exploration (what one adviser called “inspiring inroads”), as well as resources for teacher professional development versus for student use. In addition, Esri’s platform(s) should provide access to resources that address workforce needs (as outlined in the Geospatial Technology Competency Model and related efforts).
- Finally, Advisers agreed that the Education Team should foster the Community’s development of a research agenda focused on the efficacy of GIS in promoting spatial abilities. Partnership with established research centers such as the Spatial Intelligence and Learning Center (SILC) at Temple University may help. A set of case studies demonstrating ways to use GIS in educational research may also be useful.
The Advisory Board’s recommendations will inform the Education Team’s 2013 strategy and action plan, which the Team will develop beginning in September. The Team will provide periodic progress reports throughout the year.
Members of the 2012 Advisory Board are listed below. The Education Team selected this year’s members to (a) represent the spectrum of Community members’ roles and work settings, and (b) have relevant experience in educational resource development. Assuming Esri’s continuing support, the Team will invite new members to address different issues in years to come.
2012 GIS Education Community Advisory Board
- Amy Ballard, Central New Mexico Community College (NM)
- Sarah Bednarz, Texas A&M University (TX)
- Margaret Chernosky, Bangor High School (ME)
- Sara Damon, Stillwater Junior High School (MN)
- Adam Dastrup, Salt Lake Community College (UT)
- Eva Dodsworth, University of Waterloo (Canada)
- Kenneth Field, Esri (CA)
- Iain Greensmith, Esri Canada
- Keene Haywood, University of Texas – Austin (TX)
- Khusro Kidwai, Pennsylvania State University (PA)
- Erika Klose, Winfield Middle School (WV)
- Bob Kolvoord, James Madison University (VA)
- Mark Lindberg, University of Minnesota (MN)
- Anita Palmer, GISetc (TX)
- ori Ann Rubino-Hare, Northern Arizona University (AZ)
- Adena Schutzberg, ABS Consulting and Directions Media (MA)
- Diana Stuart Sinton, University of Redlands (CA)
- Debbie Stevens, William Penn University (IA)