Esri has been supporting the National Conference on Geographic Education since the early 1990s, through hands-on workshops in real-world investigation of geographic issues and phenomena through GIS technologies. This year, Esri will conduct two days of hands-on workshops in investigating natural hazards, population change, watersheds, weather and climate, land use, and much more, using the set of data and tools on ArcGIS Online. We also will be giving additional workshops and papers at the conference, which I will describe in upcoming blog essays. More broadly, we have long supported the organization that is behind this conference, the National Council for Geographic Education (www.ncge.org). My colleagues and I have served on NCGE’s administrative boards and curriculum and professional development projects over the years, and I served as NCGE President in 2011.
We have learned a great deal from the geography education community through NCGE. If you are not a member of this organization, I strongly encourage you to do so. It is a friendly, dedicated, and talented community that has deep roots (97 years and counting!) and looks forward to a bright future.
Why are we doing conducting these workshops? Like many of you, we believe that the use of GIS in instruction represents the essence of what applying geography to solve problems, foster critical, holistic, and geographic thinking, and to increase skills that are highly in demand in the workforce. The analysis of local to global issues through the spatial framework engages students with the content, skills, and perspectives of geography.
Why are we using ArcGIS Online as our primary platform for these workshops? ArcGIS Online, over the past two years, has rapidly evolved into a powerful set of technologies, with rich data sets, tools, and a user community. It allows educators and their students to quickly create, customize, and share maps on the web, with their own content or content created by others. As a preview, have a look at my series of 7 videos entitled “Teaching Geography with ArcGIS Online,” beginning here.
We hope to see you at the upcoming NCGE conference in San Marcos, Texas, and beyond, in cyberspace in the ArcGIS Online community! How might you be able to use ArcGIS Online in your own courses?
- Joseph Kerski, Esri Education Manager