“What did you learn today?” ought to be emblazoned on every computer, tablet, and phone. The evolution of technology means GIS users must adapt constantly. New tools and approaches mean important new opportunities, and the paths of yesterday may not work today.
College prof Karen Kemp recently said to me “These days I focus a lot on how to use ‘Help’ efficiently. Teaching about the available tools and steps in today’s version won’t help when new tools appear and software evolves. So we talk about the desired analysis and then they go to Help to find out how to do that now.”
That message is one that educators need to share and — most important — model for students. Teach thinking, learning, adapting. Teach big ideas; the big ideas of GIS are quite stable; the tools, steps, and data are quite dynamic.
The latest evolution of ArcGIS Online means key new capacities and workflows. How do we learn efficiently these changes? See the ArcGIS Online blog and the Help file’s “What’s New?” section, then sit down and play. Even the very beginning step is different now, with the addition of a new simpler starting interface. See the two graphics below and note the specific changes between newest (top) and previous (bottom, now available via the “Modify Map” button) interface.
Change is constant. Learning must be also. GIS is such an inclusive, integrative technology that one must learn constantly. Model what we need all learners to live — lifelong learning.
Charlie Fitzpatrick, Esri Education Manager