Tag Archives: social studies

Fun with GIS 208: Competitions 2016 and 2017

In spring of 2017, Esri is hosting a network of US state competitions for grades 4-12. Successful pilot events occurred in 2016 in Minnesota (MN) and Arkansas (AR). “Students had a lot of fun with it and liked the freedom of making any type of map they wanted,” said MN teacher Kyle Tredinnick. A high school student said “This project was one of the most rewarding things I have done. It makes me respect the amount of work people put into their maps and information because I have now gone through the same process.” MN event co-leader Scott Freburg said “One teacher commented ‘Students who were doing poorly in most of their classes were absolutely loving this competition and thriving.’”

Competitions spark extra creativity and individuality, and students everywhere love that. MN students chose topics of personal interest ranging from commonplace to exotic: demographics, food, crime, pollution, health care, urban art, even Bigfoot sightings. The open-ended design yielded products ranging from more pictorial to more analytical.

MN’s professional GIS community jumped in quickly, offering to judge, and providing special T-shirts to all entrants and their teachers. The competition was highlighted at the state’s annual conference for GIS professionals; interested teachers were supported to attend a day of training, and contest awardees spoke to the more than 300 conference attendees at lunch. The state geography teachers’ conference also provided special recognition to winners.

(Top: MN co-leader Jim Hanson and some winners.
Bottom: Teachers and competition winners at GIS conference.)

Esri’s 2017 event has school, state, and national tiers. GIS professionals can help their state participate and serve as mentors or judges. Ultimately, one high school and one middle school winner will present at the 2017 Esri Conference. See the announcement for details.

Charlie Fitzpatrick, Esri Education Manager

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Fun with GIS 207: Competition!

In spring of 2016, Minnesota announced an ArcGIS Online competition for high school and middle school students across the state. From initial discussion to completion was barely three months, but they had over 200 entries from 25 schools across the state. Hearing Minnesota’s initial announcement, Arkansas created a twin event. On the strength of these successes, it’s time to take the idea up a notch.


Esri invites all U.S. states to conduct a state-based ArcGIS Online competition in 2017.
For each state formally participating, students can submit to their school an ArcGIS Online presentation, web app, or story map about something inside the state borders. Schools can submit up to five projects to the state. Esri will provide each state ten prizes of $100, to go to five high school and five middle school projects. These ten awardees per state will get national recognition, with one each high school and middle school entry advancing to a top level competition. The best high school and middle school projects will earn trips to the 2017 Esri Education Conference in San Diego, CA.

ArcGIS Online maps and apps help users of any age discover/ explore/ display data, show analyses, and present interpretations. Project-based learning experiences such as these help students build the essential problem-solving skills and in-depth background content knowledge needed for college, career, and civic life.

GIS professionals abound across the country (Map#4 above)! They can help educators present ideas and strategies, establish an Organization account, and help students grasp the deeper learning available with GIS. Keep an eye out for opportunities to connect these valuable community resources to learners. Check out the competition!

Charlie Fitzpatrick, Esri Education Manager

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Fun with GIS 206: Community Round Mile

Want to do a simple crowdsourcing activity? Want to engage students in an exploration of areas around school, across the state, or spanning the country, using both demographic and landscape data? Want to make it an activity based on your students’ choices? Want to use the analysis powers in an ArcGIS Online Organization? Try the “Community Round Mile.”

By dropping a point, creating a circle of a certain distance around it, and enriching that buffer with particular data, you can get some fascinating “apples to apples” comparisons. But it takes a little planning to do more than once. The Community Round Mile activity is a three-part process that walks you through creating some simple data, sharing that data, and then expanding.

This final part relies on Survey123, which just acquired some exciting new powers. Try this to “crowdsource data” among your classes. Enterprising states might even coordinate a state-specific effort emphasizing data of special interest. Check out the Community Round Mile!

Charlie Fitzpatrick, Esri Education Manager

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Research: Geospatial technologies in teacher education

For nearly 25 years, teachers, researchers, and curriculum developers have designed, tested, and evaluated teacher professional development with geospatial technologies in education. These innovators created a better practice in teaching with mapping and location-based technologies, using methods and principles that advanced inquiry in meaningful and authentic ways. That path, while challenging and often shifting, shows signs of success—in classrooms, preservice programs, summer professional development, and beyond.

The Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education’s Society for Information Technology in Teacher Education (AACE-SITE) has released the special issue on geospatial technologies in teacher education (special issue editors Elizabeth Langran & Thomas Baker). This journal is intended to support university faculty members working in the teacher education or educational research in technology integration.

CITE Journal 16(3) – special issue on geospatial technology

http://www.citejournal.org/publication/volume-16/issue-3-16/

Editorials

Special issue: Geospatial Technologies in Teacher Education

by Elizabeth Langran & Thomas R. Baker

Science Education

Persistent Teaching Practices After Geospatial Technology Professional Development

by Lori A. Rubino-Hare, Brooke A. Whitworth, Nena E. Bloom, Jennifer M. Claesgens, Kristi M. Fredrickson, Carol Henderson-Dahms & James C. Sample

Strategizing Teacher Professional Development for Classroom Uses of Geospatial Data and Tools

by Daniel R. Zalles & James Manitakos

Social Studies Education

Future Teachers’ Dispositions Toward Teaching With Geospatial Technologies

by Injeong Jo

Current Practice

Integrating Geospatial Technologies Into Existing Teacher Education Coursework: Theoretical and Practical Notes from the Field

by Stacey Kerr

A Curriculum-Linked Professional Development Approach to Support Teachers’ Adoption of Web GIS Tectonics Investigations

by Alec Bodzin, David Anastasio, Dork Sahagian & Jill Burrows Henry

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Fun with GIS 199: GeoInquiries

A good map informs, a powerful map provokes. A good instructional activity teaches, and a powerful one fosters questions and investigation. Byte by byte, “GeoInquiries” are changing instruction.

Esri Education Manager Tom Baker has been leading teams of authors to produce short, content-based lessons which help teachers address key content, using maps, in an inquiry-based manner, which builds comfort with the power of online GIS. Requiring no great technical background, nor download or install, nor even login, GeoInquiries help teachers engage students in not just seeing but interacting with the facts, patterns, and relationships of our world, in ways at once historical, scientific, mathematical, and of course geographic.

Now 75 bite-sized activities get used by teachers in one-computer classrooms, and in 1:1 settings. Teachers can demonstrate skills, and students can investigate even on their own, weaving content and context in their own unique way. Geoinquiries form a blazed trail through standard content, but support diversion, investigation, integration, and ever deeper learning, about the content, tools for investigating, and even the nature of knowledge.

As summer launches professional development for teachers everywhere, check out GeoInquiries as a way to shine new lights on classroom content. See the video and check out the collection!

Charlie Fitzpatrick, Esri Education Manager

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Fun With GIS 196: Esri ConnectED Showcase

Esri joined President Obama’s ConnectED Initiative in May 2014, offering a billion dollars worth of learning resources and teacher support. Two years later, one school district stands out as a model of implementation: Loudoun County (VA) Public Schools.

Since 2005, LCPS had participated in the Geospatial Semester program (through James Madison University), teaching GIS to hundreds of high school seniors (and even juniors) through a project-based approach. Lead GIS teacher Mike Wagner attended Esri’s 2013 Teachers Teaching Teachers GIS institute, and science coordinator Odette Scovel in 2014, building strategies for helping others use GIS. ConnectED opened new horizons.

Agreeing that all 89 LCPS schools needed their own ArcGIS Online Organization, Scovel released Wagner from some classroom duties with “Get them up and running.” Now, every school has an Org underway, with students and teachers logging in. The district is more convinced than ever that ArcGIS Online opens doors for student learning, engagement, and opportunities.

Some LCPS schools use GIS more vigorously than others, according to their needs and culture. But 35 elementary schools fed data to the district’s Project Daffodil, examining relationships between weather and plants. Some first graders worked with high school honors students to map kindness. Middle school students use pre-crafted story maps to learn standard classroom content in science and social studies. High school students create story maps to deepen their own learning and help others, in history, science, and even English literature. Some special needs students use GIS to help them understand and document tasks in their day.

This summer, Wagner will lead two days of ArcGIS Online training for elementary teachers, and a week of activities for middle school and high school teachers. Such investment positions LCPS well for the huge market of GIS jobs in the region and beyond. This vision and action earned LCPS a Special Achievements in GIS Award in 2015, and already yields benefits in student learning. Kudos to LCPS for recognizing opportunity and rising to meet it! (For more info, contact Mike Wagner.)

Charlie Fitzpatrick, Esri Education Manager

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Fun with GIS 192: Sustainability and Students

“Sustainability” was not a word I heard in high school. I could comprehend ecosystems; I lived on a small pond, and saw it evolve before I could drive. Looking back, I loved systems, whether the meshing gears of my fishing reel or the feedback cycles in the 3-gallon pond aquarium in my bedroom. In hindsight, Earth Day 1970 marked the dawn of my metamorphosis from biologist to geographer, and a never-ending thirst for patterns and relationships.

On that first Earth Day, Esri was in year one of helping communities plan a better future. That mission continues, but now at all scales. Sustainability is a planetary concern; our future is not fixed; nothing is guaranteed. The interplay of many complex systems works like a herky-jerky conveyor belt; population, food production, biodiversity, climate, water, land use, economics, culture, and history push us … and we push them. We must grasp intestinally how actions have consequences, and how holistic vision can inform action.

Esri’s “Sustainable Development” website shows how individuals, governments, non-profit organizations, and business can collaborate. Our future depends on our capacity to think holistically, about how various elements (or layers of data) appear and conditions shift between here and there. To see the big picture — globally, yes, but even down to a local level — we need to harness technology, as data streams become fractal torrents, and patterns can hide like zebras on the savanna. Interactive geographic analysis clarifies such patterns, adjusting our focus.

Building skills with data takes experience, which means time. Educators can help students start, easily, online, with quick classroom content or extended projects. Any US K12 educator can do this for free, at www.esri.com/connected, with lessons and a free school account. But students need not wait for their teachers to begin learning. Students can explore and learn, unfettered, at esriurl.com/k12gis. Intros, examples, videos, and other guidance await explorers of any age. Students contemplating careers, seeking coding resources, or just concerned about their future world, can launch on their own, for free.

We have begun creeping toward sustainability, but that global conveyor belt makes our net progress uncertain. We need students to arise, look around, view the patterns and relationships, gauge the net movement, and lend fresh vision, passion, and mission to the push toward sustainability. Thinking geographically, using GIS, will help.

Charlie Fitzpatrick, Esri Education Manager

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Fun with GIS 191: Survey123

Gathering great field data can be a challenge. A new Esri tool makes it much easier. Survey123 is robust and easy for educators to begin using.

Survey123 relies on a carefully crafted spreadsheet to define the data elements and parameters. The power and familiarity of a spreadsheet make the task manageable even for non-data-wonks. A simple survey can be built and published in a minute (watch the video!), and tested and expanded iteratively. The result is a powerful survey for deployment in the Survey123 app on iOS and Android tablets and smartphones, online or offline, supporting picture attachments, with a map. And anyone in an Org can use it.

Android tablet and iPhone view of same survey

The short intro video (on YouTube) shows the guts. The browser approach is very simple, but the more powerful spreadsheet process takes a little getting used to, and an example helps. I have built a spreadsheet that anyone can download and use inside their Org (as is or customized) to gather some non-invasive personal data, in English or Spanish. Watch the video, download the spreadsheet, and examine how it was built. Publish it once as is, and have students create data on mobile devices, populating the feature service you’ve published. Then look at the data in ArcGIS Online, and finish by dreaming aloud about the data you could gather to amplify learning.

This is a great tool for getting students actively engaged in generating data. The whole class could collaborate on design of a survey, or teams could build their own on different topics — about wildlife in the community, local water quality, visitors to a regional attraction, nearby historic sites, features along routes to school, locations that could support butterfly gardens, and so on. Check out the sample spreadsheet and Survey123!

Charlie Fitzpatrick
Esri Education Manager

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Call for beta testers: Advanced Human Geography GeoInquiries

GeoInquiries are designed to be fast and easy-to-use instructional resources that AP Human Geography GeoInquiriesincorporate advanced web mapping technology. Each 15-minute activity in a collection is intended to be presented by the instructor from a single computer/projector classroom arrangement. No installation, fees, or logins are necessary to use these materials and software.

The Advanced Human Geography GeoInquiry Collection (project homepage) is now in public beta testing.   If you would like to contribute your experiences using a geoinquiry activity with students, submit your comments to http://esriurl.com/GeoInquiryFeedback   

The beta collection contains the following activities:

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Fun with GIS 185: Integrating STEM

“In which class does GIS belong?” I’m often asked. “Wherever you encourage critical thinking,” I reply. With furrowed brow, they continue, “We don’t teach geography, so maybe US history, or environmental science? Certainly not English or math or language. But, high school career tech, or middle school gifted, or what?” I smile and say “All of those, for sure, but more. Wherever you want students to dive in, explore, analyze data, integrate, present, and collaborate. Certainly from 4th grade on up, for every student, in all subjects, but even younger students can benefit. Web-based GIS means it is accessible on any connected device, anytime, anywhere.”

School should be a process in which all students learn why and how to learn; scaffold thinking skills; find, analyze, and interpret data; practice making decisions; engage deeply; integrate, communicate, and collaborate; create and share; listen, observe, and reflect. The content can vary widely, and GIS can be a great tool for all of these, whether examining community demographics, national history, soil productivity, urban planning, factors affecting variation in climate models, or the density of ant colonies across the school playground.

The recent meeting of the State Educational Technology Directors Association (SETDA) featured a presentation by the Math, Science, and Technology Magnet Academy of Roosevelt High School, from the Boyle Heights neighborhood of East Los Angeles. Four seniors and two alums, plus the 11th grade English and Social Studies teachers and principal, shared their story. Each year, the juniors have a major project that is service learning, community based, personally chosen, team designed, data driven, justice-oriented, intensely researched and analyzed, and mapped, written, and taught. In this STEM school, two “non-STEM” teachers coach the class on how to use ArcGIS Online to enrich their experience, expand their skills, integrate their knowledge, gather field data to expand their findings, and power their presentation. The standing ovation by state and national leaders at SETDA is what students in all grades, all subjects, all schools should be earning.


(Above: Adult and student presenters. SETDA presentation visible there, or see this presentation by MSTMA/RHS at Esri’s 2013 User Conference, before 10,000 GIS professionals.)

Any US K12 school can have the same GIS used by MSTMA, for free, via Esri’s ConnectED offer. Teachers who want an easy starting point will find instructional materials with which to explore the basics, in classic content or one’s own vision. Schools seeking to replicate the MSTMA model need to be willing to cross lines, break down barriers, and let go the reins of adult control and empower students.

Charlie Fitzpatrick, Esri Education Manager

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