Tag Archives: Training

The Conservation Training Resource

With special thanks to Jamie Chesser, e-Learning Designer and Developer at The Nature Conservancy for this guest blog.

As I write this, I am reminded that today is the first day of Autumn or the Autumnal Equinox. How truly fast summer came and went! With the kids back to school and summer vacations over, you should have more time now right? Maybe a little more time to learn something new? Check out www.conservationtraining.org. Have you visited before? If not, you should!

ConservationTraining is worth reviewing. Our site provides a plethora of conservation knowledge, from experts around the world to our learner community. All courses are free and available anytime from anywhere, as our mission is to share training with our conservation colleagues across the world. Some courses are even offered in multiple languages.

Numbers can be kind of boring; however, we are really excited about these numbers. ConservationTraining currently has 30,000+ users representing 200 countries. Since 2009, The Nature Conservancy along with several amazing partner organizations, like the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and the IUCN, have created 400+ hours of content in more than 15 curriculums.

Our courses touch on a variety of science and technology including GIS, Climate Change – REDD+, and Protected Areas (and more). The Fundamentals of GIS for Conservation course uses ArcGIS and interesting and relevant data examples to paint a beautiful picture of how pertinent GIS is to the field of conservation. The curriculum, originally developed by The Nature Conservancy, Wildlife Conservation Society, and the World Wildlife Fund, is comprised of six (6) courses that focus on the foundational concepts of GIS. The course has several learning components including podcasts, web-based, self-paced trainings, demonstrations, and more to help students gain knowledge on foundational GIS topics. Technology does change, we do our best to stay current with the technology. Our team is currently working on an update for this course – more details will be forthcoming.

Why not give it a look? You really won’t be sorry. Oh, and please know for the caretakers of ConservationTraining, this is just the beginning; there is much more work to be done. Happy learning!

Question or comments, we are happy to chat! Contact Jamie Chesser at ctptraining@tnc.org.

The Conservation Training Resource

The Conservation Training Resource

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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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Geography Summer Camp 2016: Online 5-Week Geography Course

Geography summer camp?   I will be offering an exciting 5-week online course beginning 25 May 2016 entitled Teaching Geography for the 21st Century.  You can register here.

Geography Summer Camp:  Online Course

Geography Summer Camp: Online Course 2016.

Geography is considered one of the world’s oldest disciplines, pioneered by Eratosthenes in 250 BC, and has a rich tradition of scholarship and innovation. Yet geography has always embraced new technologies, research practices, instructional methods, skills, and content. How can geography be taught in the 21st Century, embracing its rich heritage and yet looking forward to emerging and exciting tools and perspectives? What content should be included? What skills should be developed?

Furthermore, why should geography be taught in the 21st Century? Why is it relevant to the understanding of and decision-making in 21st Century society, the environment, and current events?

I will teach this course through eNet Learning, whose mission is to provide high-quality professional development, content, and resources that support educators and student learning.  Watch this friendly video to discover more about the course.

This course is designed to build geographic concepts, perspectives, and skills for those teaching geography and those teaching other disciplines who seek to use the geographic framework.  The goal is to enable and equip educators to teach the subject of geography in engaging and informed ways; to help educators and their students to understand why and how geography is relevant to 21st Century life. Population, land use, urban, economic, health, hazards, and other themes will be addressed. A focus will be on scale, systems thinking, critical thinking, time and space, and place, through an inquiry-driven, hands-on, problem-based format. The course includes pedagogical strategies and technological tools to teach conceptual foundations, skills, and geographic perspectives. Hands-on activities will offer deep immersion in several tools, including ArcGIS Online, which provides an easy-to-use, powerful platform for analysis and investigation.  We will also use the Urban Observatory, the Change Matters viewer,  storymaps, and other exciting tools.

If you are already thinking spatially and wondering about the photographs at right, I took the top image in Savannah, Georgia, and the bottom on the shoreline at the UCSB campus in Santa Barbara, California.

Participants will be equipped to: 1) Identify, describe, and discuss urban, economic, land use, natural hazards, health, and population issues foundational to geography at different geographical and temporal scales. 2) Apply geographic principles to effectively teach geography with the geographic perspective, and 3) Understand how to incorporate geospatial technologies, including dynamic web maps, charts, and data, to teach geography.  If you have colleagues that you are trying to “nudge” into spatial thinking and the use of geotechnologies, please tell them about this opportunity.

See you online in our “Geography Summer Camp”!

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Desperately Learning

Something that Esri founder and president Jack Dangermond said this summer at one of the Young Professionals Network panel sessions at the Esri User Conference this past summer has stuck with me ever since: Jack said that he is “desperately learning.”

It was the first time I had heard this adverb applied to learning and I liked it immediately. I think it typifies the attitude of those involved with GIS in education, and one that we need to cultivate in our students.  I believe it has several key implications, as I describe below and in this video.

The adverb implies that learning is lifelong. GIS technology is rapidly changing, with citizen science tools, users as data publishers, mobile applications, open data, 3D tools, and the evolution of GIS to the web to name a few. The application areas for GIS are rapidly expanding, as is the audience for communicating the results of GIS analysis and the means available for communicating one’s GIS story.

But more than that, “desperately learning” implies that learning takes effort. Learning takes hard work; it takes initiative; it requires challenging oneself to try new methods and tools. It requires listening and continually asking questions.

Finally, “desperately learning” implies that learning is imperative. It is not an option. Given the complex and vexing challenges our world is facing, we cannot be complacent in our work in education and GIS. Indeed, the world needs the contribution of all of us involved with grappling with issues of water, energy, human health, crime, land use, urban planning, natural hazards, and other issues that GIS can be of great utility in understanding, modeling, and solving.  As my colleague Charlie Fitzpatrick wrote recently, we need to be learning quickly–there’s no time to lose.

Are you “desperately learning?” How are you fostering this attitude in your students?

Are you "Desperately Learning"?

Are you “Desperately Learning”?  There’s no time to lose–the world needs your contribution.

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Fun with GIS 182: T3G2016

Teaching is thrilling, exasperating, energizing, and exhausting, frequently in the same hour, but for those truly called to the craft, it is constantly captivating. Helping other educators grow their skills is even more … of everything. Now, imagine coupling this with GIS, a tool with the power to harness, reveal, integrate, explain, model, and even mesmerize, using the limitless and exploding data about the world, from macro to micro … a tool for understanding the world and solving problems.

Esri’s educator institute, “Teachers Teaching Teachers GIS,” is a chance to build skills in three distinct legs of a stool, all at once … in using GIS, teaching with technology, and providing professional development. But T3G relies on all three legs, and so is only for those hungry to help other educators use GIS. It is an event for both classroom practitioners and education influencers alike, from grade school to grad school, from one-room schools to district or state offices, from university deans to wizards of informal settings who enchant across many ages at once.

The 8th annual T3G is now receiving applications. T3G2016 seeks 100 passionate educators and influencers anxious to change the world, through education, with GIS. The event is Sunday July 17 – Fri July 22, 2016. Applications are available now, and due by Nov 9, 2015.

Be part of a growing community (see Map#5). Build your skills to make a difference, in lives, communities, and the planet. Check out the movies, take the prerequisite course, and read the application doc, even if you are not sure – these are all good steps for becoming a true artisan — a GIS-using educator.

Charlie Fitzpatrick, Esri Education Manager

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Why GIS in Education Matters: 1 Page Document

I have recently updated a document entitled “Why GIS in Education Matters” and have placed it online.  It represents my attempt to provide the most compelling and important reasons to teach and learn with Geographic Information Systems in a concise document that takes up no more than both sides of a single page.  While we have discussed other documents, messages, lessons, and videos in this blog over the years that are tailored to specific educational levels, needs, and content areas, this document contains the “essentials” that I have found resonate with the widest group of educators.  These essentials include critical thinking, career pathways, spatial thinking, the whys of where, asking good questions, sustainability and green technology, and mapping changes over space and time.

I am interested in your reactions to this document:  What is missing from this document? What is useful about this document?  In what settings could you use this in your own work with fellow faculty, with faculty from other disciplines, with administrators, with parents, and with students?  What do you include in your own documents with similar goals?

Why GIS in Education Matters

Why GIS in Education Matters, brief document outlining the value that teaching and learning with GIS brings to education.

Posted in Education, export, Higher Education, Schools | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

Geography Summer Camp: Online 5-Week Geography Course

Geography summer camp!  I will be offering an exciting 5-week online course beginning 24 June 2015 entitled Teaching Geography in the 21st Century.

Geography Summer Camp:  Online Course

Geography Summer Camp: Online Course.

Geography is considered one of the world world’s oldest disciplines, pioneered by Eratosthenes in 250 BC, and has a rich tradition of scholarship and innovation. Yet geography has always embraced new technologies, research practices, instructional methods, skills, and content. How can geography be taught in the 21st Century, embracing its rich heritage and yet looking forward to emerging and exciting tools and perspectives? What content should be included? What skills should be developed Furthermore, why should geography be taught in the 21st Century? Why is it relevant to the understanding of and decision-making in 21st Century society, the environment, and current events?

I will teach this course through eNet Learning, whose mission is to provide high-quality professional development, content, and resources that support educators and student learning.  Watch this friendly video to discover more about the course.

This course is designed to build geographic concepts, perspectives, and skills for those teaching geography and those teaching other disciplines who seek to use the geographic framework.  The goal is to enable and equip educators to teach the subject of geography in engaging and informed ways; to help educators and their students to understand why and how geography is relevant to 21st Century life. Population, land use, urban, economic, health, hazards, and other themes will be addressed. A focus will be on scale, systems thinking, critical thinking, time and space, and place, through an inquiry-driven, hands-on, problem-based format. The course includes pedagogical strategies and technological tools to teach conceptual foundations, skills, and geographic perspectives. Hands-on activities will offer deep immersion in several tools, including ArcGIS Online, which provides an easy-to-use, powerful platform for analysis and investigation.  We will also use the Urban Observatory, the Change Matters viewer, and a few other tools.  If you are already thinking spatially and wondering about the photographs at right, I took the top image in Savannah, Georgia, and the bottom on the shoreline at the UCSB campus in Santa Barbara, California.

Participants will be equipped to: 1) Identify, describe, and discuss urban, economic, land use, natural hazards, health, and population issues foundational to geography at different geographical and temporal scales. 2) Apply geographic principles to effectively teach geography with the geographic perspective, and 3) Understand how to incorporate geospatial technologies, including dynamic web maps, charts, and data, to teach geography. If you missed the first opportunity to take this course (September), now is your chance!  You can register here.  If you have colleagues that you are trying to “nudge” into spatial thinking and the use of geotechnologies, please tell them about this opportunity.

See you online in our “Geography Summer Camp”!

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Kolb’s Learning Cycle and Styles: Connections to GIS Education

Those of us in GIS education continually strive to ensure that our teaching methods adhere to respected and innovative learning styles.  Adult learning theorist David Kolb’s Experiential Learning Theory (1984) works on two levels:  A four stage cycle of learning and four separate learning styles.  I believe Kolb’s cycle and styles can help inform how we can more effectively teach with GIS and about GIS.

Kolb’s experiential learning style theory includes these “stops” along a cycle:  1.  Concrete Experience, where a new experience of situation is encountered, such as what happens while performing a task, followed by 2. Reflective Observation of the new experience, followed by 3. Abstract Conceptualization, where reflection gives rise to a new idea, or a modification of an existing abstract concept, and, finally 4. Active Experimentation, where the learner applies the experience to the world around them to see what results.  At first glance, pausing at each of these stops seems like something we already do in our GIS-based assignments. However, at times we hear from students who feel that they are “going through the motions” in technical tasks and aren’t assimilating and conceptualizing what they are doing.  Therefore, a critical examination from time to time of how we are enabling students to reflect upon their learning and apply it may be challenging, but helpful as we strive to improve the effectiveness of our instruction.

Kolb’s learning styles attempt to identify an individual’s predominant way of learning, and include (1) Diverging–those who watch from different perspectives; they are good brainstormers. (2) Assimilating–those who prefer a concise, logical explanation and approach.  They are good organizers.  (3) Converging–those who can solve problems and will use their learning to find solutions to practical issues. (4) Accommodating–those who prefer “hands-on” learning, often rely on intuition rather than logic, are able to meet challenges, and who like new experiences.

Kolb’s learning stages and cycle could be used by GIS educators to critically evaluate how they are teaching, and ensure that they design GIS activities to be carried out in ways that offer each learner the chance to engage in the manner that suits them best. Also, the activities should be taught in ways that usually take students through the whole cycle.

Kolb believes that the learner must be involved in the planning of the learning experience if experiential learning is to be fully effective.  How can we ensure that the learner has a say in our GIS courses, over and above the standard “GIS project” assignment?

Kolb, D. A. (1984). Experiential learning: Experience as the source of learning and development (Vol. 1). Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.

How might you use Kolb's Learning Cycles when you teach GIS?

How might you use Kolb’s Learning Cycles when you teach GIS?

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Go Places with Spatial Analysis via a MOOC from Esri

Looking to improve your spatial analysis skills or maybe step into the world of spatial analysis for the first time?  If so, sign up for the next offering of the “Going Places with Spatial Analysis” MOOC from Esri, beginning 4 March 2015.  If you are new to MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses), they are wonderful experiences featuring hands-on work with tools, solving problems, learning key content via videos and other means, networking with colleagues, and testing your newfound knowledge.

The Going Places with Spatial Analysis MOOC is for people who know something about data analysis and want to learn about the special capabilities of spatial data analysis. Spatial analysis focuses on location to gain a deeper understanding of data. Spatial analysis skills are in high demand by organizations around the world. You’ll get free access to the full analytical capabilities of ArcGIS Online, Esri’s cloud-based GIS platform. Previous experience with GIS software is helpful, but not necessary for tech-savvy problem solvers.

This course features:

  •  Hands-on exercises, short video lectures, quizzes, case studies and discussion.
  • 6 weeks of instruction, requiring 2 to 3 hours of study per week.
  • A certificate of completion and prizes.
  • Course dates: 4 March – 15 April 2015.

Could you and your career go places with spatial analysis?  Sign up today!

Going Places with Spatial Analysis Esri MOOC

Going Places with Spatial Analysis Esri MOOC.  Sign up today!

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Fun with GIS 168: The Only Constant

In November 1989, the Berlin Wall was coming down. The world was changing, dramatically, and quickly. A decade into teaching high school social studies, I told my students “Remember this. You will be able to tell your kids ‘I remember when…’ And get used to change. Be ready to adapt.” Later, a colleague reported hearing at a teacher conference “I wish things hadn’t changed. I had all my lectures in place. Now I have to have all new material, and nobody has written the new books yet.”

Twenty-five years later, the pace of change has only quickened, whether in politics, society, or technology. An employment analyst recently noted (I’m paraphrasing here) “What young people today need is not so much a specific bank of skills. They need the ability, and the drive, to learn new things constantly. New information, skills, and technologies. Constantly.”

This is true even with GIS. New tools, capacities, and data appear with dizzying speed. Each new technology opens new doors. GIS has leapt from mainframe to workstation to laptop, tablet, and smartphone. The ecosystem of tools is vastly more powerful now together than the sum of its isolated parts. The user who can integrate knowledge and cross-fertilize capacities, the better to address questions, is leaps ahead.

I still hear educators “missing the days, even just a few years ago, when things were simpler, and there weren’t so many tools and options. It’s hard now to know what to teach.” I disagree. One teaches students — and oneself — about the world, problem-solving, learning. Whether about the Berlin Wall, privacy, big data, or buttons on a smartphone app, the mission is “learning.” Learning to learn, learning to adapt, to the constantly changing world.

Charlie Fitzpatrick, Esri Education Manager

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