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GeoInquiries are free, short, pre-constructed classroom activities on standard classroom content using ArcGIS Online. They are easy for teachers to use as is or to adapt. "Level One" activities require a device with internet connection but no install, no download, no login, just choose and use; "Level Two" activities require at least one login with publishing privileges in order to do analysis. GeoInquiries work in a vast range of learning situations, from the one-device-plus-presentation classroom on up to totally individualized approaches.

 

GeoInquiries video

 

A newly revised 6-minute video introducing GeoInquiries is now viewable and downloadable. It provides guidance sufficient so even those brand new to ArcGIS Online can teach effectively with GeoInquiries.

 

Anyone seeking to modify GeoInquiries, or construct locally-focused versions, or see other strategies for using them, should see the GeoInquiries zone on GeoNet. It's also a great place to ask questions or post ideas for designers.

 

Share the video with colleague! Help them discover how to take advantage of great content and tools, all free for schools and enticing to students.

This short article describes a process where Python was used to harvest metadata from a list of identified ArcGIS Online maps and the maps’ data services. The data were logged to MySQL (with pymysql); a PHP web search and discovery page was created.  The process allows for keyword searching in titles and descriptions of maps and data layers. 

 

Read more >>

Happy 2019! Ready to learn? 

 

These massive open online courses are free and those who complete a course receive a certificate. Students work at their own pace when they have time. Come join us!

 

Going Places with Spatial Analysis is a six week course that covers why geography matters and how to think like a geographer to solve problems that involve location.

 

Do-it-Yourself Geo Apps is a four week course that introduces code-free ways to turn a map into an interactive application on the Web or a mobile device.

A transect is a path across an area. Geographers, both formal and informal, often follow a transect across an area to explore the changes between here and there. Sometimes the changes are close together and dramatic; other times a transect must cover a long distance before yielding a significant change in landform, land use, building style, population density, and so on.

 

Educators can't always go on actual field trips. Limits in time, spending, and permissions may constrain what a class can do in real life. But a class that knows how to use ArcGIS Online can conduct a virtual transect, looking at many characteristics visible in the field and some that are invisible in the field. The Virtual Transect app shows you how.

 

Virtual Transect app

 

First, look at the example, a tiny town in central Washington, then think about building your own. Mark a corner of the school grounds with a map note, then create rings of a distance that one might experience on foot (0.5 miles), by bicycle (2 miles), or in a car (10 miles). Using the imagery layer (as basemap or as an added layer), mark out changes in the land radiating outward. Then add some layers from the Living Atlas to find additional changes in the patterns of land and people.

 

I did a similar description of this process years ago, when ArcGIS Online was just getting started. It is so much more powerful now, with more data, more analysis tools, more presentation options, more collaboration possible using an ArcGIS Online Organization. These tools let explore, analyze, illuminate, and describe patterns, and then determine actions to make the world a better place. While the best experience is clearly from mixing the real thing with the digital, you can begin right there in the classroom, doing a Virtual Transect.

We on the Esri education outreach team receive regular inquiries from instructors who want to see examples of the use web maps and applications as instruments for students to communicate the results of their learning and their research.  They also want to see maps that at the same time serve as assessment instruments for the instructor to gauge student learning.  One of the best examples I have seen lately is the work that Dr Karen R. Lips at the University of Maryland's Department of Biology has been doing.  I was even more impressed because this was her first use of story maps, and yet the resulting maps and her approach were extremely innovative!  I also liked the fact that in her assessment rubric, she placed weight on the content, but also in the students' effective means of communication.  And in her story map instructions, she provided what I thought was just the right amount of information--she didn't bury the students with too much, but gave them enough to get started and become confident, with links for them to keep learning and growing. 

 

I asked Dr Lips to share her work so that the entire GIS education community could benefit, and she has graciously done so, including the attached instructions and rubrics, selected examples that follow, and her instructional reflections below.  Selected examples from the students include the life and death of coral reefs, Biodiversity:  A Cure for Going Bananas, the Unsung Utility of Oysters, the Path from Monoculture to Sustainability, Of Mice and Men:  How Habitat Fragmentation Facilitates the Spread of Lyme DiseaseHaiti's environmental chaos, biodiversity and poverty in the nation's capital, Biodiversity Hotspots:  Nigeria, and Getting Ticked off by Deforestation.   

 

Dr Lips said, "At the University of Maryland College Park, I teach a non-majors Honors course called Biodiversity Matters, in which we do a variety of readings and activities to show how dependent humans are on biodiversity in every aspect of their lives, from food, to medicine and bioengineering, to clothing and housing, to large scale coastal protection, national security, and international relations. Essentially the course demonstrates the many kinds of goods and services provide by nature (“Natural Capital”) and how those goods and services contribute to human health and well-being. My goal was to show that biodiversity is not a special interest dependent on philanthropy, but should be viewed as the foundation of life on earth that provides sustaining resources to human society. I directly link course topics to the majors of the students to show them how biodiversity intersects their lives and how they have a role in
conserving biodiversity. 


The secondary theme of the course is communication. We learn about using the Compass MessageBox to articulate our
message and describe the “So What”, and we compare writing styles of scientific papers to the media coverage of the same studies. We met with a science writer from a major publication to understand the publishing process and how to write for science news, and we compared the differences in the approaches and techniques to science communication in scientific articles, popular articles, and in videos. I designed three major assignments to assess students’ abilities to communicate the importance of biodiversity: (a) in writing through an initial Op-Ed piece, (b) in using visuals and audio by producing an end-of-semester video, and (c) at the midway point, through a combination of writing and visuals with an Esri Story Map. My goals were to demonstrate a continuum of communication styles, show how images can often make a point better than words, and encourage students to think about data visualization.


Developing a Story Map Assignment: This summer I learned that the UMD library has a GIS lab, with full time staff that are available to offer training to faculty and students in the use of ArcGIS. Before the semester began, I met with Dr. Kelly O’Neal and together we identified Story Maps as an easy-to-use platform for students without any GIS experience. This would allow them to make maps, import them into a Story Map, and add images and text to produce an attractive project. I searched the web for examples of how other faculty had used Story Maps in classes, but found few examples (but see https://oceansolutions.stanford.edu/education-and-teaching-resources), and even fewer teaching resources for faculty (i.e., syllabi, lesson plans, project descriptions, grading rubrics). I wrote to Dr. Dawn Wright to see if Esri might
have teaching materials that I had missed. She introduced me to Dr. Joseph Kerski who suggested sharing my resources in a blog post.


Once the semester began I met with students individually to identify topics of interest to them that related to the course theme and which were likely to have available data layers, and introduced them to the Story Map platform. The UMD GIS lab taught ArcGIS basics to my class during a one hour workshop. This was followed by a final one-on-one meeting between each student and the GIS lab staff to identify data that would illustrate their report. I met with students on an as-needed basis while they completed their Story Map. 


Assessment: Students really enjoyed this assignment. Students were very creative in their choice of topics and in how they presented data visually. They thought it was a very useful way of producing an illustrated report, and could see how to apply it in some of their other courses. None of them had ever used GIS before, and only a few had ever heard of GIS before they did this assignment. They thought that it was relatively easy to use and most had no major problems with the system. As the instructor, I thought that this format was much more interesting than the traditional format of a written report, and thought it allowed a much greater immersion into the topic. I encouraged several students to submit their Story Map to the annual student competition. I think that with additional time working with ArcGIS, and learning how to import and manipulate data students of any background or in any major could produce high quality Story Map projects.

 

Resources: I include the Lesson Plan with Instructions for the assignment. I incorporated some of the introductory material from information found on the Stanford website (see above), but the majority of instructions are adapted from previous assignments in my earlier Honors Courses. My grading rubric is based on the text of the instructions, and language adopted from various online grading rubrics. A huge thanks to Dr. Kelly O’Neal and her staff at UMD Libraries
for their assistance and guidance – I definitely plan to do this again in my other classes.

The USGS poster "Geographic Information Systems" has been scanned and is now available online in the following location:  https://pubs.er.usgs.gov/publication/70201216

Though dated, it still provides some of the fundamentals of what GIS is and why it matters (Disclaimer:  I am also proud to say that I was the major author of this poster during my tenure at the USGS). 

--Joseph Kerski 

Hi Everyone,

 

If you use the ArcGIS API for Python to script provisioning of ArcGIS licensing, please read on…

 

As you may know, yesterday there was an update to ArcGIS Online. In conjunction, there was a release of the ArcGIS API for Python, version 1.5.2, which included better support for the new user types.

 

  1. We recommend updating to version 1.5.2 of the Python API, which is now available on the Esri conda channel. Note, the developer website will NOT go live until Monday. Please take a look at the following blog for more information.

 

  1. Please note that the name of the AppStudio entitlement has changed – it used to be “AppStudio for ArcGIS Standard”. Now it is “AppStudio for ArcGIS”. The key, “appstudiostd” stays the same. Please update your scripts accordingly, if you are currently provisioning AppStudio for ArcGIS Standard. Side note, this is to reflect a change of licensing for AppStudio – moving forward, and once migrated to the new institution agreement/site license, AppStudio Basic will be available to anyone via ArcGIS Online, while AppStudio Standard will be licensed through the ArcGIS Developer Subscription only. Further information can be found here.

 

Thanks to University of Michigan, University of Minnesota and Virginia Tech for testing early and confirming the above.

 

Let us know if you have any questions.

I was approached by a large K12 educational entity (greater than 10k) that wanted to implement SSO for user account creation and authentication.  However, they also wanted teachers to have publisher roles and students to have user roles.

 

Read more. >>

Simply sharing, AWS/Azure/GCP resources for research and teaching use - web meeting/presentations for instructional and research use, along with discussed resources.  

 

 

Please let us know if we can be of further help.  

I recently wrote about 15 inspiring GIS Day stories from the events held in 2018.  Many of the GIS Day events were held in schools, libraries, museums, universities, and other educational settings:  15 Inspiring GIS Day 2018 Success Stories   It is my hope that these stories inspire you to continue to make a difference with GIS in education not only on GIS Day, but throughout the year. 

 

--Joseph Kerski

GeoInquiries(TM) have revolutionized “teaching with GIS,” by making this remarkable technology accessible even to teachers with modest technology, tech skills, and instructional time. In 2014, Esri started offering ArcGIS Online accounts to every US K12 school for free for instruction. Launched at the same time, GeoInquiries collections have grown to nine sets of 15-20 lessons (150 in all so far), presenting standards-based content through ArcGIS Online. GeoInquiries combine concise two-page documents with unique prepared maps using the standard ArcGIS Online Map Viewer interface, requiring no download, install, or even login for initial activities. (See short intro movie. “Level 2” activities require an Organization-based login with publishing privileges to do analyses.)

 

GeoInquiries website

 

With varied instructional strategies, teachers can cover key content in bite-sized chunks through interactive experiences. Provided instructions follow an inquiry approach, to leverage curiosity and engage students as powerfully as time and conditions permit. Over time, we have seen teachers use stylistic variations.

 

Mini-Lecture: Some teachers know their subject matter very well, and need simply a way to illustrate quickly a few geographic patterns and relationships in a few minutes. They project from their computer to a screen at the front of the room. Some teachers even do this to present in multiple classrooms at once -- in their regular classroom and simultaneously in another across town (even across the state), where there isn’t a teacher available to teach the course.

 

Guided Discovery: It takes a little more time and attention to the teacher instructions to ask a steady stream of questions designed to entice responses from a whole class at once and steer students collectively toward discovering fundamental goals of a lesson. But even for teachers doing this multiple times in a day, unique class makeup can yield very different paths from one session to the next.

 

Worksheet World: Some teachers provide students a custom worksheet and, after a quick intro, ask students to go step-by-step. Some teachers aim simply to have learners document factual responses, but building student engagement by incorporating higher level questions at different points (either at a specific step or at a common time) often yields more active students.

 

Weather GeoInquiry

 

Teacher Tryouts: A few teachers issue copies of the unedited teacher page and ask students to go through the activity within a specific time period, following the specified structure, and preparing to respond to follow-up questions or to craft their own powerful questions, or, for fun, “stumpers.”

 

Meandering for Meaning: Some teachers ask students to open the map and explore the content without much guidance beyond an overarching idea or concept. With riveting content this can be effective, but insufficient guidance can permit less focused students to meander much farther afield. (See “Presentations” below.)

 

Presentation Power: To reduce digital meandering, exercise analytical thinking, or expand creativity, some teachers engage “Presentations.” After a quick intro to the content, students save the GeoInquiry into their own account, explore for perhaps 10 minutes, then take about 15 minutes to construct their own “3-slide presentation” focused on their own view of the big idea of the lesson. Sharing their creation with two other students before assessment by the teacher can support big ideas while stimulating some creative designs. (See blog about this, http://esriurl.com/funwithgis229)

 

Level 2 GeoInquiry

 

Teachers can mix and match these modes even within a single lesson. Whatever the strategy, GeoInquiries offer teachers the chance to engage students with dynamic content, often on their own devices, helping them identify patterns and relationships, which build more solid background. With a few GeoInquiries under their belt, students and teachers may be ready for deeper dives, doing analyses with "Level 2 lessons," or going beyond pre-structured content into custom projects. GeoInquiries offer a powerful on-ramp to learning, thinking, building, and doing with technology, which is an essential skill for today's learners at all ages. See the collections at esri.com/geoinquiries.

Single sign-on uses a school district’s identity provider software (such as Microsoft Active Directory or Google G Suite) to support student authentication on devices, when accessing the school network, or when using district software.  Single sign-on provides three broad categories of benefits to teachers: increased instructional time, stability and support across the school, and reduced teacher liability.   Read more >>

Dear Colleagues:

 

You have likely seen information about the new User Types coming out in the December 4th release of ArcGIS Online. Some of you have asked how these new User Types will affect Education program offerings, therefore we wanted to provide an update.

 

Overall, not much will change immediately for those of us with Education program licenses, such as Site/Institution licenses, Lab Kit/Academic Department licenses, or Schools bundles.  However, these changes lay the groundwork for streamlining ArcGIS administration even further and we will see additional changes in the coming months.

 

What is changing in this December 4th release:

 

  • Level 1 named users will automatically be converted to Viewer User type.
  • Level 2 named users will automatically be converted to a Creator User type.
  • All capabilities of each user type remain the same.
  • Roles remain the same (Administrator, Publisher, User, Custom Roles, etc.).
  • An updated look/interface and updated Licenses and Members pages and workflows.  
  • For existing users, any already assigned licenses/entitlements will remain assigned.
  • For new users, licenses/entitlements of ArcGIS Pro and other apps (Business Analyst, Insights, etc.) will need to be assigned, as before.

 

Additional information on changes in this December 4th release can be found here.

 

What does the introduction of the new User Types mean over the coming months (i.e. future releases):

 

  • We anticipate additional changes in the March 2019 ArcGIS Online release which will provide the ability to configure additional app assignments in enterprise login settings.
  • We will continue to work towards automated provisioning of all apps included in Education program offerings so you can easily and efficiently provide your users with access to the full capabilities of ArcGIS.

 

In summary, this December release introduces some exciting new changes, and will see additional changes over the coming months. In the meantime, we continue to recommend enabling enterprise logins, if you haven’t yet, and following these best practices for administering ArcGIS.

 

Please let us know if you have any questions, feel free to post here.

A true craftsman uses skill developed deliberately, with attention to detail, and often with signature elements. Lyn Malone is a craftswoman. A teacher of social studies in grades 7-12 from 1970-2002, and provider of professional development since, Lyn designed lessons, activities, and projects used by thousands that covered key content, but did so with the eye of an artist and mind of an analyst. Even her casual conversation uses complete sentences that vary in structure.

 

"My Bachelors degree was in history, and my Masters in American Civilization, which is much more interdisciplinary than straight history." Her early teaching career spanned the breadth of the social studies, all in senior high. "But I always loved geography, always loved maps. I went down to Middle School in 1983, and started going in evenings to Rhode Island School of Design," building over the years a certificate in scientific and technical illustration. She started doing maps, and illustrations of historical artifacts, but that industry shifted to digital faster than could a full-time teacher who was also working with the new Rhode Island Geography Education Alliance.

 

As with many educators in the 1990's, GIS did not come easily for Lyn. "I went to at least three full-day workshops introducing GIS, and loved them, but couldn't make anything happen. That's why the 1998 institute" [an intense, two-week, day-long, GIS boot camp for teachers] "was such a huge boost." What followed were new activities, interdisciplinary, sometimes in concert with colleagues in other departments, schools, and even states, and built always from the perspectives of both designer and analyst. "I loved working with data, especially about population. Not so much building it, but finding and discovering what could be done with data others had assembled."

 

In 2000, Barrington Middle School won the first "Esri Community Atlas" contest, which challenged students to craft a website with simple but powerful maps portraying the community. Lyn and three students from grades 7-8 were invited to present their work on stage at the 2000 Esri User Conference. It was so well crafted and delivered that Roger Tomlinson ("the father of GIS") stood in line to talk with them, General James Clapper congratulated them and handed each student a commemorative coin, and Esri president Jack Dangermond whispered "We have to do this again," launching what has become a regular UC Plenary highlight.

 

With signature panache, Lyn models the latest in GIS vocabulary at T3G,

and dons foul weather gear to model GeoNews for a class.

 

Those attributes earned Lyn a spot co-authoring a ground-breaking curriculum package, Mapping Our World (in several versions), followed by Community Geography. In 2009, Lyn helped launch Esri's educator institute, Teachers Teaching Teachers GIS (T3G). Numerous events in New England and far beyond, for educators and the wider public, have featured her activities and presentations, always models of focus, detail, and elegant design.

 

Describing T3G as "Part boot camp, part religious revival," Lyn captures the essence.

 

Eventually, though, even artisans slow down. With almost five decades of instruction behind her, Lyn is looking forward to a little more leisurely travel, reading, art, and maybe classes, with fewer deadlines. But the many thousands who have engaged with her lessons stand a chance of seeing a complicated world more clearly, with geographic patterns and relationships illuminated through GIS. Thank you, Lyn!

Greetings all and, if you are in the USA, Happy Thanksgiving. This “where does Thanksgiving dinner come from” story map: https://storymaps.esri.com/stories/2017/thanksgiving-dinner/ could be useful for many reasons:  

 

1)   Like many good maps, it is great for examining spatial patterns, and also for challenging some preconceived notions (did you know that Wisconsin was so prominent in growing green beans, for example?). 

2)  The excellent use of symbols and other cartographic techniques might be useful discussion points in geography, GIS, and cartography courses.

3)  Examine the metadata--this map was created from data from the USDA Census of Agriculture.  How did the data get compiled?  

4)  How can you create a series type of story map like this one, on your own topic of interest?

5)  Use this map to spark some “spatial” discussions with your friends and family.   Enjoy.  And thank a farmer!

 

Thanksgiving Map

--Joseph Kerski 

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