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2018

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.

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