SENCER, the signature initiative of the National Center for Science & Civic Engagement, is a national project focused on empowering faculty and improving STEM teaching and learning by making connections to civic issues. This article explores recent work that the Esri education team in collaboration with educators is doing to advance spatial thinking and GIS in science research and communication.
Learning works best when students engage, when they get to do, not just receive. Designing their own adventure and digging in can be magical, liberating. Independent work may yield stumbles and bumps, but will also foster humble reflection, critical thinking, curiosity, and creativity. This is what the ArcGIS Online Competition for US High School and Middle School Students promises -- a chance for students to research, build, and present.
Students in teams of one or two can research a project of their choosing about a geographic phenomenon in their state. They must investigate, build maps about their subject, document their work, craft a story, and present it as compellingly as they can. Students submit their project to their school, which chooses its five best to send to the state. Participating states will have funds to award $100 per project up to five projects from grades 9-12 and five projects from grades 4-8.
Depending on the national health situation, top state awardees at high school and middle school levels may be in a final judging for national awards. Regardless, participants will have built critical skills, attitudes, and perspectives that never expire. The projects may reflect an already long-simmering interest, or spark a new enduring passion. Even just examining results from previous years may open young eyes to stories and connections never before contemplated.
Blue = participating in 2021. Click to see info.
Students in the states participating this year are eligible, and can work at school or remotely. Students need a login, which schools can provide for free, and projects get submitted through the school. See the full details for more info, and encourage students you know, of all backgrounds, to participate. Together, we can build understanding, perspective, and a better world.
For most educators, time is a "top three" resource. In this 24x7 connected but COVID-fractured world, a little time with a peer group can seem a vacation. Focusing on one's craft, hearing from others enduring familiar challenges, and discovering peers' secrets can bring a sprinkle of joy, a glimmer of hope, a touch of stability, even a pinch of self-worth, all oases to educators "alone in a desert."
In 2009, Esri launched a week-long residential summer institute for educators. GIS technology was a challenge for educators to pick up on their own, so "Teachers Teaching Teachers GIS" (aka "T3G") was a professional development experience that introduced new visions, tools, strategies, and friendships. The T3G mission was to help more educators be able to use GIS in instruction, improve the educational experience for all, and thereby build a better world.
The blistering evolution in technology, GIS, and digital learning took us from disconnected desktop tools to online mapping to remote learning. The 2017, '18, and '19 institutes occurred on Zoom, after which the explosion of content meant teachers could learn on their own; fragmentation of time necessitated a "just in time" fashion. But the networking continued, by email, forum, webinar, and physical events.
T3G was born a closed group but, with COVID, opened its doors to any interested educator. The requirement for membership remains as "a passion for helping other educators use GIS in instruction," but the fundamental resources we rely on to teach learners of all ages are publicly available, at https://esriurl.com/t3g. A listserv, forum, webinar, and hoped for in-person meetings still bind us together.
January's "T3G Third Thursday Webinar," Thu Jan 21 at 5-6pmPT, will be a chance to share something that helped during the period from March-December of 2020. With time ever more precious, we invite educators to invest an hour and take a bit of solace, a tech hint, or a teaching strategy. See the webinar page, put your own entry in the survey, register to attend, and join us, at https://esriurl.com/t3g.
A new article from our colleague Dr Wing Cheung from Palomar College in the Spatial Reserves data blog describes how to find and obtain imagery taken from Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS, or Drone) platforms.
This essay provides connections between the original and revised Bloom's Taxonomy of Educational Objectives to the tenets and practice of instruction with GIS. Many connections exist; use these to demonstrate the value of teaching with GIS to your colleagues and administrators, and use these as a guide for planning your own curricular activities and course goals.
Join us for a discussion of Story Maps in Education. We will focus on common uses and innovative approaches, as well as discuss current/future needs of the Education Community. The presenters will focus on various topics, such as 1) Story Maps in the classroom/teaching, 2) Offboarding students, 3) Automation with Story Maps/handling of assignment submissions. 4) Collaboration in building and sharing resources, 5) Future updates/direction for Story Map product development, among others.
What did you do for GIS Day 2020? I hope you had a spatial time. Over 1,200 events were registered and hosted all over the world, by universities, schools, government agencies, nonprofit organizations, and private industry. In this article I list some of the events I was privileged to present in virtually, mention a few others, and ask you in the community what you were up to! Many of these events used ArcGIS Hub and other innovative tools and ideas for advertizing and hosting their events.