Find the educational value of a Storymap

2 weeks ago
Esri Regular Contributor
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Since the mid-90’s, national educational standards in the US have been used to provide guidance about what students should be taught – and at what level. Standards provide a scope (how deeply or broadly) should a concept be taught – and a sequence (in what order should the building blocks of a concept be taught).  Standards are important for many reasons, but one of the most valuable is the consistency they should help ensure in classroom learning.  Teaching is not an isolated experience (even when the classroom door closes).  Next week a student will change to a different section of the course, next month a student will transfer out of the school, and in May, most will move on to the next grade with a new teacher.  Consistency in teaching and learning helps reduce the disruption of the inevitable changes experienced by students.

Save for elective courses, especially those taught by a single teacher in a school or those that are only taught at one level, teachers are generally expected to help students learn a body of knowledge based on a state adoption (often "adaptation") of national standards.  They don’t usually just teach whatever “tickles their fancy” when they wake up that morning. Students also take state-mandated exams based on content outlined in standards and in some states, teacher compensation is based on their student performance on these tests.

In GIS and technical fields, professionals often work against a list of performance standards or KPIs.  That’s effectively what national curriculum standards do for learning in the US. How can GIS users help here? Rather than trying to convince an educator that X is more important than a state-mandated topic, how about showing additional elements and perspectives of the topic, using GIS to present a more holistic picture?

StoryMaps are quickly becoming the defacto container for a wide variety of map-based and non-map based content in the Esri community.  We see educators increasingly consuming StoryMaps (or having students consume them) as a part of an instructional activity.  To help decipher what aspects of educational standards a particular StoryMap's text may benefit, I’ve assembled a tool to help.  At this time, consider the returned list of standards, as a starting place for where a StoryMap might or might not fit into a standardized science curriculum. Other discipline areas to follow.

Visit the storymap, Find the educational value of a StoryMap.

About the Author
Geospatial technologies in K-12, higher education, teacher education, and informal learning. Esri Education Team