Fun with GIS 279: Oaks and Acorns

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11-22-2020 03:51 PM
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Centuries ago, David Everett wrote "Large streams from little fountains flow, tall oaks from little acorns grow." Everything worthwhile takes attention, effort, and time. It's certainly true of education, and GIS. ArcGIS School Bundles have been available for free to every US school since spring of 2014. Some regions now engage GIS broadly in schools while others do not; the map of Bundle sites does not match that of population.

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The ArcGIS Online Competition for US High School and Middle School Students lets students in grades 4-12 show what they can do, individually or as a pair. They need to research a topic in their state, assemble a storymap, and submit it to their teacher. The competition fosters key skills: exploration, research, design, analysis, data management, cartography, documentation, storytelling. Starting out, some struggle to define a topic or ask a clear question; some flounder a bit because there are not pre-defined procedures or even blazed trails to follow. Just like adults, students who persevere sometimes reap unexpected rewards.

But students, teachers, and schools can engage only where a "state leadership team" applies to participate (see Part VII of the full info). That takes coordination, a bit of effort, a stitch of time, and someone to be the first acorn. Every state is different, but every state has thousands of educators from grade school to grad school, plus GIS users who work in business, government, and nonprofits, plus conservation groups, youth-serving groups, and individuals who believe the youth of today are the problem solvers of tomorrow. Esri offers the software to schools for free, and provides funds to participating states for awards, and gives guidance for states starting out. We believe that everyone does better when everyone can participate, and no one is left behind.

Every US state and territory, plus schools of DoDEA, can participate. But to have enough time, students must know it's an option, and teachers must provide a login. The map below shows the states in the game as of Mon Nov.23, and those waiting for someone to be the first acorn. See more info including live map.

Ohio has a special opportunity, via an online meeting, Thursday December 10, 4-5pmET. Attending does not commit anyone to anything; it's just a chance for those in Ohio to learn more, to see and hear what's possible. Ohioans can register here to receive a link to attend.

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About the Author
** Esri Education Mgr, 1992-today ** Esri T3G staff, 2009-present ** Social Studies teacher, grades 7-12, 1977-1992 (St. Paul, MN) ** NCGE Distinguished Teacher Award 1991, George J Miller Award 2016 ** https://www.esri.com/schools ** https://k12.maps.arcgis.com ** https://arcg.is/usk12gis ** Only education can save the world.