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New free Esri web course: Use a map for classroom instruction

08-31-2023 11:05 PM
by Esri Regular Contributor
Esri Regular Contributor
4 0 926

Use a Map for Classroom Instruction is a free web course from Esri that introduces K-12 educators to using maps and GIS in the classroom.

Encouraging a teacher to bring maps into the classroom is often asking them to step outside their comfort zone. We’ve all seen maps and used them (likely on a phone to get from one place to another). But in the classroom? And digital maps? Incorporated into lessons and teaching? That’s a whole new language and skill set!

As this is the Esri Education blog, I feel it’s safe to assume many of you are, well, educators. And educators who use maps, or want to use maps, in your classrooms. You get maps, you see their value, and you know (or are learning) how to make them part of your teaching. You are also the educators most likely to encourage or inspire a colleague to give maps a try. But where might those new to using maps in the classroom start? Where would experienced map using educators point others to give teaching with them a shot?

Esri has a new, free, web course designed to guide K-12 educators to confidently use maps and GIS in the classroom: Use a map for classroom instruction. The course introduces a common language and skill set to build upon. And no previous experience with geography, digital maps, or GIS is required.

Over five and a half hours, the four, on-demand sections bring you into the world of teaching with digital maps, covering:

  • The value of digital maps in the classroom
  • Using digital map tools (GIS) to explore maps
  • Finding appropriate maps
  • Interpreting maps
  • Integrating maps into a lesson 

Educators who complete the entire course, including tackling hands-on activities and passing quizzes, will receive a certificate of completion.

Among the skills covered in the course, is a basic four-step process used to interpret maps.

And remember, the course is free. You just need Esri access, available with a school account or by getting a free ArcGIS public account (18 and older only, please).

For those of you newer to digital maps, take a look and see how the course can help you in your GIS journey. For those of you with more experience, take a look so you know what is available to the teachers you mentor. And all of you, please give us feedback when you check it out by emailing


About the Author
Our kids need GIS in their problem-solving toolboxes. I'm working to get digital maps into each K-12 classroom and the hands of each child. A long-time Esri employee, I've previously worked on Esri's mobile apps, focused on documentation and best practices. Out of the office I'm a runner often found on the trails or chasing my children.