Happy end of the school year, T3Gers! As you wrap up your year and put away the chalk (eh?) and the year's photo albums one last time, please keep in mind that we are ALWAYS on the lookout for stories, synopses, situational syntheses … anything about your experiences with your students using GIS this year. People constantly seek from us info about operations and students and teaching at every level, every environment, with every technology, on every imaginable subject. (I've been asked for info as specific as "upper elementary kids doing career prep activities on Chromebooks.") Please don't hesitate to share with us what was memorable, powerful, useful, or even mundane. You can share these to the T3G Alum group (reply to this), or to http://esriurl.com/shareyouredstory, or just a private email to me if you like. We always want to hear … anything!
This spring I got the chance to work with a group of creatively gifted 7th grade students at Valley View Middle School in Bloomington, Minnesota. Each student in the class had qualified for the class by testing highly on the Torrance Test of Creativity. My goal was to teach them how to make ArcGIS Online Journal Story Maps as a way to express their creativity. The class was created to solve a scheduling issue. The students should have been with their favorite art teacher when I had them. They were not enthusiastic about having ArcGIS Online replace their art class. We met every other day for the final trimester. Each student made three story maps: 1) Story of My Life, 2) A story map on a topic of their choice, and 3) A story map on a civil rights icon assigned in their social studies class.
We met in a lab with Mac desktop computers, plus each student also had a Chromebook. Some preferred the Mac while others were more comfortable with their Chromebook.They learned how to make web maps by adding Map Notes and a layer using a csv file. Most preferred using the Map Notes to add features to the map. Learning to make a journal story maps was relatively easy for most students. Some became quite skilled at making story maps and others, not so much. My guess is that the layer of tech skills required to manipulate ArcGIS Online was not the best fit for some of the students. I also learned that mass instruction on how to use ArcGIS Online was not as effective as one-on-one instruction. I describe it as a "I don't need to know it until I need to know it" process.
I asked students to share one of their story maps in the class gallery. Several did share at least one story map. You can find the gallery here: http://arcg.is/2rk43Jg