I get asked a lot "What resources does Esri have for me to use or learn with?" The answer is "A LOT!" Rather than require you to go hunting, I'm presenting here a bunch from which you can easily choose as you see fit.
First, the good news. K12 schools can have software at the school at no cost for instructional use. Go to https://www.esri.com/schools, hit the pull-down, choose "Software Bundle" and just fill out and submit the form. Easy. (Administrative users and higher ed folks, see the "Licensing" tab at the far right on that page. International users, see your local Esri office.)
The harder part is making decisions about what to teach about and with.
A vast amount of Esri training is available for free, usable 24x7.
- For educators who find big lists and lots of options overwhelming and just want to start GENTLY, step by step, learning about GIS and ArcGIS Online in little bites, see http://esriurl.com/gettingstartedforeducators. Instructors of science, social studies, etc should see especially numbers 8 and 9 about GeoInquiries.
- Anyone can take advantage of all kinds of free training on Esri’s website. See http://www.esri.com/training, click “Catalog/FindTraining”, then click “Free training”, and you’ll see about 180 results. Using the search criteria will help you filter those.
- Anyone can access free training on the site http://learn.arcgis.com which provides “scenario-based software training” that some people find easier to understand. Some of these are in the general "Learn" content, and some are in the education-specific "Teach" content, http://learn.arcgis.com/en/educators/
- Sites with an ArcGIS School Bundle can access any online of Esri’s e-learning courses (including those with a lock) at no cost if they have a personal login to their ArcGIS Online Org and the Org admin has “enabled Esri access” for that login (see "Enable Esri Access" in online documentation).
- Esri posts a vast amount of instructional content in Orgs (e.g. http://k12.maps.arcgis.com) and in blogs and docs on GeoNet (http://arcg.is/esriedcommunities)
If you want to "teach about GIS" the way people teach CAD or video editing or programming, that's different. For CTE teachers, all the above may be useful, at least in terms of learning the technology and getting comfortable with why and how people use it in particular arenas. But for answering "What do we need to include in our course?", it's essential to know the requirements, what defines "success," and the experience of the instructors. I'll add two important sites for CTE leaders:
- The Career & Technical Education Community group is a zone where we post information of relevance to CTE instructors, and where they can ask questions and add comments.
- http://www.geotechcenter.org/ is the website of the GeoTech Center. Right below the map on the front page is the "Model Courses" zone where you can see how different institutions have designed different experiences.