Opportunity for Educators Who Use GIS

Teachers of grades 5–12, university instructors, and youth and community group leaders who have already integrated GIS in to their teaching can learn even more at the 2009 ESRI T3G Institute (Teachers Teaching Teachers GIS), June 14–19, 2009, in Redlands, California. Participants will work with ArcGIS software and data to improve their GIS knowledge and technical skills. Ultimately, attendees will apply what they learn back in their own classrooms or programs and show others in their field how to teach using GIS concepts.

The analytic problem solving done with GIS is very similar to the scientific method taught across science labs. “Students using GIS study real-world phenomena in the same way as a practicing scientist, in a problem-solving environment, from a local to global scale,” says to Dr. Joseph Kerski, Curriculum Manager at ESRI. “This multi-scale approach includes the local–such as studying tree species on a school campus, to the global–like the relationship of climate and ocean currents, and everything in between.”

The Science Classroom and GIS
A national study found that science teachers use GIS in their classrooms more than teachers from any other subject. This may be because science teachers have had more exposure to inquiry-based and problem-solving methods in their own educational training, because they have greater access to computers, probes, and other technological tools, and because they are more familiar with using data to drive instruction.

GIS has a natural intersection with science content standards, which are the benchmarks that help educators to know what a student understands and is able to do at each grade level. These standards include science as inquiry, involving asking scientific questions, gathering scientific data, analyzing that data, solving a problem, and asking new or revised questions.

Other standards where GIS has a natural fit is physical science (motions and forces), life science (studying biomes, tracking animal movements), Earth and space (energy, the shape of the Earth), science and technology, and science in personal and social perspectives (population, resources, environmental quality, and natural hazards). Science teachers using GIS most commonly include those teaching chemistry, earth science, and environmental studies, but also includes physics and biology teachers. In addition, professors in university Colleges of Education use GIS to teach future K-12 teachers in their methods courses.

More About the Institute
The 2009 institute will include hands-on exercises; best practices discussions; and presentations about the latest geospatial trends in GIS, Web mapping, and GPS. The institute activities will be led by nationally known geospatial technology educators, and a limit of 30 participants will allow for individual assistance.

Participants will leave the institute with a more proficient understanding of how to incorporate GIS into their teaching, find and use GIS-based lessons and public domain datasets, and train other educators on how to teach GIS. Following the institute, participants are expected to apply what they have learned by creating a GIS lesson to share on the Web; leading a hands-on GIS training event; and presenting at a conference the outcomes of their work such as GIS lessons, results of a class or group project, or a pedagogical approach to teaching youth or adults.

Additional information and an application for the institute are available at http://edcommunity.esri.com/t3g-institute. Applications are due by January 15, 2009, and acceptance will be announced in February 2009.