Important GIS Resources for Educators in 2020

By teaching others, educators introduce their students to the tools they’ll use to build their futures. As such, it is important to make resources available to support educators – especially in rapidly changing fields like GIS. We have collected some of our favorite resources and tools for educators interested in incorporating GIS into their curriculum.

Our CEO, David Hansen, is very invested in education efforts and regularly visits schools to help support teachers’ efforts.

Educator Support

Esri is the world leader in GIS and has been in the game since the 60s. It’s no surprise that they picked up on the role education plays in introducing students to the importance of GIS. That’s why they offer so much instructional content – both for those learning on their own and for educators looking for ways to use GIS and mapping in their curriculum. Check out some of my favorite resources below:

  • Getting Started – This pdf provides a number of steps for learning how to teach GIS. Each “level” contains multiple resources – including descriptions of the resource, a link to it, and time estimates.
  • ArcGIS Learning Guide for K – 12 Educators – This is a two – page document outlining resources for educators to familiarize themselves with GIS and implement it (in their classroom, school, or district). Additionally, the guide provides information on various instructional resources and recommended activities.
  • Schools Mapping Software Bundle (K-12) – Esri provides free software bundles with ArcGIS Online accounts, various ready-to-use apps, and applications for both 2D and 3D mapping. These bundles are sized for clubs, home schools, public and private schools, or entire districts.
  • Teaching with GIS: Introduction to Using GIS in the Classroom – This web course for teachers goes over implementing GIS in the classroom. It includes ideas for activities and discussions.
  • GeoInquiries – These resources are great for finding ways to tie in geospatial concepts for a variety of subjects including Literature, History, Environmental Science, and Math.
Image of a man standing before a blackboard. He is writing on the board with chalk.
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Communities and Events

Education, at its core, is a community endeavor. Students learn from the world around them, their educators, and their mentors in their community. In turn, they grow and eventually contribute to shaping their community. In the words of Joseph Kerski, “Teaching with GIS is not just a way of enriching the curriculum and the students using it with relevant skills and perspectives such as scale, working with data, problem-solving, and critical and spatial thinking: It is absolutely essential if we hope to create a sustainable, healthy, and happy future.

GeoMentors – GeoMentors is a program to connect members of the GIS community with K-12 educators. It is designed to help support teachers and help enhance GIS “through the introduction of ArcGIS” and connection with individuals who use GIS in real-world contexts.

U.S. K-12 Teacher Video Challenge – One minute videos showing how teachers from around the United States work GIS into their classroom. View submissions to get ideas, or submit one yourself for a chance to win money for your classroom.

GeoNet – GeoNet is an online community where students, educators, GIS users, and GIS enthusiasts can come together. They share ideas, ask questions, and solve problems. There are even sub-communities specialized for different fields – including education!

Education Summit (at the Esri User Conference) – This event is held every summer in San Diego. The Esri User Conference is the largest event for people in GIS to meet, mingle, and explore new advances in the field – both in terms of technology and application. At the Education Summit, educators are able to get hands-on training, meet with Esri education experts, update their curriculum, and more..

What are your favorite resources for teaching others about GIS? Share with us on Twitter @GEOJobeGIS!

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Courtney Kirkham

Application Developer

Courtney is an enthusiastic and motivated GEODev with a focus on web development. She works as a member of our Professional Services team building custom Web Appbuilder Widgets and stand-alone applications. When not working, Courtney relaxes by gardening, practicing shotokan karate, and playing board games.