Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Teaching Current Events? There's a (GIS) Map for That...

I continue to be amazed with the amount of (free) resources available for introducing students to (and engaging them with) GIS. If you want a quick overview of what GIS is and how it relates to geography, consider this video. You can also click on the "GIS" tag/label to find my other entries on this topic.

ESRI's Storytelling Maps page

Storytelling with Maps
I was recently introduced to a few ESRI resources that help students learn about past and current events through maps and GIS data. An excellent resource is ESRI's Storytelling with Maps. There, you can explore topics ranging from Fracking /Shale Gas Boom to The Real Pirates of the Caribbean to Health Care. You can even explore costs by state under the Federal Healthcare Exchanges initiative (i.e., Affordable Care Act/Obamacare). Exploring these topics digitally through time and space is a great opportunity for students to begin learning how to interpret data and maps.

ESRI's Time and Place Module: Indian Removal Act of 1830

Additional Resources
ESRI also has some additional resources worth mentioning. Their "Time and Place" modules include topics such as the Dust Bowl and the Indian Removal Act of 1830. Students are provided maps and documents as a way to integrate information from a variety of sources to form an argument. (Notice the potential Common Core connection here?)

GIS Jobs
Finally, those not sure why GIS should be part of the curricula in secondary schools need only be reminded on how many public and private sectors use this information. ESRI provides several snapshots of these GIS-related jobs, too (e.g., farming, military, retail stores). P-12 education is catching up with this approach to geography, and these (and other) free resources are making this topic more accessible to schools on tight budgets. Happy exploring...


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