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Thursday, October 6, 2011

Pivoting

When I started ABS Consulting Group, Inc. in 2000, I really didn't know what I'd be doing. I was lucky enough to get some work from a friend with his own startup, TenLinks. We started GIS Monitor, now owned by Flat Dog Media. That brought in other work for OGC and others. And, before I knew it, I had a consulting firm that could pay the bills!

In 2005 I joined Directions Media, which owns Directions Magazine and All Points Blog and those became the home for my writing about GIS. It's been a great gig and I have no intention to change my relationship with that organization. Since about 2008 about half my time went to Directions and the other half to Penn State University where I wrote and taught courses (1, 2) in the all online MGIS program. It was great. I had freedom, great support from the program, amazing students to teach. Earlier this year, I decided it was time to explore other areas of education, ones where I could maybe make if not a bigger, a different contribution.

There are so many challenges in education today from funding to testing to engaging students. It's that last one that I keep returning to time and again. Educators and those who support educators (there are many groups, but I have soft spot for instructional designers, now that I know what they are!) have to step it up and find new ways to reach today's students. Part of the answer is technology, and another I believe is simply questioning everything we know about how education is "done." We need to be brave and try to new things to excite ourselves and our students.

My area of expertise is geography and geographic technology but many of the new ideas in education and engagement come from education research in general and efforts in other disciplines. Part of what I hope to explore in this blog is if and how those ideas can be applied (or mapped!) to geographic education. Some, I'm sure are not a good fit, but other will will.

For now I am gathering the kindling to launch this blog and ignite education.

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