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Monday, March 5, 2012

GIS Edu News Analysis: Esri Grants; Digital Quest Teams with NPCLPSCS (Who?)

On Feb 28 Esri announced some grant awards to educators at colleges and universities via a press release.
Esri has awarded five grants to select university and college faculty members to create exemplary higher education course materials and implementations of ArcGIS Online. Grantees receive $10,000 (US) each, as well as assistance from curriculum development specialists on Esri's education solutions team.
I didn't recall any public call for proposals. Esri confirmed this was invited competition.
Esri’s education team invited proposals from select educators that we know are doing innovative work that could be enhanced by the ArcGIS Online platform. The team then reviewed the submitted proposals and awarded grants to the top 5 proposals.
The selected proposals include courses/exercises for pre-service teachers, business majors, general education and an exploration of ArcGIS Online use in a large land grant university. That last one is of particular interest to me (having studied at a land grant school). I wonder how the "land grant" aspect makes these schools different, in terms of GIS use, from other large public institutions? Perhaps that's the question to be explored.

The grantees are expected to share their preliminary work at the Esri Ed UC and to actually use the resources in teaching during the 2012-2013 academic year. It's unclear if other Esri and even non-Esri users will have access to these materials. The materials could become part of Esri's SpatiaLABS, which I discussed two weeks ago, I suppose.

One takeaway from this announcement is that if you want to be included in these sorts of education grants, it behooves you to let Esri know about your work! Do not be shy about marketing yourself, your work and your school to Esri!

The same day, Digital Quest announced a partnership with the National Partnership for Careers in Law, Public Safety, Corrections and Security (NPCLPSCS) via a press release. I've never heard of this Partnership before, but it dates back to 1999 when it was established with funding from the Dept. of Justice. The Partnership mission:
To build and support career development programs and systems that ensure seamless transitions by linking and integrating secondary and post secondary education, professional certifications, and organizational recruitment, employment, training and retention systems. 
The secondary/post secondary career-focused space is exactly where Digital Quest's previous geospatial education materials and certification have been directed. It's my understanding that Digital Quest will try to offer its packages of materials to schools already offering courses in the areas of interest to the Partnership. While Digital Quest's footprint is small and mostly regional, it's clearly blazing its own trail in the industry-specific geospatial career focused education and training market.