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Thursday, March 12, 2015

GIS Education Weekly: Story Maps and Data Maps, ConnectED Funds for NH, Esri for Science

US National Center for Educational Statistics Story and Data Maps

The new MapED maps from US National Center for Educational Statistics (NCES) replace older Esri Flash-based maps. The new site offers two kinds of maps.
Story Maps
High School Graduation Rate Map:
Blue: above avg, white: about avg, gray: below avg.
Our Story Maps are developed using CENSUS and NCES datasets and publications. The goal is to present interesting data concepts in an interactive and easily digestable format for everyone.

Data Maps

Data Maps are designed for all experience levels. Simply select a Topic or Program to begin. Start by browsing data indicators that interest you. Then customize map settings to create a more specialized map.
There are four on: Educational Attainment, Enrollment, Bullying and State Performance.
Here's the story map about bullying. It's a simple one dataset choropleth map. The story maps use different templates.

Data Maps
I'd call these interactive maps. They are arranged by topic and program.
Topics include: 


Here's a sample data map of the Assessment/Math Map. (Assessment is a topic with two options: math and reading. The data is from the National Assessment of Educational Progress, NAEP)

Programs include:
  • ACS - American Community Survey
  • CCD - Common Core of Data
  • IPEDS - Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System
  • NAEP - National Assessment of Educational Progress
  • PSUS - Private School Universe Survey
Here's a data map of the American Community Survey (ACS). 
A tweet suggests the work is by Blue Raster.
@MapsnRocks: US Dept of Ed and Esri partner @blueraster got a shout out for new MapED open data portal http://nces.ed.gov/programs/maped/ 
Is it important to distinguish between story maps and data maps? Just because the government organizes around themes, topics and programs, does it mean users of the education maps do?

Flipping AP Human Geography

Social studies teacher Kevin Barry from La Plata High School in Maryland detailed how he teaches Advanced Placement human geography in flipped classroom mode. He runs into the challenges of students not having or not having enough bandwidth, but so far three sections he teaches are successful.


Folks from Arms Control Wonk taught a geospatial analysis workshop at Berkeley earlier this year. One exercise they used involved determining the location of three photos. I think the exercise might be valuable for educators.

GeoAcademy Course now Supports QGIS 2.8.1

It's the same deal as last time: five online courses at $25 each run one after another with limited seats. First course starts April 3. The update to the new version was fast. The new release was final 3/3 and the press release for the new courses came out 3/5. The open educational courseware can be found at GitHub under CC license.

USGIF Offers the State of GEOINT Report
What is the current “State of GEOINT” and what waits on the horizon? The answers are essential for professional agility in an era of accelerated GEOINT innovation. USGIF presents the 2015 State of GEOINT Report [pdf] to help answer these questions and support GEOINT Community interests and professional requirements.
This might be valuable to educators as they update curricula. Here's a bit more on the how and why of the report.

Geo for All Announces Groups, Nominations for Educator of the Year

Geo for All (the OSGeo/ICA effort to use FOSS4G in education) announced regional and subject groups to better engage participants and focus efforts. For now, all groups have wikis and e-mail groups.

The individuals and teams nominated for GeoForAll Global Educator of the Year Awards are noted here. This is not a "voting" (aka popularity) contest; the award committee selects winners and will announced them at the FOSS4G 2015- Europe "Open Innovation for Europe" conference at Como, Italy in July.

Give Students Tablets and Track Their Locations

From Audrey Watters:

Lynn University gives free iPads to its students. “Now,” reports The Chronicle of Higher Education, “If those students cut class, their iPads might tattle on them.” An app called Class120 keeps an eye on students’ locations, using GPS.

ConnectED Money for NH Summer Institute
Esri has awarded $5,000 to the NH Educational GIS Partnership to support the NH Fish and Game Department's Watershed Ecology Institute in 2015. The institute helps teachers combine watershed topics with geospatial technologies to provide their students with place-based, aquatic ecology related exercises that engage both the physical world and mapping technology. The funds provided by Esri through their ConnectED grant program will be used to provide direct support for teachers participating in the institute.
This summer, the Watershed Ecology Institute will be held in Contoocook, NH from July 13th to 16th.
I was unaware that ConnectED provided for financial rather than in-kind grants. I contacted Esri. Ed team member Charlie Fitzpatrick explained:
Esri has made software available (http://connected.esri.com), to all public, nonpublic, and homeschools, for instruction. ... Esri can't conduct all the PD [professional development] we would like, so we are (a) continuing our T3G institute (http://esriurl.com/t3g; 2015 will be Yr#7), and (b) helping some teams of T3G alums and Geography Alliance people hold events at which educators can learn about GIS and careers, ArcGIS Online, ConnectED, and how they can use ArcGIS Online for instruction with their kids.
Educators: Come to Developer Summit

David DiBiase, Esri's Director of Education, offered this Facebook post:
will.i.am joins Jack Dangermond and about 1300 attendees @EsriDevSummit in Palm Springs. will tells kids they should learn to build apps and start tech companies, because that's what he's doing. This should be GIS educators' go-to conference.
The videos from the event are already online.

FOSS4G in Edu

This tweet from FOSS4GNA gave me pause:

Currently less than 5% of US colleges and universities offer training in open source software.
I requested the source. That prompted Phil Davis of GeoAcademy to publish the survey results from 2012 he used to determine that stat. The survey had 100 respondents and only 81 of those actually taught GIS at their institutions.

Just seven of 71 respondents to a question on which software was used identified using an open source geospatial technology, specifically, QGIS. It's not clear if any who selected the "other" category might have been indicating open source. So, I'd suggest the 2012 data suggests 10% (or more) of respondents used open source geospatial technology. My hunch is that percentage is higher now.


I ran into SimplyMap on Twitter this week. It's widely used in education for mapping. I'd not heard of it.
Educational institutions, public libraries, non-profit organizations, businesses and government agencies use SimplyMap to analyze complex data and make informed decisions. SimplyMap is easy for non-technical users to master, but powerful enough for advanced GIS analysis.
It is not free; you need an organizational license that relies on IP addresses for access.

Esri License for Science Researchers
Also known as the Science Organization Site License, the new Esri Science Kit is designed to deliver easy access to the full suite of GIS technology to researchers.

As entities of universities or as standalone organizations, researchers at a small non-commercial, science organizations or research institutes are unique in that they not only conduct research, but may also coordinate diverse sectors (government agencies, NGOs, small businesses, etc.), build consensus among experts, and pay special attention to GIS project implementation, tool development, and technology transfer. These science organizations are typically much smaller than a university (e.g., 50 to 500 employees).
The announcement is on the GIS and Science blog.