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Thursday, September 3, 2015

GIS Education Weekly: Situated Learning, Certification, Data Science

Your Kids are not Geographers, That's Exactly Why They must to Know How to Think Spatially

I think that article needs to be written. It parallels one titled Your Kids Aren't Robots, And That's Exactly Why They Must Know How To Code in Forbes this past weekThe argument is that younger students need to learn computational thinking when young in the context of other learning. Some geography educators have similar ideas about integrating spatial thinking into other subjects like history, social studies, science and math. Only later, in high school, suggests author Muhammed Chaudhry, should the formally learn to code.

GIS Careers Infographic

A bit of the infographic
GIS User shared an infographic on GIS careers a few weeks ago:
The University of Southern California’s GIS Program and Pearson Education have put together an infographic titled “Common Career Paths for the Student of Geographic Information Science & Technology”.
The resource is not dated, but the source page is (c) 2013. I was surprised the infographic does not include data from Oxera or Boston Consulting Group reports from 2013. I was curious how Pearson was involved, so I contacted USC.

Associate Director of the Spatial Sciences Institute from Susan H. Kamei responded.
This infographic was prepared by Pearson for our online USC Graduate Programs in Geographic Information Science and Technology (GIST) in 2013, with the sources that were identified at that time.  Pearson provides certain recruitment and student support services to our online programs.

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Teaching QGIS

RJ Hale details teaching 27 people QGIS as part of a URISA hosted two day event offering workshops. He explains the reasons people attended and how at least a few jumped in with both feet, spending time during other workshops playing with the software. These types of anecdotes are helpful as more people want to teach and learn QGIS.

Teaching about Globalization via Situated Learning

A screen of the Global Madison App
This slide deck, titled Global Madison: Usability evaluation of an adaptive mobile map supporting situated learning of globalization from Robert Roth is pretty interesting, even without the details. If I follow correctly, the study evaluates an app intended to support learning about globalization (a geographic topic!) in Madison, WI. The goal is to learn about usability. The paper was presented at the 2015 International Cartographic Conference in Rio de Janiero. I am new to "situated learning" but it sounds like something we as educators will see more and more.

GISCI Exam Update

As readers probably know, GISCI is moving from a portfolio based certification to one that also involves an exam. Last week the organization offered news on progress via a press release.

Bottom line: The date of the GISCI Geospatial Core Technical Knowledge Exam® for the GISP Certification has not been set. But, the exam will will offered before the end of the year. Study materials will be available several weeks before the exam date. The exam can be taken at any time while the portfolio points are gathered and documented.

Mapshop Launched at University of Kentucky

There's a lot going on map and GIS-wise at the University of Kentucky, but one interesting announcement is in this post from Matt Wilson. It's the launch of the Mapshop initiative, a resource for the university for making maps. Students should be aware it offers both a graduate research assistant and an internship program. 

I'm getting confused about how all the pieces of geography at UK come together. Perhaps the great cartographers could build a map of the relationships between New Maps Plus, the department, Mapshop, the New Mappings Collaboratory, Floating Sheep and the other bits?

In April, the USGIF-accredited geospatial intelligence certificate program at Fayetteville State University (FSU) hosted a two-day “GEOINT at HBCUs” meeting to provide HBCUs with more insight into the GEOINT Community and geospatial sciences curricula. About 20 individuals representing both HBCUs and non-HBCUs across the Southeastern U.S. attended to discuss the state of their respective GEOINT programs and offerings. 
HBCU are Historically Black Colleges and Universities. Coverage of the event appeared in USGIF's Trajectory magazine. This is a challenging time for HBCUs; I learned that on this awesome podcast from American RadioWorks.

Social Theorists, Critical Geography and Q & A

Justin Holman shares questions and answers on his blog about geography education. A recent one was about the value of the theoretical vs. more practical side of human geography.
Is all Geography at a Master’s level going to use some forms of visual analysis, in various ways, maybe GIS, maybe remote sensing, maybe GPS, etc? Or can there be programs that are based on intellectual theory without the technology side of things? If so, is that common? Should I specifically be asking about that in order to find a department that melds both? Is that just something that you don’t find in Human Geography?
Holman's response addressed what he calls "key divisions within geography." And, that prompted responses in the comments and a few more posts that are worth reading if this is your thing. I for one am happy to watch from the sidelines.

Would You Hire a Certified Geospatial Technician?

Do you know what that is? I confess I had to look it up, too. Here's a reference which identifies the individual who posted the credential on Twitter. 
I [sic] anyone who needs hi-res mapping or other cartographic work please contact me! Certified Geospatial Technician with a degree in Geography!
Precision Ag with Drones Hot in Training Circles 
Image by Ackab under CC-BY-SA
Clark State Community College has initiated flying unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) as part of their new precision agriculture program. The new program is designed to prepare students for employment with companies using geospatial technologies, including geographic information systems (GIS) and global positioning systems (GPS) applied to agricultural production or management activities, such as pest scouting, site-specific pesticide application, yield mapping, or variable-rate irrigation.
Like this program in Ohio, the goal of precision ag programs is ultimately employment. The school also offers an AAS in Geospatial Technology.

Data Science is Eating GIS

First off, hat tip to Brian Timoney (‏@briantimoney) for the title and a pointer to the post from Geoff Boeing who's teaching a data science course,  CP255: Urban Informatics and Visualization at UC Berkeley this fall. It's got lots of GIS in it.

Boeing details what's on the syllabus:
Learning basic Python coding: we spend about 3 weeks introducing the fundamentals of coding, data types, conditionals, loops, and functions. Just enough to make you dangerous. 
The scientific computing Python stack, via Anaconda: we introduce numpy, scipy, statsmodels, pandas for data analysis, and matplotlib for visualization.
CartoDB for simple interactive web mapping. 
Leaflet and MapBox [sic]: more advanced web mapping for community engagement, advocacy, and visualizing research findings.
Oh, and QGIS too. I for one like the idea of more data scientists, stats and visualization people learning not only how geographers look at the world, but also the tools we use.

Minecraft in the Classroom

The Times Higher Ed article includes what might be considered a derisive comment about Minecraft from Joel Mills of University of Hull, but it's really meant positively: “chocolate-covered broccoli.” He uses Minecraft with college students to teach, among other things, scale. Notable for readers: Mills has taught a MOOC called Minecraft for Educators in the past. Perhaps he will again. H/T @0mgould

More Printing for East Carolina GIS Students
East Carolina University has recently revised its printing policy, removing all free printing from on-campus computer labs.
Why? Students were taking advantage of it. Starting this semester students will get a limited amount of printing credits. And those with print heavy courses will get more credits.  
There are a few exceptions to the print quota such as a GIS class or arts course, where maps or graphics are required for the class. A special print balance has been created for circumstances like these.
Harvard to Offer Synchronous Online Courses

This is not a new idea; my uncle taught his University of Vermont Detective Fiction course live with video cameras fifteen or so years ago. (Now retired, he was one of those early "rock star" professors.) My question: do students really want that? Especially if the goal is to reach those working on MBA "global study trips" around the world?

My sense from my work in and study of online education is that we got over geographic issues, but time still matters. Many students still balk at a firm time commitment, even if it means live interaction.

Esri's Campus Place Locator Updated
Esri Place Locator
Campus Place Locator is a configuration of ArcGIS and a JavaScript application that offers a map-based view of interior and exterior assets on a university or business campus.
The free download requires ArcGIS for Desktop and ArcGIS Online/ArcGIS for Server to implement. via @0mgould

Esri Education GIS Conference Proceedings Online


Maui Sisters from Esri UC Win Innovation Award

The now famous stars of the Esri User Conference, Lily and Sarah Jenkins, won the 2015 Daniel K. Inouye Innovation Award. Here's there really cool thing, they only get a bit of the $10,000 prize!
The Jenkins sisters were each presented with a $2,000 award to support their continued technology pursuits.
In addition, a $2,000 grant will go to their eight-year mentor, Arleon Dibben, for her environmental foundation, Nene O Moloka‘i Foundation; and $4,000 in technology upgrades and equipment will benefit Moloka‘i High School’s STEM lab.
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