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Thursday, October 22, 2015

GIS Education Weekly: GAO Report on Geography, Giant Maps for School Children

GAO: Eighth Graders Do Not Know Geography

Geography Proficiency Levels
of U.S. Eighth Graders, 2014, from
the report
Here's something readers probably know: Three-quarters of eighth grade students in the U.S. weren’t proficient in geography last year. That's the conclusion of a last week's Government Accountability Office report requested by congress. Via: Politico

Responses to the Report

Says Michael Gould (@0mgould) on article about the report:
article misses the point on US kids' lack of geographic knowledge: the system fails them. thx @josephkerski http://ow.ly/TCixA
The AAG published an article (press release?) highlighting the executive director and others quotable responses and the importance of the report.

Giant Map to Help Memorizing Idaho's Counties

Kershaw Intermediate School students in Sugar City, Idaho painted a map of the state's counties on the school blacktop. They used a number of math and graphic skills. And, of course they'll learn some geography. Per the article in the local paper:
Via Rexburg Standard Journal
The map of Idaho will allow the students to better memorize Idaho’s counties.
Is that true? Is there any research on the value of these giant maps be they "visiting maps" or more permanent painted ones? I recall when the giant U.S. map came to my elementary school gym (c. 1973). The best part? Sliding around on it in our stocking feet.

I also found "map painting stories" from Iowa and Ohio this week.


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Heritage to Use Grant to Create GIS Certificate Program

Heritage University in Toppenish, WA will use a five-year, $2.6 million Title V grant from the U.S. Department of Education to prepare more Hispanic and low-income students to enter graduate school in STEM and health care professions. The Title V funding will be used to create new programs, including a GIS certificate program, and services in the coming years.

Mapping the Market for Higher Education

Two researchers at Brookings analyzed the geospatial challenges of higher education after the government scorecard came out last month (I noted its few geographic elements and limited value). Here are some of the details:
Students are free to spend their federal aid dollars at brick and mortar institutions across the country. Though some students relocate their home (temporarily or permanently) in order to enroll at a particular institution, the reality is that most students face some geographic constraints when they shop for college. According to research published by ACT, students travel a median distance of 51 miles to go to college, though some groups of students are more mobile than others. Higher achieving students typically travel farther, as do students from households with more educated parents. First generation students travel a median distance of only 24 miles to their college. This means that the opportunity for students to exercise choice is constrained by the options available in their geographic region.
There's an interesting population map, too. Via: Rich Schultz (@RSchultzGeoTech) on LinkedIn

2015 Undergraduate Geospatial Technology Skills Competition Winners

The winners of the student competition sponsored by URISA and the GeoTech Center are Matt Seto and Amy Halloran. So far I have found no way to view their submitted videos or any more information than what's in the student abstracts. One student used "ESRI Arc MAP" (sic) and another mentioned a "large scale (34” x 72”) story map." Did any students use software besides Esri's? This is the first year any software could be used.

Student Death at Bus Stop Prompts Data Sharing, Brainstorming

A seven year old's death at a school bus stop prompted the school district to share its bus stop data with the city of Flager, FL to explore ways to prevent such tragedies.
Through the weekend school district staff worked in conjunction with city staff to produce GIS or Geographic Information System maps they could use to frame their analyses. The two agencies have different GIS capabilities. So the district exported its own into the city’s system, and by Monday afternoon they had a combined product that could overlay every single one of the district’s 600 bus stops over the presence of street lights, locations next to public lands, and so on.
There's been a brainstorming session, but no specific actions have been taken yet. I wonder if the town might involve the students in these discussions about where bus stops should be and what might be done to enhance safety.

Learning about GPS vis Corn Maze
The Corn Maze
In a southeast Georgia corn field, University of Georgia students helped to design a corn maze in honor of Mark Richt, UGA Bulldogs head football coach, using Global Positioning System (GPS) technology. As part of a precision agriculture class taught on the UGA Tifton Campus, students are learning the benefits of this technology while preparing for future agricultural careers.
My GeoStory

Hexagon started a video series last month featuring stories of how its staff and partner staff got into geospatial careers. It's called "I am Hexagon Geospatial" and uses the hashtag (#MyGeoStory). These might be helpful for students/educators looking for career path information.

Trimble Provides UNIGIS Grad Students with Software

Trimble and the UNIGIS International Association announced last Friday (press release) that Trimble will provide geospatial software products and online training to UNIGIS post-graduate distance learning students in Geoinformatics enrolled at any of the UNIGIS partner universities.

I'm not sure if Trimble has made any other educational institutions such an offer. I found no references on its website about supporting educational institutions. And, so far, my query to Trimble on the matter has gone unanswered.

GIS Student Interning with UASs in Wisconsin

Syler Behrens a senior at University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire until May, is working as an intern in commercial unmanned aircraft systems.
Behrens, a senior geography and biology major with a talent and a passion for geospatial technologies, is working as an intern for Menet Aero, a Milwaukee-based business that holds one of the few FAA exemptions in Wisconsin that allows them to legally fly drones for commercial purposes.
3rd Annual Fall Geodesign Forum at Philadelphia University 

The 3rd annual Geodesign Forum at Philadelphia University was last Friday. Not only did the event have sponsors (Liberty Property Trust and Pennoni Associates Inc.) but it included presentations by the school's geodesign students. The school has taken a leadership role in the discipline, but clearly the circle is small; the keynote was from Tom Fisher of the University of Minnesota, probably the best known geodesign advocate after Jack Dangermond.

One other thing I noticed: the event was not free, but cost $10. I like that this model as it gives potential attendees a small, but real bit of skin in the game.

John Nelson Moves On

Many reading this will know of IDV's John Nelson. Not only does he make cool maps (like Hurricanes since 1851), but he blogged about them fairly regularly at the IDV UX blog. Now John's moving to Adventures in Mapping. Good luck John!

GeoTech Center Seeks Geospatial Syllabi

The GeoTech Center continues to request GIS course syllabi from colleges for its repository. New to me, via a September LinkedIn post (and apparently a letter), the center also wants syllabi from high school courses. Those may be valuable as input for future articulation agreements among other things. I encourage GeoTech to make sure the webpage for the repository and the downloadable form for submission notes the interest in high school materials; they currently do not.

Medicine Hat Students Map Local Outdoor Wonders
Students in MHC’s [Medicine Hat College, Alberta, Canada] ecotourism and outdoor leadership program paired up with community mentors to do research and then build the digital map which marks out various nature-based recreational sites around the city – places for dogwalking, biking, birdwatching lookout points, parks and more. ...
A recent $5,000 donation from the Medicine Hat Destination Marketing Organization towards the ecotourism and outdoor leadership program supported the project, funding that was matched by the Medicine Hat College Foundation.
Nope, it's not a story map. I see Mapbox and JSFiddle.

AAG GeoMentors Program Now Offers Case Studies

The first case study focuses on how a GeoMentor helped out with an Advanced Placement Human Geography course. GeoMentor spotlights are more about "getting to know one's peers," while case studies go deeper about a specific project or topic.

University of Arizona Shares its Distinguishing Features

A press release (?) at GIS User featured a quoted list of features of the University of Arizona's MS-GIST Program. I was particularly interested in these:
– One of the lowest-priced Master’s of Science in GIS programs in the United States at a Research I Institution.
– Very strong ties with the southern Arizona GIS community, agencies, and businesses to promote internship opportunities and employment.
– An exemplary placement rate of graduates within one year of program completion.
My query to the contact for more details has so far gone unanswered. I also found the document on an e-mail list suggesting to me it was marketing e-mail rather than a traditional press release. I've suggested in the past with so many programs competing for students, schools need to join the conversation about what makes their programs unique especially when it comes to job placement.

Teaching and Learning Resources

Teaching with Maps

Diana Sinton (@dianamaps) shared this page, from the National Education Association, of mapping resources for educators. There's no date on it (grrr!), but the comments suggest it's about a year old.

Halloween Leaflet Tutorial

@maptimehrva & @jonahadkins provided this tutorial last year for Maptime HRVA (Hampton Roads, VA)
Mapping local paranormal activity is dead simple. Using open source components, the following instructions will guide you to other side of web-mapping. This exercise assumes a spooky knowledge of HTML and Javascript - but not at all required. This will step through each phase of what you see to the right. Just keep on scrolling down in this panel.
Drones in Education Webinar Series

Directions Magazine and the GeoTech center are sponsoring a three webinar series, Drones Flying Free 2016, on February 17, 2016 (register). The pair is looking for additional sponsors. Topics include rules, education and workflows.

Esri GIS Education News

On GeoMentoring

Esri's Charlie Fitzpatrick blogs about successful GeoMentoring partnering event and more. One thing he doesn't mention is that most teachers need professional development hours and events like the one he cited often count toward those hours. I'm not sure about the specific one, however. He also didn't mention that GISP's also need "contribution to the profession" points for initial certification and renewals. GeoMentors have been able to earn such points since 2014.

ArcGIS Desktop Entry Technical Certification Exam

Esri announced the release of the ArcGIS Desktop Entry technical certification exam. As of Oct 16 candidates can register for this exam at any Pearson VUE testing center. More info here. Via: Esri Highered-L from an Esri Training Services person.

Esri Users Take Second in San Diego State Big Data Hackathon

Jim Barry of Esri details the winning project at this first ever event at the University. Anyone could participate and "ESRI" [sic] was a sponsor. Barry notes that of the five teams that completed a project (of the nine that started) "3 of them used ArcGIS as part of their solution."

Advanced Human Geography GeoInquiries Updated

Per Esri GIS Education (@GISEd)
Beta versions of Human Geography GeoInquiries are fully functional and available for use! http://ow.ly/TE8qQ
These resources are not called Advanced Placement Human Geography (APHG) Inquiries, but the author is "Esri_GeoInquiry_APHG." And, the descriptions cite APHG benchmarks.The PDFs detail the specific benchmarks and cite specific chapters of geography texts. There may be some issues with the College Board, which runs the AP exams, about officially using using APHG titles.

Here's the description, benchmarks and text references for Understanding Globalization.

Description: "Students will investigate how connections are made across Earth, focusing on advancements in transportation and technology. The activity uses a web-based map and is tied to the AP Human Geography benchmarks."

Benchmarks: "Identify and explain major geographical concepts, including location, transportation, situation, scale, place, and globalization. Identify the connections between globalization and culture, including folk and popular culture.

Text References: "An Introduction to Human Geography by Pearson – Chapter 1," "The Human Mosaic: A Thematic Introduction to Cultural Geography by W.H. Freeman & Company – Chapter 12" and "Human Geography: People, Place, and Culture by Wiley Press – Chapter 14"

Esri Call for Papers for Esri Education GIS Conference Open

The theme for the 2016 event: Creating a Brighter Future. Details on submission are here. The deadline is November 16, less than one month away. The event runs June 25-28, 2016. I challenge the Esri Education team to announce when acceptance of papers will be made.

ArcGIS Online Approved for Use for Grades 5-12 in British Columbia

British Columbia, Canada's  ERAC (Educational Resource Acquisition Consortium) online collection now includes ArcGIS Online. ArcGIS Online is approved for use in grade 5-12 classrooms in the province, per a press release.

You can learn about the ERAC evaluation process on the website, but here are the basics:
ERAC will undertake specific evaluations of products that a school or district would like reviewed. This service is provided as part of your membership in ERAC through a cost recovery fee paid by the vendors. This saves districts both organizational and processing costs as well as teacher release time expenses.
I could not find any information about how much a vendor might pay for this cost recovery fee.

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