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Thursday, December 10, 2015

GIS Education Weekly: GeoTech Skills Competition, AAAS, Digital Humanities Minor

2015 Undergraduate Geospatial Technology Skills Competition Recap

Vince DiNoto, Director of the National Geospatial Technology Center of Excellence (The GeoTech Center) and his team shared some details from this year's competition.
  • 13 total entries 
  • 7 from universities, 6 from community colleges
  • All participants used ArcGIS desktop
  • GeoTech Center covered  travel expenses for the student finalist to URISA's GIS Pro 
  • URISA provided conference registrations for the finalists 
  • Both organization provided judges for the two rounds  
Looking ahead, the GeoTech Center will host a webinar featuring three of the four student finalists on December 16. There are plans for the 2016 competition including webinars in the spring semester to help instructors integrate the competition into their courses and some tweaks to the rules based on lessons learned.

GIS Open House at the Kauai Community College

The school received grant money (no word from whom) to build GIS courses. The hit at the GIS open house, attended by middle schoolers, was the Augmented Reality Sandbox.
“I took one of these Geographic Information Systems courses,” said Major Victor Aguilar, director of the Waimea High School JrROTC program. “The software is free, you just need to build it. But we can use these programs for some of the JrROTC training programs like creating topographic maps.”
A digital mapping project called ‘Act Now For Tomorrow,’ which was recently launched by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), is helping young people around the world identify climate issues in their communities and find ways to address them.
The story UN story didn't include a link, but I found the actual map. Each marker on the Google Map leads to a report from a team at that location revealing local climate change impacts. I understand some 500 youth from 65 countries participated.

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Douglas Richardson, Executive Director of the AAG, Named AAAS Fellow

Richardson has been fighting the good fight at the helm of the AAG for 15 years. I knew him from his first company GeoResearch, which he sold to Baker in 1998. Via: press release

I gave a paper at an AAG meeting when I first started at Esri in 1992. GeoResearch had the booth across from Esri and Richardson, quite the gentleman, took me out to dinner. That was my introduction to calamari.

Innovating Pedagogy Report

Christian Sailer, Business Manager Education and Environment Esri Schweiz AG (and a very serious cyclist)  snapped the cover photo for a free report on innovative pedagogy from the Open University. His image is from an Esri Geography Summer Camp (Switzerland). Esri and geography are not mentioned in the report beyond the cover photo, but the content is quite valuable for educators and administrators.
Every year since 2011, the UK’s Open University has released a report called "Innovating Pedagogy" [pdf] on important educational trends for teachers and policymakers. The 2015 edition of this widely followed report was developed through collaboration between researchers at the Institute of Educational Technology in The Open University and the Center for Technology in Learning at SRI Education. 
The ten innovations covered for 2015 are noted in this blog post from SRI Education if you don't have time to explore the whole report.

Connected Puzzles

Jonathan Melgaard is trying to increase geographical literacy in North Dakota by developing puzzle  with each of the 53 counties. The twist:
On the back of each puzzle piece representing a county is a Quick Response code that a smartphone can read, linking the device to an Internet site with detailed information about the county – including confirmation that Bismarck, home of the state capitol, is in Burleigh County.
He raised enough money ($45,000) via crowdsourcing to distribute the wooden puzzles to every fourth grade class in the state. Lesson plans are being developed to help teachers use the puzzles. I wonder if at some point the QR codes will link to story maps or similar online resources.

Bucknell to Offer Digital Humanities Minor

The minor will launch in 2016 and makes the central Pennsylvania college one of only a few schools that offer programs in digital humanities.
Digital humanities applies computational techniques such as GIS mapping and network visualization to pose and answer questions within humanities disciplines. The new minor builds upon existing courses applying such methods to subjects including comparative humanities, history, English and religious studies.
DigitalGlobe Teams with Erie Colorado High School STEM Program

Erie High teachers visited DigitalGlobe's headquarters as part of a partnership to support the school's new Academy of Engineering and Aerospace, which launched this fall. Exactly how DG will help the program is under development, but ideas include tours of the company for students and potential internships once the high schoolers are in college. Of note in the article in the local paper is this description of the latest satellites:
about the size of a giraffe, flying at 17,000 miles per hour and using about as much electricity as it takes to power a hair dryer.
Teachers are interested in having students participate in TomNod crowdsourcing projects.

Meanwhile, in Malacca, MN
Fourth graders, who have to know all the US states and capital cities, are working as a team with their classmates to collect a postcard from each US state in the 4th Grade United States Postcard Race.
Classes compete to see which one receives a postcard from each state first. The winning class receives a prize of its choosing: pizza party or a movie.

Coming Attractions

I've got two end of year posts coming. This coming Monday I'll share my ten top trends in GIS education for 2015. The following Monday I'll explore how Audrey Watters edtech trends relate to what we are doing in GIS. These will both be referenced in the Recent Posts section of upcoming newsletters.

Esri GIS Education News

Esri Offers latest Twice yearly GIS Education Newsletter

The PDF is here. A blog post recaps recent issues back to spring 2012. Each issue is a compilation of Esri articles/posts from the previous six months that are related to education. Between Esri's newsletter and this one, you are up to date! Thanks for reading!

AGOL Credit Best Practice

Peter A. Knoop at the University of Michigan shared how that school is using the new ArcGIS Online credit management tools. It's on the Esri Higher Ed e-mail list from this past week (login required). Worth a read.

Goodall Launches Esri-based Tapestry of Hope

On Monday, at COP21, Dr. Jane Goodall and the Jane Goodall Institute launched the Tapestry of Hope, "an interactive online tool to visualize the thousands of projects led by young people around the globe who are passionate about protecting our shared environment." From what I understand (press release, pdf) it maps her Roots and Shoots efforts via a story map.

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