Story Maps and Geospatial Fun at Esri EdUC 2016

Story Maps and Geospatial Fun at Esri EdUC 2016

A Louisiana State Story - Utilizing Story Maps to Teach State History

Join me Saturday, June 25, 2016, 1:30-2:45pm in the Coronado room!

If you can’t be there, here is my storymap/presentation for you.

Chat maps and such!

Stop by the GISetc booth in the EdUC expo!

Buy a book!

Starting Sunday, June 27 throughout the week, you can pick up two of my books in the Esri Store!

Going Places

Going Places


Thanks to the Louisiana Resource Center for Educators for hosting me at the Mighty Maps workshop!

For the teacher, here’s a PDF of the presentation, GIS for Common Core and Special Needs_LGA2015.

Happy Mapping!

What Do GIS and Short Stories Have in Common?

What Do GIS and Short Stories Have in Common?

These two concepts might not be considered close cousins at first glance but surprisingly they have quite a bit in common, making GIS an excellent tool for telling and analyzing stories.  A few years ago I shared this concept at the Esri Education International Users Conference.  Given the improvements in online mapping and the uptake of story maps, I thought a reprise of this concept was in order.

So…most US literature classes do a nice job of presenting the short story and its anatomy, pictured here. Some of my favorites from William Faulkner, O. Henry, W. W. Jacobs or Edgar Allen Poe are staples of the classroom and give easy ways to teach the anatomy and begin to understand problems and how we might craft and retell our own stories more efficiently and elegantly.










Many students have difficulty relating to these stories and cannot fathom creating their own.  Tools like GIS give those students ideas and wings to be creative and still present compelling facts. Visualizing this concept (see below) is powerful for student uptake.

GIS problem solving graphic










I believe that this notion of connecting ideas that we already teach with 21st Century tools will give our students skills, experiences and simply…give them something to talk about when they are stuck.

This also gives some great opportunities to integrate Common Core Reading Standards with GIS. (I’m presenting about this in July at the Esri Conference.)

Also check out what Sugata Mitra has to say about school and learning in TED talks.  My favorite quote from his talk…“It’s not about making learning happen.  It’s about letting it happen.”

Here’s hoping that you spend your summer letting learning ideas happen as you prepare for the next year’s adventure!

Feel free to share your cool thoughts and ideas too!

Story Maps #1: Kids’ Interviews

Story Maps #1: Kids’ Interviews

Grandview Hills Elementary Library Online

I just returned from my annual pilgrimage to the Esri Education Users Conference in San Diego, CA.  Aside from the lovely weather, the event is full of creative and insightful educators and professionals sharing the cool stuff they are doing.  Adding to the fun is the usual catching up and networking with colleagues, one in particular is the highlight of today’s blog, Dee Porter.  

Dee is a librarian and media specialist in Leander, TX at an elementary school.  She’s using ArcGIS online to curate a collection of interviews from students who have traveled to or were born in other countries.  Each point takes you to the student’s map and then links you to a recording of their interview.  These charming little travelers are proof that maps can connect kids of any age to their own story. What story is your map telling?
GIS: An Essential Tool for Any Classroom

GIS: An Essential Tool for Any Classroom

This week I had the honor of presenting in the 1 Tool at a Time Series sponsored by the ISTE SIGms and SIGilt.  In the short 30 minute session I shared what GIS looks like for the classroom and demonstrated how you can access maps and curriculum quickly.  You no longer need lots of time and expertise to infuse your classroom with geospatial technologies.

If you’d like to check out the recording, go the GIS in Education page at the 1 Tool at a Time Series wiki.  While you’re there, you’ll find a handout of the links shared.

Also, Katie Christo, the SIGilt chair, put together the links along with some of her own on Pinterest:

And that’s not all!  If you’re still interested in learning more about how to get started with GIS in Education, join the folks at NCGE for a free webinar this coming Wednesday!  Charlie Fitzpatrick, Esri Education Manager, will be sharing his perspective on where to begin with GIS in Education.

Happy Mapping!

Thinking about “Above and Beyond”

The message here is one that resonates with me deeply.  Seems like I’ve been fighting for curriculum and educational experiences to go “above and beyond” for more than 20 years.  I hope the public as well as key school personnel get this message, but just as the film portrays…how many folks will see it and say,  “We should have kids build stuff!” or “Let’s get rid of all teachers that aren’t pushing this kind of creativity.” or “Let’s have a school contest.”  Those folks would be missing the mark also, not with malice but off the mark the same.

A smart guy I know, Charlie Fitzpatrick, said, “It is always far more impressive watching people do powerful things with simple tools than doing simple things with powerful tools.”  The kids in this allegory certainly do that and more.  Their use of simple tools produced powerful things, impressive results.  I submit that the real tools are those that are highlighted less often.  What if the “tools” we used implicitly were things like creativity, spatial awareness, diversity, compassion, teamwork and persistence?  We might come up with a recipe for success that includes the perfect ingredients AND the best tools for the job!  Perhaps we might all go “above and beyond”!