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!

Texas in February for TCEA 2016

Texas in February for TCEA 2016

i'm presenting at tcea 2016

UPDATE: My handout from the session, click here.

If you’re looking for cool things related to geospatial technology, digital maps, interactive online mapping….and need it to be free for your school. (Yes, FREE! No catch…really!)

Join the TCEA GEOSIG at one of these presentation during the annual conference in February!

geo sig logo outlines


Elementary Social Studies: Thinking Spatially

12:00-1 pm in Room 17A

Tom Baker & Anita Palmer

Connect with Your Community Using 21st Century Tools

3:30pm-5pm  in Room 6B

Carolyn Mitchell & Roger Palmer


Enhancing Social Studies with Digital Maps

1:30-3pm in Room 4A

Tom Baker, Anita Palmer & Chris Bunin

Dead Authors, Dusty Books and Mapping Their Connections

1:30-3pm  in Room 6B

Barbaree Duke


GEO-SIG Luncheon: Dining with Drones

11:30-1:30 in Hilton Room 415AB

Just Add A Little GIS

I’ve been following an interesting discussion on a Linked In group.  The original question was “How can technology aid in student achievement? Or also, What is technology’s role in education?” There have been some terrific thoughts shared from this great group of professionals (Technology Integration in Education…if you care to join the discussion) 
Here’s my addition to the discussion: 
When you’re deciding on using technology or any other tool to teach or enhance content.  As the experienced instructors, we must keep asking ourselves, “How will this way be better than the old way?”  The recipe that says “just add technology” doesn’t make the most impact.  The right time to add technology is when student achievement and student understanding are drastically changed.

For example, I was teaching Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Tom Sawyer to my middle school 7th graders as part of the required English Language Arts course content.  Some other teachers were having their students search the Internet and write a report on Mark Twain or some aspect of the time period.  Other teachers would watch a movie from the Biography Channel on Twain’s life.  Now both of those examples are adding technology, but the impact isn’t much different on the students…you’re just using a different vehicle to get there.  I had some experience using GIS(geographic information systems) and saw some potential in that technology really changing student perspective.  Let’s face it, when they see an old book and hear that it’s about slavery and a river…you might lose them…a bunch of dead authors and dusty books!  My experiment really paid off.  After having students use GIS to examine Twain’s trip down the Mississippi River, slavery population maps of the time and look at a historic map that Twain might have used when piloting the riverboat, they were not only more interested, but began to see novel as we read it.  They made the connection between slavery and an old dusty book.  They could see how their state looked at that time.  They started to see Social Studies and Science in what we were studying in English class.  As I included GIS and other geospatial technologies along the way, their critical thinking and ultimately those pesky test scores went UP, really UP and that’s a good case for using technology that you don’t have to explain to anyone.

Safaris, Trash and Adventure: GeoTech 2010

Don’t be fooled by the conference title!  It’s not just about geography and technology.  GeoTech is an opportunity to expand your horizons.  It doesn’t matter what you teach, because you WILL find something for you!  I’m a thinker, something that was a problem in the 4th grade…accused of daydreaming, but as an educator has served me well.  The keynote speakers consistently inspire you to venture beyond your borders and think. Blessed with two keynotes this year, Chad Pregracke and Ben Osborne didn’t disappoint!  

I had no idea who these men were before I met them at GeoTech.  They were absolutely personable and instisted on having lunch with us, chatting in the evenings and experiencing the conference together.  How many teachers get to meet these kinds of folks and have a nice chat?  They were interested in our work as educators and wanted to know how they could help further our causes.  Ben’s photographs are stunning!  Don’t overlook the Friday evening presentation at the Science Museum…it’s worth the time and money, always!  Ben shared his experiences in Africa with the wild dogs and lions but even more intriguing were the behind-the-scenes videos of their adventures in filming.  Undeniably, lions are impressive beasts.  But how much more incredible that they were looking for them IN THE DARK!  The moment in the video when it’s all quiet, pitch black and windless; the folks in each vehicle are whispering across the radios, “We don’t see any lions,” while “No lions over here either,” is answered with the deep, eerie rumble of the lions’ distinctive growl.  It still sends chills up my spine!  What amazing stories could my students begin to tell after viewing this experience!  Having created lessons for my students related to Mark Twain and the Mississippi River, Chad’s story intrigued me.  He grew up on the river and set out to change it, make it trash-free.  His tenacity and ambition to try it and see what happens is contagious!  After hearing his story, I question how many causes are in my own backyard, simple causes that could make a big difference.  You don’t have to go to Africa or live on the Mississippi River to realize that adventure and purpose should be part of our lives…our classrooms!  What adventure awaits you?