Esri logoEsri® helps people and organizations to map and model our world. Esri's Geographic Information System (GIS) technology enables effective analysis and management of geographic information and better decision-making. Esri has evolved from producing desktop GIS for professionals and specialists, to producing a diverse platform which supports data collection, map production, imagery analysis, and geoprocessing, to data publishing and sharing, and mobile collaboration by non-specialists. Esri has over one million users worldwide and offices in more than 85 countries. GIS is a key tool for students to use for developing skills in critical thinking, spatial thinking, visualization, computer and media literacy, inquiry, and the ability to work with a wide variety of data which can be applied to careers in business, geography, land management, biology, urban planning, mathematics, engineering, history, and others. It also is a great tool to take out into the field on a smart phone for data collection which can be interpreted and visualized when back in the classroom on a tablet or laptop.

ArcGis Online - Add 'where' to your teaching

Using ArcGIS Online from Esri provides a way of exploring a rich body of content, a framework for thinking about the world, and key critical and holistic thinking skills through dynamic and customizable web maps. Moreover, it offers career pathways that are increasingly in demand. ArcGIS Online provides a problem-solving, inquiry-driven, standards-based skill set. Through ArcGIS Online, students grapple with current, relevant, important issues in STEM, geography, and history education, such as sustainable agriculture, natural hazards, water, energy and climate change. Students see the big picture so that they can understand how different patterns and trends are related.

Students become involved digital citizens that can use the technologies to ask the "what if" questions, test hypotheses, and model scenarios using a valuable 21st century tool. Spatially based questions begin with questions like:

  • ‘Why are cities located where they are and how are they affected by their proximity to nearby things and by global interconnections?'
  • ‘What is the relationship between birth rate and life expectancy?'
  • ‘How does acid mine drainage in a mountain range affect water quality downstream?' 
  • ‘How could climate change affect global food production?'

Giving students a reason to learn is powerful. Studying issues with GIS (Geographic's Information System) lends relevancy and real-world contexts and appeals to today's visual learners. Students who use GIS in tandem with their studies develop key critical thinking skills, including understanding how to carefully evaluate and use data. Students who are well grounded in the spatial perspective through ArcGIS Online are better able to, upon graduation, use data at a variety of scales, in a variety of contexts, think systematically and holistically, and use quantitative and qualitative approaches to solve problems. In short, these graduates are better decision-makers.

Using ArcGIS Online can be used on a wide variety of tablets, laptops, operating systems, and browsers, making it easier for a school's IT staff than desktop software. Students can also use ArcGIS Online's mobile capabilities to collect data in the field. They can sketch, record video, take photographs, or simply use their senses. They can collaboratively collect data as citizen scientists using an ordinary smartphone and have results appear automatically on a web map or story map. ArcGIS Online can map spreadsheets, tracks from GPS receivers or smartphones, data from the web or from a student's own computer, and much more, from local to global scale. It provides a framework for analyzing the "whys of where."

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