Category Archives: Professional Development

These are blog posts related to CGA-sponsored teacher professional development activities.

Professional Development Opportunity: Biodiversity in the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, Sat., March 19

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Join our BioBlitz partners at the King Gillette Ranch for this FREE workshop to investigate biodiversity in the Santa Monica Mountains and life’s enabling substance, water. By blending EEI and Project WET activities together the workshop will illustrate the three dimensional learning cycle that is integral to the Next Generation Science Standards. Educators get research-based planning tools that, when implemented with integrity, will bring immediate benefits to students. Ample time for collegial co-planning is built into the workshop as we explore biodiversity in the parks. This workshop is designed to support teachers planning to visit a National Park area with their class or participate in Bio-Blitzes in the park or at their own school sites – but all are invited to attend this training and get outside with us!

 

Placer Union High School District Brings Geospatial Technology into the Classroom

On October 16, 2015, the CGA provided a workshop on using ArcGIS Online to a group of 18 enthusiastic high school educators who teach science, social science, journalism, and career technical education courses at Placer UHSD.  Gregg Ramseth, the district’s director of technology and assessment, has led the way in utilizing the free AGO Organizational accounts made available by Esri as part of the President’s ConnectEd Initiative, and a number of the teachers in the district are stepping up and engaging in the technology.

Placer Union High School District teachers utilize ArcGIS Online during professional development workshop on Oct. 16, 2015.
Placer Union High School District teachers utilize ArcGIS Online during professional development workshop on Oct. 16, 2015.

Teachers Robin Herrnberger and Greg Sloan participated in the first workshop held at Placer UHSD in the Spring, and then they attended the GeoTech Center summer workshop held at San Diego State University.  They are now eyeing the possibility of attending Esri’s T3G Institute in the Summer of 2016!  Greg will begin acting as an instructional coach for the district in January, which will further assist the district in supporting the inquiry-based learning promoted in the C3 Framework, engaging students in the kinds of practices called for in the Next Generation Science Standards, and building 21st century job skills.

Greg and Robin are demonstrating how teachers can ramp up their own skills in order to utilize the GIS software to its fullest educational potential, but at the workshop we also emphasized that teachers can make good use of ArcGIS Online with minimal training on their part.  Teachers explored the standards-based GeoInquiries that Esri has created for teachers of earth science and history, and they also found that they could create their very own simple map within a matter of minutes.

The CGA looks forward to continuing to support the Placer Union High School District.  Other districts interested in taking advantage of the free, industry-standard GIS software now available to K-12 schools should visit http://edcommunity.esri.com/ and reach out to the California Geographic Alliance to schedule a teacher professional development workshop.

Teachers discover opportunities for data visualization and effective communication presented by ArcGIS Online.
Teachers discover opportunities for data visualization and effective communication presented by ArcGIS Online.

California Geographic Alliance Trains High School Teachers to Incorporate GIS into History and Geography Courses

From July 15-17, the Spatial Analysis Lab at San Diego State University’s Geography Department was buzzing with energy and exciting ideas.  Twenty-one educators were receiving their first instruction in using geographic information systems, having conversations about how the technology could enrich teaching and learning of history and geography, and establishing free ArcGIS organizational accounts for 13 high schools, plus the San Diego History Center and the Girl Scouts of San Gorgonio County.  The California Geographic Alliance (CGA), which is funded by the National Geographic Education Foundation, organized the professional development workshop with support from leading GIS software provider Esri, as part of their participation in President Obama’s ConnectED Initiative.  Teachers, educational technology resource teachers, and curriculum specialists from San Diego City Schools and Sweetwater Union High School District made up the majority of the group, but they were joined by 4 pre-service teachers who recently completed the Linked Learning program at SDSU, as well as a museum educator and a STEM Program Manager for the Girl Scouts.

Guided by Professor Ming-Hsiang Tsou (who serves as CGA’s Geospatial Technology Coordinator) and experienced mappers and patient mentors Cynthia Paloma and Yi-Ting Chuang, workshop participants learned to use ArcGIS Online to create their own web maps, build story maps that integrate maps with other multimedia content, and even use crowdsourcing to collect observations in the field that feed directly into a web map.  They were motivated by the possibilities presented through the tools made accessible by Esri, and they were quick learners.  By the end of day one, teachers were presenting their own maps!

teacher working on project while at workshop
A Sweetwater Unnion High School District teacher works on a story map about the importance of the Silk Roads

CGA’s Professional Development Coordinator Emily Schell (who is also Executive Director of the California International Studies Project) and teacher leader Trevore Humphrey then helped the educators think strategically about how to integrate GIS into the classroom to create dynamic standards-based learning experiences and enhance students’ understanding of the world.  Each educator is now working (independently or in a team) to develop a new educational resource for use in their own classroom.  With input from the other participants and CGA staff, these resources will be refined and then shared with other teachers via the CGA website (www.calgeography.org) and future professional development workshops.  The educators who came to the workshop are now part of the CGA team working to unleash the power of geospatial technology!

Thank you so much for including me in the GeoQuest training last week. I enjoyed the opportunity and I look forward to moving forward with new programs based on what I learned. I already have a meeting scheduled for next week with a girl who is interested in using a Story Map as part of her Silver Award project. I look forward to continuing to work with all of you as I build up our GIS based programs.”     – Carrie Raleigh, Girl Scouts of San Gorgonio County

“Thank you for putting on such an amazing learning opportunity for teachers.  I was in amazement all day at the level of excitement.  This will carry into classroom practice.  I appreciate the efforts the team went to in order to make this an engaging experience.”
     – Linda Trousdale, Director of Teaching and Learning, SDUSD

A particularly exciting aspect of the GeoQuest JumpStart Workshop was the fact that it continued and supported work that the CGA has been involved with to design and launch a new year-long Human Geography/World Geography course in Sweetwater Union High School District.  Four of the participants in the workshop were SUHSD teachers, and it was exciting to see them using ArcGIS Online to create  teaching and learning tools that will make the new course dynamic and enable students to develop spatial thinking and geographic reasoning skills.  One teacher is creating a Story Map illustrating how the development of the Silk Roads and associate international trade facilitated the transmission of religious philosophies and institutions, another is illustrating commodity chains and globalized business practices associated with fast food meals, while a third project will follow the experiences of the Lost Boys of Sudan from their initial experiences in their war torn homeland to their relocation and experiences as refugees in the San Diego area.  It is exciting to see teachers using such a variety of issues and stories to help students gain insights into the power of geography.  The CGA team is thrilled to be able to collaborate with Sweetwater’s Human Geography team.

 

teachers working on computers while at workshop
San Diego Unified School District teachers working to create a Story Map and learning activities focusing on the relationship between demographic variables and voting patterns in presidential elections.

The workshop was the first event coordinated as part of the CGA’s GeoQuest Initiative.  GeoQuest seeks to integrate geographic perspectives and the tools of geographical analysis into a diverse range of courses at all grade levels, with an overall focus on building 21st century leadership and problem-solving skills that will enable the U.S. to address the challenges of sustainability, economic competitiveness, and global security while at the same time embracing a diverse citizenry and their varied experiences.  The CGA works to promote geographic literacy and support geography education – at all grade levels and in out-of-school programs as well as formal educational settings.  While just one of a network of alliances, California is where the first geographic alliance was established in 1982.  SDSU’s Department of Geography has served as the host institution for the CGA since 2013.

Building Leadership Skills with Geography and GIS Education: Notes from the SDSU Colloquium by Dr. Joseph Kerski

Written by CGA Geospatial Technology Coordinator Ming-Hsiang Tsou

What are the key skills required for a team leader? An effective leader needs to provide a 360 degree perspective and to have capabilities to solve problems by using multiple tools with limited resources. With hands-on skills and technological expertise, a team leader should be able to communicate with his/her team members effectively and to accomplish challenging tasks with collaboration from multiple people in different fields together. All these leadership skills and trainings are the key components in Geography and GIS education. As a teacher of Geography and GIS, I would like to ask every Geography teacher and GIS educator to re-think the goals of Geography and GIS education. To equip students with leadership skills and deep-thinking capability, we should transform Geography education toward the development of team leadership for our community.

Understanding local to global challenges, learning geospatial technology and tools, using geo-enabled devices effectively (such as smart phones and navigation systems) are exemplars of important geography education content that can build the fundamental skills of team leadership for students. These examples were highlighted by Dr. Joseph Kerski during his colloquium speech on September 12th, 2014 at San Diego State University.

In our GIS education community, Dr. Joseph Kerski is a perfect example of a true team leader who is also an outstanding geographer. With a full house at SDSU’s Colloquium on Friday afternoon, Dr. Kerski delivered an insightful and inspiring presentation focused on learning geospatial tools and thinking critically and spatially about our world.

Kerski_at_SDSU

It is a great honor for California Geography Alliance and the Department of Geography to host Dr. Joseph Kerski’s colloquium. Dr. Kerski received his Ph.D. from the University of Colorado in 2000. He is the Geographer and Education Manager at ESRI and an adjunct Professor at University of Denver. With an impressive publication record (five books and over 40 journal articles, papers, and book chapters), Dr. Kerski is probably the most well-known GIS education “guru” in the world.

To demonstrate the definition of “guru”, I would like to share the SDSU story map made by Dr. Kerski when he just arrived to SDSU in the morning before his talk (Figure 1). Here is the actual link: http://www.arcgis.com/apps/MapTour/?appid=61035b310fcd425dbf9d722da62c80de. He created this wonderful Story Map by using his mobile phone only and revealed these beautiful scenes around the campus visually and spatially. Very cool and effective!

Kerski_SDSU_StoryMap

Joseph is my life-long friend (over 18 years) and one of the most admirable scholars in the GIS community. He and I spent 4 years together in the University of Colorado at Boulder during our Ph.D. programs.

In order to share his great presentation to the members of California Geography Alliance, we have posted a few sections of his colloquium videos in our YouTube Channel. You can access them from here: http://calgeography.sdsu.edu/featured-talks/.

Let’s train our next generation of geographers to become the team leaders in the 21st Century!

Ming from San Diego
mtsou@mail.sdsu.edu

Atlas Professional Development Workshop: Long Beach, May 31 (CLOSED)

This atlas workshop has been announced in response to a high level of interest from teachers in the Long Beach area. It will be held from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on May 31, with the exact location to be determined. Participants receive training in use of the California Atlas, with lesson plans aligned to content standards and educational best practices. All participants receive a classroom set of atlases and other valuable free materials, all at no cost.

These workshops are free for any fourth grade teacher, and space is limited, so reserve your spot now. For more information about this workshop and to register, visit the Professional Development page.

Bringing GIS into the Classroom: Ideas for Teachers of All Disciplines

By Trevore Humphrey
Note: This article is based on a presentation given at the 2014 California Council for the Social Studies Conference.

Geographic Information Systems (GIS) is designed to capture, store, manipulate, analyze, manage, and present all types of geographical data. Google Earth as well as other modern online GIS tools has greatly added to the list of free and accessible geospatial technology that teachers can use as a powerful tool in their classrooms, and this article will provide some ideas for science, Math, and English classrooms.

While great traditional map sources like National Geographic “One-Pager Maps” offer great hands on opportunities for students to work in geography, geospatial technology offers students a far more dynamic medium to work in. There are two main paths to using GIS in the classroom; Instructional and Project Based Learning (PBL).

PBL can be easily implemented by combining a research project with GIS to have students create content on their maps and present their research to their classmates using this medium

  • EX: Student(s) creates basic map and tour that shows the paths of migration and settlement in early America.
  • EX: Student(s) creates map that compares and contrasts basic U.S. census data from two different decades. Map highlights and describes significant changes over time.

Links to sites where students can create maps:
http://mapmaker.education.nationalgeographic.com/
https://mapsengine.google.com/map/

Instructional uses fall into three major categories that are as follows.

  • Direct Instruction: Part of lecture or activity. GIS programs can be quickly and easily used as an instructional reference map with greater detail and accuracy than any paper or static map.

    EX: Showing student(s) historically significant physical markers like the Panama Canal or the Great Wall of China.

  • Independent Study: Excellent digital resource.
  • EX: Have student(s) complete an “Earth Quest” in which they explore the map you have created and answer questions and prompts as they go.

  • Review: Good format for unit review.

    EX: Create a comprehensive review for a unit exam by narrating an audio tour (Google Earth) which covers the content and concepts students need to know for the exam. Post file online for students to access at their convenience. Include content check questions along the way.

Geography has been often restricted to the Social Studies classroom and is often only covered there but with the opportunities that GIS offers we can bring geography into multiple disciplines. The following are brief descriptions with links that support geospatial technology use outside the social-studies.

Science: The core subject of science and in particular, earth science and environmental science are areas that can be greatly aided by using geospatial technology. There already is a plethora of models and data out there for teachers to use. For some great k-12 earth science activities and lesson plans for Google Earth visit the Earth and Space Science QUEST by Penn State.

Math: To make math more tangible, real world based GIS offers the ability to measure distances, area, latitude and longitude: intersecting lines, angles, etc. Instead of having students answer the classic, “If train A is going 50mph and is 340 miles…” have students actually find a railroad and calculate a real distance (S.F.-L.A.) that they measure. For more examples and full lesson plans visit http://www.realworldmath.org/

English: We ask students to look up vocabulary terms that are new to them when they are reading. They should also be looking up locations and places they read about but are not familiar with. This will strengthen understanding through generating geographic context, mental maps, and spatial relationships. A great resource for teachers is Google Lit Trips which is a site full of Google Earth models for a variety of fiction and non-fiction books k-12 students read. And creating a Google Lit Trip could be a great project to accompany reading a novel.
While geography still remains a largely social studies discipline GIS offers teachers a technology that can support interdisciplinary work as well as help meet the goals of the new Common Core standards. The following are some of the few benefits of having students work with GIS no matter what class they are in.

geospatial technology benefits graphic

In conclusion, there are a wide variety of GIS programs; some that are simple and quick to use such as National Geographic MapMaker interactive or Google Maps; some that are a bit more advanced and offer greater complexity such as Google Earth or ArcGIS Online. No matter what GIS program you might use for your class the result will be a new, dynamic, and engaging approach to incorporate geography and technology into your classroom.

– Trevore Humphrey

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USS Midway Museum Summer Teacher Institute – Opportunities for CGA Members!

CGA has reserved spaces for a few members (high school teachers) to participate in the USS Midway Museum’s 2014 Midway Institute for Teachers. The institute offers two weeks of professional development on teaching about the Cold War era, its origins and effects, the Korean War, the Vietnam War and era, and presidential decision-making. These CGA members will join a group of thirty teacher/scholars selected to participate in a specialized institute in downtown San Diego from June 16-27, 2014. The seminar will be held aboard the USS Midway, an artifact of that era and the only aircraft carrier to serve the entire duration of the Cold War.

For more information and to apply to this program, go to: http://www.midway.org/midway-teacher-institute

Please indicate on your application that you are a CGA Member. Travel costs and stipend are provided.

Atlas Professional Development Workshop in San Diego on May 10, 2014

This workshop is at capacity, but interested teachers are encouraged to register to be put on a wait list. We will notify teachers if spots open up and give them priority for future workshops.

The first of four upcoming atlas workshops has been announced, and it will be held at the San Diego County Office of Education from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on May 10. These workshops are free for any fourth grade teacher, and space is limited, so reserve your spot now. For more information about this workshop and to register, visit the Professional Development page.