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BREAKING NEWS – Winners of My California GIS Mapping Competition

The CGA’s first ever statewide GIS mapping competition for 4th through 12th grade students has concluded.  5 students projects have been selected as state finalists in each of two divisions.  The authors of each project will be awarded a prize of $100, and the projects will be advanced to the national competition.  5 other projects have been selected for Honorable Mention.

The CGA wants to thank:

  • the NorCal Chapter of URISA and the California Geographic Information Association for their generous support of this competition;
  • the 29 schools that registered for the competition, including all the teachers and students who invested their time in creating projects about their state;
  • all of the judges who lent their time and expertise to scoring the entries and selecting the very best;
  • and Dr. Waverly Ray who took the lead in coordinating the competition and brought enthusiasm and skill to the task!

Without further ado, we present the winners.

In the middle school (4th-8th grade) division…

In the high school (9th-12th grade) division…

And also deserving of honorable mention are the following projects.

In the middle school (4th-8th grade) division…

In the high school (9th-12th grade) division…

 

Meet the Judges for the My California GIS Mapping Exhibition and Competition

Janet Brewster

GIS Specialist, California Department of Fish and Wildlife

  • My career has spanned multiple disciplines, and GIS has moved right along with me. From environmental planning to facilities to land and wildlife conservation, I have been able to use GIS to conduct analyses, create and manage data, and make connections that weren’t otherwise possible. But perhaps best of all, I can share all of this information on a map, rather than in a dry list of names and numbers. Who doesn’t love a good map?!

 

Nancy Ferris

Editor, BayGeo Journal, BayGeo

(a GIS professional organization for the San Francisco Bay Area)

  • I love using GIS because it’s like solving a puzzle. GIS helps you use data to answer questions in the real world, and the software itself can be a puzzle to solve!
  • I first used GIS during my college summer job working for the Army Corps of Engineers. I immediately fell in love.
  • I studied on the job, online, and at the Defense Department’s mapping school.
  • I’ve used GIS to make graphics to locate water resources in developing countries, helped with disaster relief situations in the U.S. and abroad, and for environmental work in California. I’ve also developed enterprise GIS databases and web mapping services, and worked on Department of Defense GIS data standards.

 

Erica Freer

Assistant Professor (Economics), California State University San Marcos 

  • I love GIS because of its endless possibilities and applications. Modeling data spatially can help transform the way we think about data and open our eyes to patterns we may have never found otherwise. As an Urban Economist, I explore the spatial relationships in many different topic areas: poverty, crime, transportation, housing, education, segregation, urban sprawl, and more. GIS is a great tool no matter what your interests or field of study!

 

Tyler Friesen

GIS Analyst, Dudek

  • I enjoy GIS because it is truly an interdisciplinary field.  In one day I can go from creating maps that show the results of an archeological excavation to modeling a proposed fire station’s incident response times to creating a mobile app that allows biologists to collect endangered species occurrences.  No matter what type of data you are working with GIS can help to answer the question of why what is where.
  • The first time I used GIS was in a geography class in college at San Diego State University.
  • I use GIS daily in my career to study, represent, model, and analyze environmental phenomena throughout the western United States in support of environmental permitting for private and public projects that improve communities’ infrastructure and natural environments.

 

Katsuhiko Oda

Assistant Professor, Spatial Sciences Institute at the University of Southern California

  • I love GIS since it is a powerful tool for doing geography and thinking spatially.
  • I used ARC/INFO 3.0 more than two decades ago when I was an undergraduate student.
  • I studied GIS in Nara University (Japan), the University of Toledo (Ohio), and Texas A&M University (Texas).
  • I have used GIS as a GIS analyst, researcher, and educator in my career.

 

Waverly Ray

Associate Professor of Geography, San Diego Mesa College

  • I first used GIS during a class when I was an undergraduate student at Virginia Tech. We worked on a project to help the local Habitat for Humanity decide if they should accept end-of-year donations of land parcels. It was the first time that I had a class project that actually made a contribution to the community—I thought that was a pretty cool!

 

Ming-Hsiang Tsou

Professor, San Diego State University

  • I started to use GIS in 1989 when I was a college student at National Taiwan University.  I used ARC/INFO and wrote AML codes (Arc Macro Language) for some mapping projects on a VAX-11 mini-computer.

 

Maureen Kelley

Lecturer, Geography & Global Studies Department,

San Jose State University

 

  • The first time I used and understood the power of GIS was when I interned at the USGS-Menlo Park in the 1990s working for geologists. The application we used was command line Arc/INFO running on a UNIX operating system. I studied GIS at San Jose State for my undergraduate career, the USGS for a master’s degree internship, and the University of Oregon for their PhD program.

 

 

Get Your Students Involved in the My California GIS Mapping Exhibition and Competition!

UPDATE:

With registration for the competition now closed, the CGA is happy to report that 29 schools have registered for the competition.  That could mean as many as 145 student entries in the state final!

An illustrious panel of eleven judges has stepped forward to evaluate and rank the student entries, so we are all set for an exciting competition.  Thank you to all of our volunteer judges!

Click here to see a map of schools registered for the competition.

_______________________________________________________________________

The California Geographic Alliance is hosting an exciting statewide mapping showcase and competition that encourages middle (4th-8th grade) and high school (9th-12th grade) students to harness the power of Geographic Information Systems and get connected with their state by producing an online map that focuses on stories, issues, or ideas that are important to them.

Registrations due March 15, 2017!

Go to the contest page for full details.

Thanks to the Northern California URISA Chapter and the California Geographic Information Association for their generous support of this effort!

Meet the competition judges

Amazing lineup of geography sessions and workshops planned for CCSS conference in Sacramento

Planning on attending the California Council for the Social Studies Conference in Sacramento, March 3-5?

The CGA is proud to be a Silver Sponsor of the conference, and we are even more excited to be sponsoring an amazing array of sessions and workshops. Come visit the booth in the exhibit hall to learn about the latest resources and see some incredible maps, and please check out these great sessions.

FRIDAY

10a – 6p
Exhibit Hall: Explore CGA Resources and the Historic Map Gallery

1:00-2:00p
Session: Human Geography with a Global Studies Lens…for Everyone!
Presenters: Kelly León, Joel Rodriguez (Room: Feather River)
Sweetwater Union High School District curriculum specialists will present the new Human Geography course for all ninth graders in the district. Goals of the course, district-wide implementation and training, instructional guides, & formative assessments will be examined. Come find out what 21st Century geography is all about and how to implement it at the district and classroom level.

Strand(s): HS Gen 21st Century Geography

3:30-4:30p
Session: Beyond 13: The enduring legacy of North America’s Spanish colonies.
Presenter: Mimi Coughlin (Room: Feather River)
This session offers a counter-narrative to “British centric” U.S. history that is taught as a progression of people and ideas that move from east to west across the continent. Spanish colonization, especially efforts to settle California, will be considered. Influences on America culture that progressed north from Mexico to the U.S. will be presented through inquiry-based teaching resources.

Strand(s): MS HS Gen Ethnic Studies History Geography

SATURDAY

 9a – 4p
Exhibit Hall: Explore CGA Resources and the Historic Map Gallery

 9:00-11:15a
Workshop: Become a National Geographic Certified Educator
Presenters: Mary Janzen, Thomas Herman (Room: El Camino)
This workshop will introduce K-12 educators to the National Geographic Teacher Certification Program. By attending, you will complete Phase1 of the process, and you will learn the steps through which you can become certified and become part of an exciting and rapidly growing educator community and get preferred access to unique opportunities, such as connecting your classroom to National Geographic explorers.

Strand(s): EL MS HS 21st Century Blended Learning History Geography

1:00-3:15p
Workshop: Geo-Quest: Embracing New Technologies and the New Framework to Deepen Engagement and Learning
Presenter: Thomas Herman (Room: California 4)
Geo-Quest is an initiative of the California Geographic Alliance that provides students at all grade levels with the tools and scaffolding needed for in-depth learning and critical thinking. By examining topics from all social studies disciplines in geographic context, students become active, geo-literate, and knowledgeable citizens who can develop solutions to contemporary problems and succeed in college, career and civic life.

Strand(s): EL MS HS Gen PBL 21st Century History Geography Economics Civics

2:15-4:30p
Workshop: Get Your Feet on the California Giant Traveling Map
Presenters: Joshua Bess, Amanda Marcus (Room: Maxi’s)
This session will introduce teachers to the California Geographic Alliance’s brand new Giant Traveling Map and a set of engaging, standards-based learning activities for third and fourth grades.

Strand(s): EL 21st Century History Geography

3:30-4:30p
Session: Teaching 21st Century Geography and Global Education
Presenters:  Emily Schell, Stacey Greer, Thomas Herman (Room: California 3)
What is contemporary geography and global competence? What are the most effective and engaging ways to teach these standards-based concepts and skills? Teacher Leaders in the Sacramento region are engaged in a year-long professional inquiry project to explore and implement answers to these questions. Come learn about our project findings and share your insights and experiences with project leaders.

Strand(s): Gen PBL 21st Century Blended Learning History Geography Civics

SUNDAY

 8:00-9:00a
Session: Using web-based mapping tools to enhance spatial thinking
Presenters: Greg Sloan and Robin Herrnberger (Room: Garden)
Make use of free web-based technology to have students interact and create geospatial presentations of data. Attendees will learn how to access ArcGIS Online for themselves and their school, learn about existing lessons, and how using spatial thinking can enhance the relevance and experience of data and mapping projects in the classroom.

Strand(s): MS HS PBL 21st Century History Geography

California Giant Traveling Map Available for 2017!

The Network of Alliances for Geographic Education has an exciting new national initiative for 2017: the State Giant Traveling Map Program.  At least two giant maps of California (17 x 21 feet, so not as large as the giant continent maps) will be circulating the state beginning in January.  The maps are specifically designed for use by 3rd and 4th grade students, and they come with lesson plans designed by National Geographic and tied to standards for those grades.

Three teachers from California went to Denver, Colorado this past summer to receive training from National Geographic staff.  They have also developed lesson plans specific to our state standards, which they have begun piloting with teachers and students.  The CGA wants to thank Stephanie Buttell-Maxin, Mandi Marcus, and Josh Bess for their support of the National Initiative in California.  We will all benefit from their thoughtful leadership.

Interested in getting the California Giant Traveling Map to your school?  Click on this link to provide your name, school details, and contact info: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/6WJM6HP and someone will be in touch with you soon.

colorado-teachers

 

GEEO Helps Educators Make International Travel Part of Professional Development!

At the CGA, we see geographic knowledge and skills and global citizenship as intertwined and mutually supportive. Therefore, we encourage educators to use travel as part of an individualized professional development strategy. We are happy to share the following information from GEEO, a unique non-profit organization designed to serve educators and offering a fabulous range of travel experiences at reasonable cost.

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 will talk about these trips all year in my classes. For so many of my students, my description of my travels will be the only exposure they will have to other countries and other ways of life.” -Teacher Michael Baldwin, who’s first time traveling abroad was with GEEO.

Travel the world, earn professional development credit, and bring global understanding into your classroom!

Founded in 2007, Global Exploration for Educators Organization (GEEO) is a 501c3 non-profit organization that has sent over 1600 teachers abroad on adventurous travel programs. With GEEO educators can earn professional development credits and optional graduate credit while seeing the world. GEEO’s trips are 7 to 21 days in length and are designed and discounted to be interesting and affordable for teachers. In addition to amazing tour leaders, many of the programs are accompanied by university faculty that are experts on the destination. GEEO also provides teachers educational materials and the structure to help them bring their experiences into the classroom. The trips are open to all nationalities of K-12 and university educators, administrators, retired educators, as well as educators’ guests. The deposit is $250 for each program and then the final payment is due 60 days before departure.

GEEO is offering the following travel programs for 2017: Bali/Lombok, Bangkok to Hanoi, China, Costa Rica, Eastern Europe, The Galapagos Islands, Greece, Iceland, India/Nepal, Bhutan, Ireland, Armenia/Georgia, Italy, Multi-Stan, Antarctica, Morocco, Myanmar (Burma), Peruvian Amazon, Peruvian Andes, Southern Africa, Vietnam/Cambodia, Balkans and, a Mt. Kilimanjaro climb. Detailed information about each trip, including itineraries, costs, travel dates, and more can be found at www.geeo.org. GEEO can be reached 7 days a week, toll-free at 1-877-600-0105 between 9 AM-9 PM EST.

Support the AAG’s Proposal for a New Advanced Placement course in Geographic Information Science & Technology

CGA members who are US high school teachers, here is a chance to help connect high school educational programs to real-world work skills and career opportunities in a new way…

Support the AAG’s Proposal for a New Advanced Placement course in Geographic Information Science & Technology

With support from the Geography Education National Implementation Project (GENIP), the American Association of Geographers (AAG) has developed a proposal for a new Advanced Placement course inGeographic Information Science and Technology (AP GIS&T).

All U.S. high schools, colleges, and universities are invited to review the proposal by visiting www.apgist.org.

AP GIS&T is designed to introduce high school students to the fundamentals of geographic information science and applications of powerful geospatial technologies for spatial analysis and problem solving. Together with AP Human Geography, AP GIS&T offers an opportunity to engage students in outstanding geographic learning experiences and promote awareness of the many college and career opportunities available in the discipline.

The AP GIS&T course proposal has attracted broad support from prominent scientific and educational organizations, as well as major technology employers such as Google.

For AP GIS&T to become a reality, the AAG needs to collect attestations from 250 U.S. high schools that confirm they have the interest and capacity to offer the course. Similar assurances are needed from 100 colleges and universities that they would be willing to offer some form of credit to students who demonstrate proficiency on the AP GIS&T exam.

The AAG invites high school principals and academic department chairpersons to consider adding their institution to the list of AP GIS&T supporters by completing the brief attestation form at www.apgist.org. The AAG’s goal is to complete the attestation process by October 1, 2016.

Have questions about AP GIS&T? Contact the AAG at ap_gist@aag.org.

California State Geographic Bee to be Held Friday April 1 at Fresno State University

It is that time of year again!  Hundreds of school level bees occurred throughout the state from November to January, with a winner being crowned at each school.  Now the top 105 school winners have been selected by the National Geographic Society and invited to take their talents to Fresno to see if they can emerge on top of a very intense competition.

The competition will begin at 8 am on Friday, April 1 at the Satellite Student Union on the Fresno State campus.  Once the preliminary rounds have been completed, the general public is welcome to come and watch the final and championship rounds, which will begin around 11 am.

State Bee Coordinator Sean Boyd, of the Fresno State Geography Department, was recently interviewed on the Central Valley Today television news program, and you can view that segment here:

Sean Boyd from CVT 2016

And a group of Mass Communication/Journalism students at Fresno State created a theatrical trailer for the Bee, which you can also view:

GeoBee Trailer

Good luck to all 105 competitors and congratulations to the thousands of students who participated in bees held at their school sites.

Semifinalists Get Ready for the California State Geography Bee – Friday, March 27 at CSU Fresno

On Friday, March 27, the top 110 qualifiers from among all winners of school-level geography bees will convene in Fresno to compete for the state geography bee championship.  The event will take place on the campus of CSU Fresno and will be hosted by State Bee Coordinator Sean Boyd.

Two-time top three finisher Rhea Mitr is one of many standouts among the participants in the geography bee.  Rhea was one of 28 students who got a perfect score on the state bee qualifying exam last year.  Rhea was interviewed by the Fresno Bee and urged other students, especially girls, to participate in the Geography Bee as a means to become a better-rounded citizen of today’s global world. She went on to say that “the Geography Bee is [about] knowing all about the world we live in. It is not just limited to continents, countries, capitals, currencies etc. It is about having an in-depth knowledge in several other things as well – earth and physical sciences, monuments, wonders of the world (man-made and natural), history, events in the news, disasters, human geography comprising of habitats, culture, religion, language, ethnicity, etc.”

National Geographic has released a complete list of all semifinalists who have qualified to compete at their state bees, and you can see the list here.  Local media reports from across the state have begun to report on the successes of their local students who are headed to the state bee.  Here are some links you can follow to get to know a few of the competitors:

Semifinalist Rhea Mitr, Quarry Lane School
Semifinalist Sydney Gamble, North Creek Academy
S
emifinalist Alex Topp, Vaca Pena Middle School
Semifinalist Tobey Shim, The Bishop’s School
Semifinalist Max Bhatti, Longden Elementary School

If you know of any other local media reports about school bees or state bee competitors, please send links to cga@geography.sdsu.edu.

 

Bringing Insights of Geographic Research to Geography Education Practice

Greetings from the Alliance Network Annual Meeting at National Geographic Society headquarters in Washington, DC.  We are hearing about changes in the way in which the Alliance network is organized and supported, and in the coming months there will be news to share about new initiatives and new activities, and we think there will be some things you can get excited about and use to get students engaged in learning.  More on that to come, but for now we want to share something that is a little bit outside the box of our usual Alliance work, but still very related.

Many of you may not know that the CGA team at San Diego State – in particular Stuart Aitken, Thomas Herman, and Kate Swanson – are also involved in conducting geographic research on the geographies of children, youth, and families.  The concept of “geographies of children and youth” may be new to you, but because most of you work with children and youth on a daily basis, you will find it a familiar topic.  It is an interdisciplinary field including education, environmental design, and sociology researchers who share an interest in places and spatial relationships.  They examine the ways in which adults make space for children, youth, and families (playgrounds and suburban neighborhood design are simple examples). They are also interested in ways in which children and youth interact with and modify their environments (think about the old Family Circle cartoon that shows how the child who says she came straight home from school actually took a circuitous route throughout the entire neighborhood or the way kids tend to gravitate to forts and treehouses away from adults’ spaces).  This field has grown significantly over the past 20 years, as is reflected in academic journals and in the number of disciplines who are using geographic thinking to examine the lives and well-being of children, youth and families.

In January, we hosted the 4th International Conference on the Geographies of Children, Youth, and Families in San Diego.  Over 160 researchers from 32 countries attended the conference, and they presented a wide range of ideas and evidence about what is happening in the lives of children and young people.  If you are interested in learning more about the conference, you can check out the conference web site at: http://icgcsandiego.wix.com/ypbw or the ISYS Center web site at http://geography.sdsu.edu/Research/Projects/ISYS/.

One big takeaway message for us as Alliance leaders and for all geography educators is this:  Valuing the perspectives, concerns, experiences and voices of youth with regard to issues such as life in their community, what it means to be a Californian or an American, and how do we conserve our global environment will create incredible motivation for students to accumulate geographic knowledge and activate geographic thinking.  You already know that, probably, but it is helpful to have an occasional reminder and some encouragement.  We have lots of things to teach, some grounded in standards and some grounded in personal values, but we would encourage you to make sure that on a regular basis you are giving students an opportunity to exercise their voices, analyze their environments from their own perspectives and the perspectives of others, and express their ideas for a brighter future.

An example of this came from a plenary speaker at the conference.  Professor Katharyne Mitchell from the University of Washington gave a talk entitled “Counter-mapping with Children.” She taught students about the fact that maps reflect one view on a place, and that they reflect power relations and, often, official designations.  They leave out some features and labels to make room for others that the mapmaker thinks are important to show on the map.  Maps can therefore exclude the perspectives of minority groups or of people who do not possess official power and status (i.e., children).  Dr. Mitchell then worked with the children to examine the perspectives of specific groups in the Seattle area where she works.  The students focused on the perspectives of women, Asian-Americans, and African Americans and produced alternative maps for the city that elevated those perspectives.  The activity built social and historic knowledge of the students while also engendering empathy and, wait for it…..geographic knowledge, skills, and ways of thinking!  Sounds great, right?  Only a shame she is not in California.  However, immediately after the talk we had a chance to learn that Dr. Nancy Erbstein at the University of California-Davis is doing very similar work in California.  A new collaboration is hopefully emerging from that conversation so we can share Dr. Erbstein’s work (and methods) with all of you.  But you don’t need to wait.  Have your students map their community.  Have them look at maps of their home area and talk about what is shown on the map.  Have them talk to others in the community about the places that are significant to them and check to see if they are shown on the maps you can access.  Have them produce alternative maps that do reflect these features.  It will be fun and relevant and it will build geographic knowledge and skills.  It will hopefully also tap into their natural curiosity and lead to lifelong learning.