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5 Reasons to set up ArcGIS Online single sign on at your school or board

Every year, more schools and school boards in Canada are enjoying the benefits of setting up ArcGIS Online single sign on (SSO). Discover 5 reasons to go SSO and hear from educators on their experiences.

Currently, there are approximately 50 schools and boards with SSO in Canada. We would like to increase the number to at least double in the next year. With the help of this blog post, we hope that will become a reality!

Let’s find out 5 reasons to set up ArcGIS Online SSO at your school or school board. If you are a teacher, feel free to share this information with your tech and curriculum leads.

  1. Direct Access
    Teachers and students get quick access to ArcGIS Online with SSO. They can start using this powerful and relevant education tool for K-12 education in a few clicks and no additional password is required. You also get access to ArcGIS apps like ArcGIS StoryMaps, ArcGIS Survey123 and ArcGIS Dashboards.
    “SSO has been an essential element in the use of ArcGIS at Hamilton Wentworth District School Board.  By removing barriers to access, the SSO has allowed our staff and students to gain immediate access to the software, increasing engagement.  Students are more likely to use ArcGIS in future courses if the access is readily available.” - Trevor Pratt, Special Assignment Teacher eLearning, the Hamilton Wentworth District School Board
  2. ArcGIS is FREE
    There’s no fee to get your own ArcGIS Online school or board subscription for teaching and learning. Students will get access to this industry standard software used by professionals globally with many applications in different sectors.
  3. Security and Privacy
    Users don't need to request accounts and no student info is required. As an administrator, a school or school board can customize their security and privacy settings. Read the Privacy and Security FAQsThe screenshot shows a person in front of a computer screen exploring ArcGIS Online general organization settings.
    A school or board can customize their security and privacy settings.
  4. Link to curriculum and skills
    ArcGIS is a tool that links to curriculum outcomes, like using inquiry to understand an issue, critical and spatial thinking, and analysis and tech skills. Students can gain real-world skills by using ArcGIS and this will help them in the long-term education and professional goals. Explore our ArcGIS Online resources to learn more. 
    “Single sign on helps to ensure that learners have quick, easy, and convenient access to programs like ArcGIS. In using ArcGIS learners can engage in data analysis and display that helps them explore questions and ideas of interest related to course content. Experiences like this help to develop technological fluency and critical thinking skills that are essential for the future.” - Bryan Mrezar, Curriculum Development and Learning Specialist, Nova Scotia Department of Education and Early Childhood Development
  5. Engage students in learning
    Put students in the driver’s seat in their learning through interactive and engaging content that is tied to curricula across Canada.

The screenshot shows a globe with lines of latitude and longitude on a web map.

ArcGIS Online enables students to use interactive maps and apps to learn about geography and other topics. In the “Where on Earth?” activity, students learn the basics of latitude and longitude.

Ready to get started?

  • Request an ArcGIS Online subscription for your school or board at Fill out the Teacher form (You don’t have to be a teacher) and mention that you want SSO.
  • Once you received your ArcGIS Online subscription link, use this resource to get started with your set up.
  • If you have a school or board subscription already, but want to move to SSO – send your IT group this resource on SSO.
  • Have questions? Contact

Happy Mapping!


About the Author

Angela Alexander is a K-12 Education Specialist in the Esri Canada Education and Research group. She has over 15 years of experience working with educators across Canada. Angela focuses on producing geographic information system (GIS) and curriculum-specific resources, and conducting and creating custom workshops for educators. She manages the GIS Ambassador Program and is the Technical Chair for the annual Skills Ontario GIS competition. Angela also writes monthly posts for the Esri Canada Education and Research blog, highlighting K-12 educators and partners, new ArcGIS resources and GIS-related events.

Profile Photo of Angela Alexander