November’s GIS Ambassador: Kris Jones

November 19, 2019 Angela Alexander

Meet Kris Jones an information technology consultant from Halifax, Nova Scotia who’s this month’s GIS Ambassador. Find out what he’s been doing to support the use of ArcGIS Online in K-12 education in his province.  

November’s GIS Ambassador of the month is Kris Jones, an information technology consultant with Nova Scotia’s Department of Education and Early Childhood Development in Halifax. For the last two years, he’s worked closely with members of Esri Canada’s Education and Research group to promote the use of ArcGIS Online as a relevant and necessary tool in the K-12 classroom in Nova Scotia.

In 2017, Kris attended the Esri User Conference in San Diego, California. This annual conference brings together professionals and educators from all over the world with the purpose of connecting and sharing GIS ideas. While he was there, Kris met with Jean Tong, Esri Canada’s K-12 Teaching and Learning Manager to discuss ways to use ArcGIS Online to support Nova Scotia curriculum and how it can be easily accessed by teachers and students across the province.

“Since our first meeting, Jean and I have worked together on numerous projects and she’s has been an amazing support. Without her, these projects wouldn’t have had the success we have experienced.” – Kris Jones

Fast forward to 2019, Nova Scotia is currently the only province in Canada that has single sign on set up via the Google for Education system, allowing students and teachers to easily access ArcGIS Online through the Nova Scotia GNSPES site. Kris has set up many learning opportunities for teachers in the province. Members of Esri Canada’s Education and Research group conducted a series of webinars for ArcGIS Online beginners in January. A local GIS Ambassador Craig MacLachlan, who’s a professional services manager from Esri Canada’s Halifax office has facilitated ArcGIS Online workshops for teachers and provides on-going support to Kris and educators in the area.

Kris has even organized professional development workshops for teachers in the summer. This opportunity allowed teachers to sharpen their ArcGIS Online skills by learning about apps, like Collector for ArcGIS and Survey123 that can be used in the field for project based learning.

Options for the ITCamp2019, a summer technology conference, a professional development day for K-12 teachers.

Recently, Kris shared with us his thoughts on why supporting the use of GIS in K-12 education is important to him.

“GIS, like any technology, can provide many entry points into post-secondary opportunities and career pathways.  Providing students access to technology used in careers in today’s world gives students an opportunity to explore and experiment in a low stakes environment to find out if their interest aligns with the field.  When students have access to technology like ArcGIS Online early in their educational paths, they gain experience in the interface, which gives them the confidence to continue to explore opportunities in post-secondary and beyond.”

Looking ahead, Kris will be supporting a couple of trail mapping projects at the New Germany Rural High School in Lunenburg County and at St. Mary’s Bay Academy in The Tri-County Regional School Board. The projects will involve the students collecting data about nature around their schools using Survey123.

Kris continues to provide professional development and support to teachers who are interested in integrating GIS into their teaching. Next summer, Kris plans to include ArcGIS Online workshops again at the ITCamp summer technology conference.

We thank Kris for being the driving force in making ArcGIS Online an easily accessible tool for teaching and learning in Nova Scotia schools. We look forward to supporting the professional development opportunities you provide to teachers in your province.

If you are a teacher who wants to contact Kris, let us know and we would happy to connect you. Looking for resources to get started with ArcGIS Online? Go to k12.esri.ca/resourcefinder.

Read about other amazing GIS Ambassadors in Canada and sign up to connect with one in your community.

About the Author

Angela Alexander

Angela Alexander is a K-12 Education Resource Developer on the Esri Canada Education and Research team. She has over six years of experience working with educators across Canada. Angela is responsible for producing geographic information system (GIS) and curriculum specific resources, conducting and creating custom workshops for educators and judging and developing the question for the annual GIS Skills Ontario competition in Waterloo, Ontario. Angela has a Bachelor’s degree in Geography and Sociology from the University of Western Ontario and completed the Applied Digital Geography and GIS certificate program at Ryerson University.

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