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5 reasons to GO ArcGIS this school year!

There are many reasons to integrate mapping and apps into your teaching. In this blog post, we’ve summarized 5 reasons you should GO ArcGIS this year!

Back to School is a time for new beginnings and diving into educational adventures! Discover why we think you should start your ArcGIS journey this year.

ArcGIS is free for K-12 education teaching and learning! The software, data, resources, and support are all FREE! ArcGIS inlcudes ArcGIS Online, ArcGIS StoryMaps, ArcGIS Survey123 and much more! K-12 teachers in Canada can Sign up for ArcGIS at
Resource and tech support for all skill levels are available.
Check out to the recording of a recent webinar: Back to School to learn more about getting started and continuing your ArcGIS learning.

A map showing Canadian Population and Dwelling Counts in 2021.

Access data layers, like the Canadian Population and Dwelling Counts 2021 represents Population and Dwelling Counts in Canada from the 2021 census at the Province, Census Division (CD), Census Subdivision (CSD), and Dissemination Area (DA) levels obtained from Statistics Canada. Access this by searching “Canadian Population” in the map viewer.


Maps and apps are cool! There’s so much to explore with maps and apps. They are powerful! View data in an interesting and interactive way!

A screenshot showing the different GeoCards that represent different Indicators of the Planet.

ArcGIS Living Atlas Indicators of the Planet provides a single point for finding some of the most timely information covering a variety of environmental and social topics. Each GeoCard updates using the Live Feeds methodology and provides additional resources such as links to contributors, maps, StoryMaps, and Learn ArcGIS lessons.

ArcGIS is a great tool for inquiring about your world – locally, regionally, nationally and globally. Ask a question, explore and analyse data and present your findings using ArcGIS.

Resources that foster inquiry include:

In this activity, students will explore the food insecurity with a focus on Nunavut.

Students using ArcGIS gain relevant skills that they can use in the real world like critical thinking and analysis. The following resources will help you to see why ArcGIS is relevant in understanding the world and solving complicated issues:

  • Discover Careers in GIS
  • Article: Why Geography Is A Key Part Of Fighting The COVID-19 Coronavirus Outbreak

Esri Video: Raging wildfires, food scarcity, and rising sea levels make clear that our current trajectory is unsustainable. Can technology help us change course? Carbon capture, alternative energy, and smart grids are reasons for hope. But one of the most important technologies needed to create a sustainable future—digital mapping—is also making a major difference, everywhere, every day.

5. STEAM and more!
ArcGIS can be used for cross-curricular learning. You don’t have to teach subjects in silos, but rather subjects can be integrated for broader student learning. ArcGIS is a great tool for STEAM and other subjects across curricula.

Explore the following resources to learn more:

Elementary School Project
Read about a project teacher Tony Cushman completed with his grade 3 students in 2019. This project gave the students a cross-curricular learning opportunity using ArcGIS tools available to K-12 schools in Canada and fostering teamwork, problem solving and critical thinking.

STEAM at Work
This set of resources introduces young readers to exciting, fun STEAM careers and real possibilities for channeling their passions. Characters in each book use their curiosity and skills to solve environmental and social issues. Like these characters, readers will feel encouraged to make a positive difference in their community now and in their future careers.

A screenshot showing different Ontario curriculum covered in Tony’s school project.

Students had a cross-curricular learning opportunity with Tony Cushman’s school project. Explore the story map from the survey design to the completion of the students’ story maps highlighting findings from the school wide survey on the ways kids play during recess.

New to ArcGIS Online?

If you are new to ArcGIS Online, educators can request an account for themselves and their students at

Explore the Esri Canada K-12 Resource Finder to find other resources for your class.

Check out the following beginner resources to get started with ArcGIS Online:

For Educators - Let’s get started with ArcGIS Online
Explore the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

For Students – Enroute with ArcGIS Online

Using ArcGIS Online and want to learn more?

Discover Story Maps
Creating ArcGIS Dashboards 



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