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On the Map with Trevor Pratt

This month’s On the Map features Trevor Pratt, an educator from Hamilton, Ontario who supports e-learning and in-class teachers. Discover how he’s bringing ArcGIS into the spotlight for teachers as a resource and tool for teaching and learning.

Trevor Pratt is November's On the Map educator we are highlighting.  He’s promoting the use of ArcGIS at his school board and across Ontario and supporting teachers in their mapping journey.

Trevor is a long-time user of ArcGIS for teaching and learning at the Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board (HWDSB). It is exciting for us to work with an educator that dreams big. His work to bring geographic information systems (GIS) into teaching and learning and sharing it with other educators across Ontario is inspiring.

Let’s find out what he’s been up to this school year.

How were you introduced to ArcGIS?

I was introduced to ArcGIS when I started teaching Geography through a GIS Summer Institute at Ryerson University.

A man wearing sunglasses standing at a lookout of a lake and mountains.

Trevor is working towards getting more students and teachers using ArcGIS
at his school board in Hamilton.

Tell us about the workshop you did at the tech conference this month – what was the purpose of it?

Earlier this month, I presented an introductory workshop at the Bringing Online Learning Teachers Together (BOLTT) Conference to raise awareness of how easy it is to access ArcGIS via a single sign on access setup. I also highlighted ArcGIS apps that educators and students can use, like ArcGIS Story Maps and the great projects students can produce using this mapping software. 

I hope to encourage all e-learning teachers to see the potential and ease with which ArcGIS can be used to bring the topics they are teaching to life!

What is your vision for the HWDSB using ArcGIS for K-12 teaching and learning? Why do you think ArcGIS is a valuable tool for teaching and learning?

I would like ArcGIS to be used more widely in the single-stream grade 9 geography courses. It’s a great tool as students can analyse data and create ArcGIS Story Maps and web maps. As students become more familiar with ArcGIS, I hope they will adopt the software and apps across many of their other curricular projects. 

I spotlighted story maps, as they allow you to combine maps, text, and different types of media (images and videos). They provide students with a holistic experience that meets the needs of many types of learners.

What’s Next?

We are planning workshops for both e-learning and in-class geography teachers in HWDSB over the school year.  We have committed to several full days of release time to help geography teachers develop their skills.

To help support our online teachers, we will facilitate a full-day professional development session with Jean Tong in the morning and HWDSB staff-led workshops in the afternoon.

To help support in-class teachers, we will provide full-day training for all geography-qualified teachers who are teaching geography courses this year.  Continuing from the HWDSB Summer Geography Writing Project, we will be further developing leadership in the field of geography within our 13 high schools. 

In the summer, through the Geography Writing Project, five teachers, a consultant and a vice principal put together materials to address the single-stream grade 9 geography program.  We split the material into five sections: Knowing our Learners, Responding to our Learners, Using purposeful Strategies and Activities, Promoting Reflection, and Accessing Supports and Resources.  We built ArcGIS activities into several sections during that session and hope to add ArcGIS to the remaining sections during this school year.

We are looking forward to continuing partnering with community associates to provide rich and purposeful professional development to our geography staff.  The goal is to provide our grade 9 geography teachers with relevant resources that touch on local issues and topics, so their learners can relate to them. We hope that visits from you folks, Esri Canada, will help the teachers to access web maps, apps and data that cover topics such as urban and rural land use, conservation, demographics and much more  in Hamilton.

A screenshot of the Let’s Ride, Hamilton story map showing pictures of natural features (waterfalls, trees, rock formations) in the Hamilton area.

ArcGIS can be used to find and create maps and apps (including story maps) that highlight topics/issues in and around Hamilton, and anywhere in the world! The Let’s Ride, Hamilton story map (pictured above) is one of many resources that students can use for learning and provides an example of what is possible with ArcGIS.

Thank you, Trevor, for sharing your work, and we look forward to working with you in the near future.

Single Sign On Access

ArcGIS can be set up to be accessed through your school’s learning management system (Brightspace, Google Suite and more). This single sign on access allows users to log in once to a software application and gain access to multiple software systems without being prompted to log in again. If you are interested in getting your school or school board ArcGIS single sign on access, email us at for more information.

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