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5 reasons why educators should use ArcGIS Online

Are you looking for a way to engage your students this fall and to inject some interesting and thought-provoking material into your lesson plans? Well it’s time to seriously consider using ArcGIS Online - a Web-based tool that allows students to collaborate in creating, editing and sharing interactive maps.

ArcGIS Online offers a wealth of ready-to-use resources such as basemaps and templates that integrate maps, text and multimedia to tell a story. Here are five reasons ArcGIS Online is worth integrating into your teaching this year.

Using ArcGIS Online, you can explore Canada’s participation in the battlefields during World War I.

Meet curriculum outcomes
Across Canada, inquiry, critical thinking and mapping are important skills outlined in curriculum documents as part of learning outcomes that have to be met in the K-12 social studies, science, geography and history classrooms. Students can investigate issues, events and phenomena across the curriculum and around the world with ArcGIS Online. Here are a few examples:

  • History:  Canada’s contribution in the battlefields in WWI, Ancient Civilizations
  • Geography, Social Studies: Ecozones in Canada, Canada’s Natural Regions
  • Science: Mountain Pine Beetle, Underwater Features in Canada

Bring real-world issues into your classroom
Maps and data available through ArcGIS Online allow you and your students to explore important topics like poverty, sustainability and wealth distribution. Layers of data can be displayed on a map and students can discover patterns and connections between phenomena.

Students gain important skills like critical thinking
The use of ArcGIS Online helps to foster spatial literacy, critical thinking, problem solving and spatial awareness, which are much needed skills in the workforce. Curricula across Canada emphasize the importance of inquiry in the K-12 classroom.

Free curriculum-based resources and support
Educators can use story maps, data and maps available through ArcGIS Online to teach a topic. The Education and Research group develops free ArcGIS Online resources that can be found on the online Lesson Planner. Contact if you have any questions we’re always happy to assist you.

Accessible  and easy to use!
ArcGIS Online can be used immediately because there is no software installation required. All you need is access to the internet and a device such as a computer or tablet.

Educators and students in Ontario, Yukon, Manitoba, Newfoundland and Labrador, and several public and private school boards across Canada have access to ArcGIS Online through provincial and territorial licenses. Request an account for you and your students by filling out this online form. For people outside these areas, contact to access ArcGIS Online today.

Find out how ArcGIS Online was used by a Calgary teacher to conduct an inquiry-based project on the Northern Gateway Pipeline Project and explore our GIS Champions stories to discover how Canadian teachers are using this technology in their classroom.

About the Author

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.

Profile Photo of Angela Alexander