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Challenging Students Through SpatiaLABS - Open Educational Resources from Esri

Are you looking for interesting and challenging resources for your university or college students? Or maybe you're teaching a group of advanced GIS students in grade 12? Well, why not explore Esri's SpatiaLABS—a collection of GIS activities designed to promote spatial reasoning and analysis skills. These activities are written to three broad levels, which can be used in a variety of disciplines in the arts and sciences.

SpatiaLABS are hands-on GIS activities designed for use in higher education, but can be used by anyone with an interest in spatial analysis and GIS. They are now available as open educational resources accessible from the Esri Canada’s Lesson Planner.

Over 40 SpatiaLABS are currently available on topics in both the social sciences and physical/environmental sciences.  The labs are available in three levels. Level 1 is the engagement stage that exposes students to collecting, preparing, analyzing and visualizing data. Level 2 is the development stage that allows students to grow their spatial problem-solving competencies. Development labs range in difficulty from introductory to advanced. Level 3 is the project stage that allows students to work on independent research projects, challenging them to master advanced spatial analysis skills. In some cases, students completing a Level 3 project stage are partnered with scientists, businesses, agencies or community groups to perform real-world research. All labs are peer-reviewed and can be customized to your specific needs. 

If you are interested in contributing your own activities or exercises to Esri’s collection of SpatiaLABS, find out how to submit your resource here.

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.

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