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Introducing the First Two Recipients of the GIS in Education Grant

The GIS in Education Grant provides educators and schools with software and training necessary to implement GIS in the classroom.

On GIS Day 2013, Esri Canada announced the GIS in Education Grant program. The program awards up to five grants of Esri geographic information system (GIS) software and training every year to Canadian schools teaching kindergarten to grade 12.

Congratulations to our first two grant recipients: St. Michaels University School (SMUS) in Victoria, BC and Connect Charter School (CCS) in Calgary, AB.

Kirsten Davel and Cheryl Murtland from SMUS’s Geography department are well-known GIS Champions in Western Canada’s GIS education community. They have been using GIS in the classroom for over 10 years. Members of the Education and Research group at Esri Canada have worked with them at workshops and have highlighted Kristen and Cheryl in a book published in 2012 that captures an international perspective on the status of GIS in schools.  In a recent SMUS blog, Bob Snowden, the head of the school, wrote about the recognition Esri Canada has given to his Geography department on more than one occasion.

GIS fits perfectly into the CCS’s mission to promote innovation and the ongoing development of exemplary learning, teaching and leadership practices within an active, inquiry-based learning community. The school has been using ArcGIS Online for about a year and will be using ArcGIS for Desktop in their classes.

Greg Neil, a grade 7 Math and Science teacher at CCS, is very keen about integrating the technology into his teaching because he's currently addressing scientific questions that require students to have a strong spatial awareness of the physical and ecological regions involved.  As he says, “I want my students to have the ability to interact with a variety of geophysical regions and to apply and analyze data in order to answer questions and to solve problems.  In addition, I want my students to have an understanding of how maps are created, how data is gathered and selected for use on a map and what potential bias a map might convey to its audience. “

These two schools value GIS as a learning tool in the classroom, but they also understand its power in solving real-world problems. We encourage you to apply for the GIS in Education Grant if you would like to take your teaching to another level.

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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