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On the Map with Joey Raso

This first On the Map feature will highlight the work of geography teacher Joey Raso. These monthly stories will inspire new and current users of ArcGIS in 
K-12 education. We want to share their activities and projects with you. 

Joey Raso is a geography teacher from Notre Dame Catholic Secondary School (NDCSS) in Brampton, Ontario. He’s also the first teacher we are spotlighting in our new monthly feature called On the Map. The stories will highlight the work of  K-12 educators in Canada, like Joey who are using ArcGIS in their teaching and doing fun and relevant activities and projects with their students.

ArcGIS use in Geography

Joey is currently teaching grade 9 Canadian Geography, grade 11 Introduction to Spatial Technologies, and grade 12 World Issues. ArcGIS Online and ArcGIS apps are used in his geography classes to engage students in learning about important topics in their community and globally. Joey finds ways to infuse the software in his teaching units that allow the students to gain experience and skills that are going to be relevant in higher education and the professional world. Skills like data collection, analysis and presenting information that can be learned through the use of ArcGIS Online, ArcGIS Story Maps, ArcGIS Survey123 and ArcGIS Dashboards.

In 2017, after completing an Esri cartography course, Joey gained more confidence with ArcGIS software and has been using it in his geography classes ever since. According to Joey, “ArcGIS Online is an amazing tool to view and understand spatial issues and concepts. Being able to visualize data and make connections about a relevant issue being covered in class is powerful.”

A man with dark hair wearing eyeglasses in front of a framed image.

Joey Raso is a geography teacher who makes his student activities and projects interesting and engaging by using ArcGIS.

ArcGIS class projects

The most recent projects done by Joey’s students are described below.

Notre Dame CSS Tree Survey 2021
For a culminating task, students in grade 11 used Survey123 to complete a tree survey of almost 100 trees on the school property. This activity encouraged them to ask important questions about the natural environment which linked to a number of conservation efforts and eco schools Canada certifications. They recorded data on tree types, size of the trees, condition of the trees, location, and whether or not the trees were marked for inspection. Once the data was collected and analyzed, it was presented in an ArcGIS Dashboard by each student.

This image shows an example of a tree survey created by a student in Joey’s grade 11 class. This includes a pie chart, map and bar chart.

This project is a great example of how data can be collected and presented using ArcGIS.

An image of a student in front of a coniferous tree collecting tree data on their phone.

Student using Survey123 to collect data on trees.

Brampton Parks Construction Projects
Students in the class had to find a map representing construction park projects in Brampton and then create an ArcGIS Dashboard with the information. Joey wanted the students to be able to show data in a way that ordinary citizens and stakeholders could understand.

An image showing the park construction projects in Brampton presented in a dashboard. This includes a bar chart, map and donut chart.

This project is a great example of how students can present data in a visually engaging way to community members.

Joey’s advice to teachers

“If a teacher without ArcGIS experience wants to start integrating it in their teaching, I would recommend they begin with ready to use resources created by Esri Canada’s K-12 group. There are activities, tutorials and lessons. All are step-by-step, user friendly and allow you and your students to learn at a good pace. It's surprising how well our digital competencies translate to ArcGIS.

Don't be afraid if you get stuck while navigating ArcGIS, it gets easier with practice and time logged on. Eventually, you'll be comfortable enough to try new things or even make informative maps and apps on your own. At the end, you will be surprised how much the students know and can teach you about the program.”

Skills Ontario GIS Competition

Joey’s been sending students to the annual Skills Ontario to compete in the GIS competition for the last five years. This is a great opportunity for students to test their ArcGIS skills by analysing a real-world question and presenting their findings to a group of judges.

Last year, the second-place winner was Jaden Noronha, a NDCSS student Joey coached in ArcGIS. The judges were impressed by Jaden’s work and it is highlighted in an episode of the Esri Canada’s Geographical Thinking podcast.

Thank you, Joey for sharing your work with us and we look forward to hearing about your upcoming projects! If you would like to connect with Joey, follow him at @geographicraz.

We want to hear what you are doing with ArcGIS

Share your work with us by adding the information to the Let’s Get Spatial Canada survey and it will be reflected in the dashboard. You might be selected to be spotlighted in an upcoming blog post.

An image of a dashboard representing activities done by teachers and gis ambassadors in Canada. This includes a map, the survey and a bar chart.

Explore how GIS is being used at Canadian K-12 schools and add your own activities to the map!

New to ArcGIS Online?

If you are new to ArcGIS Online, educators can request an account for themselves and their students at k12.esri.ca/#access.

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

For Educators - Let’s get started with ArcGIS Online

For Students – Enroute with ArcGIS Online

Using ArcGIS Online and want to learn more?

Discover Story Maps

Survey123

Creating ArcGIS Dashboards

This post was translated to French and can be viewed 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.

Profile Photo of Angela Alexander