Are you a savvy geographic information system (GIS) user who supports the use of GIS in K-12 education? Share your expertise and sign up to become a GIS Ambassador. Read about Zoe Goodyear, a recent graduate who has helped to promote GIS and geography to students at a local high school in St John’s.
Zoe Goodyear learned about the GIS Ambassador Program when she read the Esri Canada news release on the importance of spatial thinking and getting professionals and GIS students to volunteer their skills and knowledge at a K-12 school.
As a recent graduate of the GISciences Diploma Program at Memorial University in St John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador, Zoe was looking for an opportunity to do some outreach with students about the importance of geography and GIS, and was keen to get involved right away.
After contacting us at the end of September, we connected Zoe with Amy Slaney-Howell, a teacher from Holy Heart High School who was looking for a GIS Ambassador to present to two of her grade 12 World Geography classes in the middle of October.
At Holy Heart, Zoe used some of the ArcGIS Online GIS Day Canada resources created by the K-12 group at Esri Canada to teach the students about GIS and how relevant it is in the real world. As a geography enthusiast in high school, she showed them some of the career options available to them in the growing field of geotechnologies by using the Geospatial Revolution trailer. The students were intrigued by the real-world applications and were impressed by how GIS is used in so many industries to help understand and solve important issues.
Zoe Goodyear, a GIS Ambassador from St John's Newfoundland and Labrador.
“Zoe’s presentation was a great complement to what our students have been learning in class,” noted Amy. “She touched on topics, such as climate change, that we covered in class early on in the year, so our students already had some understanding of what she was demonstrating.”
Amy highly recommends having a GIS Ambassador present to other World Geography classes at the school and plans on inviting Zoe to present to her students again in the New Year.
When I followed up with Zoe on her Holy Heart presentations, she said: "I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my experiences teaching about GIS and I’m looking forward to presenting at a local school again. I’m hoping to find a job that allows me to grow professionally in GIS, specifically its uses in the world of Geology."
Currently, Zoe’s working at a public library in St John’s, where she conducts technology training workshops for kids and adults. She facilitated an introductory GIS workshop for children at the library last month where they used MapMaker Interactive to make a map of their favourite places in St. John's. They also explored the ArcGIS Online story map Geography of a Pencil to understand what materials make up a pencil and where they are found in the world. The kids really enjoyed it. One of the kids said she normally finds geography boring, but the activities at the workshop make it a lot of fun.
Need help getting started?
If you’re an educator who wants to integrate GIS into your teaching, contact us and we can connect you with a GIS Ambassador like Zoe in your area.
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.More Content by Angela Alexander