As part of the ConnectED initiative, Esri is donating free ArcGIS Online organization accounts to every K-12 school in the U.S. This gift introduces GIS software and geographic concepts into classrooms, allowing students to map and analyze data with the same technology used by government and businesses. Esri is aiming for adoption of ArcGIS Online at 25,000 K-12 schools and software access to one million school users by December 2017.
GIS is a powerful educational technology, but K-12 teachers already face considerable time constraints and cannot be expected to learn and implement what for many is an unfamiliar resource. To address this need, Esri and the Association of American Geographers are working together to develop a nationwide volunteer network of GeoMentors. GeoMentors are knowledgeable GIS users who will facilitate implementation of ArcGIS Online in school classrooms. It is through the efforts and enthusiasm of GeoMentors that we can make a difference in K-12 education with GIS!
Who can be a GeoMentor?
From undergraduate and graduate students to professors and geographic information scientists, the entire GIS community is encouraged to volunteer their skills and experience as GeoMentors. Advanced GIS skills are not required to be a GeoMentor and the AAG is providing a comprehensive suite of training materials through the GeoMentors program website.
What do GeoMentors do?
GeoMentors engage in a range of roles depending on expertise, interests and the needs of schools and teachers. Opportunities include: advocating GIS adoption and helping schools get their free software; demonstrating available GIS classroom exercises to teachers; sharing information about careers in GIS; or assisting teachers with tailoring GIS activities for their specific subject, grade or project. You can work with local community schools or with schools and educators across the U.S. The variety of outreach opportunities is as diverse as the application potential of GIS.
How do I get started as a GeoMentor?
1. Register. Sign up online!
2. Know the resources. Take a moment to browse available training and curriculum materials. These are helpful for you and are great resources to share with schools and teachers.
3. Review guidelines.Before contacting potential collaborators, review some basic GeoMentor program guidelines.
4. Find a Collaborator.Find a teacher or school to work with using your social network or our online databases and maps.
Find a new school to recruit to the program.Find a school that has yet to sign up for their free GIS software and introduce them to this opportunity! You could bring GIS software and activities into the classrooms of your alma mater, your child’s school, or your local community!
5. Reach out and get started! Use provided guidelines to contact registered educators-seeking-GeoMentors or to contact other schools, school districts, or teachers directly to start your collaboration with and contribution to K-12 education!
GeoMentors are asked to report their experiences and will receive a program certificate documenting their service for their records. Stay informed about the GeoMentor community and interact with fellow participants and staff by joining the GeoMentors GeoNet Group or GeoMentors AAG Knowledge Community, following @AAGGeoMentors on Twitter or liking the AAG GeoMentors Facebook page.