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Fall 2012 Edition
This article as a PDF.
Attendees at the 12th annual Education GIS Conference engaged in a facilitated conversation with thought leaders in GIS education about the challenges and opportunities specific to GIS education.
Rather than listening to a series of presentations on Esri's plans, attendees to the 12th annual Education GIS Conference engaged in a 90-minute facilitated community conversation with Esri education managers and community spokespersons during the first meeting of a new GIS Education Community Advisory Board on July 23, 2012.
The advisory board, made up of education leaders and other professionals, is charged with helping ensure that Esri's education industry solutions team (education team) aligns its strategic priorities with GIS education community needs.
"We made a concerted effort to engage the community at this year's conference to help formulate the direction of GIS education for the next 20 years," said David DiBiase, Esri director of education for industry solutions.
The discussion during the meeting revolved around four questions:
"Attendees were encouraged to join the conversation with respected thought leaders," said DiBiase. "I believe that it was a useful way to better understand the challenges and opportunities we face at the cusp of a new generation of GIS education." Conversation topics included education and the cloud; open educational resources; careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM); educational policy; campus facilities; and global initiatives.
Diana Sinton, director of spatial curriculum and research at the University of Redlands, is an inaugural member of the GIS Education Community Advisory Board. "I think it was a very forward-thinking idea for Esri to organize this group," said Sinton. "They have done a very good job in selecting people from a variety of backgrounds in both academics and the professional world that will help shape and inform the range of activities that the Esri education team is responsible for. One of the team's problems is that it is a relatively small group, but it is responsible for a breadth of educational programs and activities. My area is in applied spatial thinking. I think that geospatial technologies have the potential to be a very effective tool to support applied spatial thinking, and I will be sharing this knowledge with the advisory board."
Based on feedback from the advisory board, the education team will review Esri educational resource development and dissemination to make sure that educational materials are relevant to the needs of users.