Redlands, California—Although geographic information systems (GIS) have been taught at a number of schools in Arizona for the past several years, the signing of a statewide education site license with Esri brings the technology to all Arizona primary and secondary schools.
The license is cosponsored by Northern Arizona University (NAU), the Arizona Geographic Alliance, and the Arizona Geographic Information Council. It will be hosted by NAU’s Geospatial Research and Information Laboratory.
Assistant professor Mark Manone, director of NAU’s Geospatial Research and Information Laboratory, oversees the Esri Education Site License Program for Arizona K–12 Schools website, where Arizona teachers and administrators can register to use the software.
“Geographic information systems and geospatial technologies are hot fields for job opportunities,” says Manone. “This license gives students the opportunity to develop skills with this new technology prior to entering university or the labor market.”
The Arizona Geographic Alliance plans to introduce GIS through workshops for teachers and technology coordinators. The teachers, including those in career and technical education (CTE), will focus on classroom implementation, while the coordinators will emphasize support decisions at the school or district level.
“Arizona schools are trying to weave more STEM [science, technology, engineering, and mathematics]-oriented material into its common core curriculum to help prepare a technology-savvy future work force,” says Ronald Dorn, Arizona Geographic Alliance co-coordinator and professor of geography at Arizona State University. “GIS software, by its very nature, forces students into a mode of active learning and problem solving.”
The statewide educational license makes Esri’s ArcGIS software available to all Arizona public, charter, private, and home schools, as well as nonprofit, youth-serving organizations. Students, educators, and administrators will have access to Esri’s full range of ArcGIS software, plus unlimited seats in self-paced training through Esri’s Virtual Campus.
“Arizona’s long history of using GIS in the federal, state, local, and tribal communities means that its citizens recognize that GIS is a robust problem-solving technology,” says Esther Worker, Esri education solutions manager. “This education license gives the upcoming generation the opportunity to develop a long-term, integrated knowledge of GIS in a real-world context.”
Visit Esri’s Educational License Program website for more information about the various licenses available.