The Commonwealth of Kentucky’s recently signed Esri Educational Site License makes ArcGIS technology available to all public and private school students in the state. The license will be managed by the Kentucky Geographic Alliance (KGA), a longtime supporter of geography initiatives for elementary and secondary schools.
The KGA will assist local schools with the integration of geographic information system (GIS) technology into math, earth science, and social studies classes based on statewide curriculum standards and will work with the Kentucky Department of Education curriculum coordinators for guidance.
Scott Dobler, faculty member in the Department of Geography and Geology at WKU and Co-Director of the KGA said: “The Kentucky Geographic Alliance is interested in providing the K-12 Kentucky STEM [science, technology, engineering and mathematics] communities with an opportunity to participate in a top three technology of the future. Along with nanotechnology and biotechnology, geo-technology was named as one of the three most important emerging fields by the U.S. Department of Labor. Geography skills are necessary in today’s globalizing market. Our students must learn how to interpret spatial information and understand complex linkages to be successful in today’s global economy.”
Dobler indicates that students will work on projects that reflect local community issues. ArcGIS Online will be used as a tool to communicate the results of these projects with neighboring schools and districts and potentially local legislators and other interested parties.
The KGA 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 center chain of command network decisions.
Charlie Fitzpatrick, K-12 School Program Manager at Esri, said: “Kids can build readiness for college and career in many different subjects and activities with GIS, even from a young age. Kentucky’s long history of GIS means folks know that it is a problem-solving technology, and they want their kids to develop long-term integrated content knowledge and procedural skill in a real-world context.”
About Esri: Since 1969, Esri has been giving customers around the world the power to think and plan geographically. The market leader in geographic information system (GIS) technology, Esri software is used in more than 300,000 organizations worldwide including each of the 200 largest cities in the United States, most national governments, more than two-thirds of Fortune 500 companies, and more than 7,000 colleges and universities. Esri applications, running on more than one million desktops and thousands of Web and enterprise servers, provide the backbone for the world’s mapping and spatial analysis. Esri is the only vendor that provides complete technical solutions for desktop, mobile, server, and Internet platforms.
Contact: Jim Baumann, (909) 793-2853, extension 1-1807; or Scott Dobler, (270) 745-7078.