Appendix G
The Introduction of GIS into K–12 Education

A time line for the introduction of GIS in K–12 education between 1986 and 2003 contains many events, activities, and organizations. The contents of the time line, when taken together, reflect a typical pattern of development in that it is haphazard, uncoordinated, and therefore, disorganized. Equally well, the time line shows the impact of enthusiastic pioneers, struggling to influence a massive, fragmented, and inflexible education system. Thomas R. Baker of the University of Kansas prepared the basis for this time line.

1986

National Geographic Society Alliance network (http://www.nationalgeographic.com) started with 8 states and incorporated all 50 states and the District of Columbia in 1993. From the inception of the network, the state alliances, in varying degrees, provided some support for the infusion of GIS in schools and GIS training for teachers.

1989

National Center for Geographic Information and Analysis (NCGIA) (http://www.ncgia.ucsb.edu) was founded. It is a consortium of three universities (University of California, Santa Barbara; University of Maine; and State University of New York-Buffalo) and is funded primarily by the National Science Foundation. Its mission is to advance geographic information research. This mission includes cognition (examining how people conceptualize geographic concepts and how software systems can be made congruent with these concepts), education, and public outreach activities to help meet the demand for GIS professionals and geographically informed citizens.

1989

The JASON Project (http://www.jason.org) uses the Internet, printed curricula, video, and teleconferencing technologies to bring explorations in science, mathematics, technology, and social studies to K–12 students.

1990

NCGIA released the Core Curriculum, which was intended to provide a scope and sequence for GIS education at the undergraduate level. Thought was given to adapting this curriculum to the high school level. However, K–12 teachers considered the Core Curriculum to be unrelated to the curriculum teachers are tasked to teach.

1991

Association for Geographic Information (AGI) conference organized discussion on GIS in the K–12 environment.



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Learning To Think Spatially Appendix G The Introduction of GIS into K–12 Education A time line for the introduction of GIS in K–12 education between 1986 and 2003 contains many events, activities, and organizations. The contents of the time line, when taken together, reflect a typical pattern of development in that it is haphazard, uncoordinated, and therefore, disorganized. Equally well, the time line shows the impact of enthusiastic pioneers, struggling to influence a massive, fragmented, and inflexible education system. Thomas R. Baker of the University of Kansas prepared the basis for this time line. 1986 National Geographic Society Alliance network (http://www.nationalgeographic.com) started with 8 states and incorporated all 50 states and the District of Columbia in 1993. From the inception of the network, the state alliances, in varying degrees, provided some support for the infusion of GIS in schools and GIS training for teachers. 1989 National Center for Geographic Information and Analysis (NCGIA) (http://www.ncgia.ucsb.edu) was founded. It is a consortium of three universities (University of California, Santa Barbara; University of Maine; and State University of New York-Buffalo) and is funded primarily by the National Science Foundation. Its mission is to advance geographic information research. This mission includes cognition (examining how people conceptualize geographic concepts and how software systems can be made congruent with these concepts), education, and public outreach activities to help meet the demand for GIS professionals and geographically informed citizens. 1989 The JASON Project (http://www.jason.org) uses the Internet, printed curricula, video, and teleconferencing technologies to bring explorations in science, mathematics, technology, and social studies to K–12 students. 1990 NCGIA released the Core Curriculum, which was intended to provide a scope and sequence for GIS education at the undergraduate level. Thought was given to adapting this curriculum to the high school level. However, K–12 teachers considered the Core Curriculum to be unrelated to the curriculum teachers are tasked to teach. 1991 Association for Geographic Information (AGI) conference organized discussion on GIS in the K–12 environment.

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Learning To Think Spatially 1992 A few schools in North Carolina, Michigan, Kansas, Oregon, and Virginia adopted GIS. 1992 NCGIA launched the Secondary Education Project (SEP) (http://www.ncgia.ucsb.edu/education/projects/SEP/sep.html) with the purpose of identifying existing GIS activities for secondary schools and creating new ones. 1992 Center for Image Processing in Education (CIPE) (http://www.cipe.com) was founded. It trains teachers and students in the use of data visualization tools and produces training manuals and curricula. Since its founding, CIPE has trained more than 3,500 teachers in image processing or GIS. 1992 Environmental Systems Research Institute (ESRI) (http://www.esri.com) established a K–12 Schools and Libraries Division. The mission of the division is to help develop a spatially literate society using GIS. 1994 With the National Geographic Society (NGS), the National Science Foundation (NSF) sponsored the first Educational Applications of GIS conference, called EdGIS, on K–12 applications of GIS. 1994 Collaborative Visualization Project (CoVis) (http://www.covis.nwu.edu) was started by researchers in the Learning Sciences Center, School of Education, Northwestern University, to explore ways in which scientific understanding can be enhanced through visualization tools. Students and teachers met to use specialized software created by the project. 1994 World Watcher program (http://www.worldwatcher.northwestern.edu) was established. It grew out of CoVis and was directed by a senior researcher at CoVis. The program was designed to support student use of GIS in the science classroom. In 2003, it released a vector-based GIS software package for classroom use. 1994 NSF awarded a grant to the Technology in Education Research Consortium (TERC) (http://www.terc.edu) in Cambridge, Massachusetts, for a two-year project to assess the value of GIS in science classrooms. Project researchers concluded that GIS helps students discover relationships among variables, simpler GIS technology encourages open-ended explorations of data, and maps help students focus on the spatial nature of data. 1995 Environmental and Spatial Technology (EAST) (http://www2.eastproject.org/east), a collaborative of hundreds of U.S. high schools, was started. It uses problem-based learning strategies and technologies to stimulate student intellectual development. Using GIS, CAD, image analysis, programming, web development, and data visualization tools, EAST students focus on community issues and service learning. Annual student conferences in Arkansas and California highlight student products and provide teachers with time for training and collaboration. 1995 Visualizing Earth (VisEarth) (http://www.psu.edu) project, a collaboration between Pennsylvania State University’s Psychology and Geography Departments and TERC, involved middle school students in the analysis of remotely sensed and aerial photography data. 1996 NGS held the second EdGIS conference. 1996 The Berkeley Geo-Research Group (BGRG) (http://www.bgrg.com) created an ArcView GIS extension called Geodesy. The objective of Geodesy is to help students learn to interpret and analyze geographic information so they can answer questions about where they are, why they are there, and how they can enhance the quality of life in their community and the world. Designed for K–12 education, Geodesy is used in nearly 100 schools. 1997 Kansas Collaborative Research Network (KanCRN) (http://www.kancrn.org) was established. It is an Internet-based network of schools aimed to facilitate student research in the natural sciences through high-tech tools.

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Learning To Think Spatially 1997 NGS held the third EdGIS conference. 1998 University of Arizona began a three-year project SAGUARO (http://saguaro.geo.arizona.edu), which developed inquiry-based Earth sciences curricula for use in secondary schools. 1998 ESRI created its Virtual Campus (http://campus.esri.com) for learning about GIScience, GIS technology, and industry-specific applications of GIS. The campus now has more than 200,000 e-mail addresses of people from 185 countries signed into a course. K–12 teachers have found these courses less to their liking than other professional users partly because of course content and partly because of a lack of familiarity with the process of taking courses on-line. By contrast, K–12 students have demonstrated a facility for this style of learning. 1998 Education Division of the Missouri Botanical Garden (http://www.mobot.org/education/mapping/index.html), in partnership with the University of Missouri-St. Louis and St. Louis public schools, began efforts to incorporate GIS and related technologies in K–12 science and geography classrooms. The Missouri Botanical Garden offers summer classes on themes that use GIS for middle school students. 1999 World Resources Institute (WRI) (http://www.wri.org/enved/datascap.html) and ESRI published an ArcView GIS extension called DataScape, which enables secondary school students to explore WRI’s database of 450 variables for more than 160 countries. Its software allows inexperienced users to take advantage of the capabilities of GIS. 1999 ESRI, NGS, and the Association for Geographic Information initiated an annual GIS day (http://www.gisday.com/news.html). The purpose of GIS day is to educate students and the general public about GIS. 1999 ESRI K–12 Schools and Libraries Division established a core of K–12 educators skilled in GIS (http://www.esri.com/industries/k-12/index.html), and this group of teacher trainers in GIS for schools led to the establishment of the ESRI K–12 Authorized Teaching Program (ATP) (http://www.esri.com/industries/k-12/atp/index.html). ATP training is based on an inventory of what understanding is necessary for teachers to be able to help other teachers use ArcView and ArcVoyager in particular. 1999 Visualizations in Science and Mathematics (VISM) (http://www.isat.jmu.edu/common/projects/vism), a three-year NSF program started at the Integrated Science and Technology Center at James Madison University, holds summer workshops in the techniques and application of data visualization for math and science teachers. VISM is a summer program for middle and high school teachers interested in using data visualization technologies in the classroom. 1999 ESRI started the Community Atlas project (http://www.esri.com/industries/k-12/atlas/index.html). Using GIS, students work on community-related projects during the school year, culminating in a nationwide competition. 1999 Orton Family Foundation established the Community Mapping Program (http://www.communitymap.org), a place-based, project-based educational program bringing students, teachers, and community mentors together to address local needs and issues. The program works with GIS to enhance the discovery process. 2000 NSF’s three-year project, Virtual Immersion in Science Inquiry for Teachers (VISIT) (http://www.piedmontresearch.org/visit/index.html) started at Eastern Michigan University and the Piedmont Research Institute. VISIT was designed primarily to extend GIS teacher training into an on-line setting. By completing activities, teachers earned graduate credit. 2000 EdGIS conference, which was hosted by the California State University, San Bernardino, was held to address the growth in GIS industry, education, and on-line digital libraries. 2000 ESRI established GIS state site licenses for schools. In the United States, Montana obtained

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Learning To Think Spatially   the first ESRI GIS state license. Subsequently, Georgia, Utah, South Dakota, and Texas obtained state licenses and Washington, D.C., obtained a district site license. Negotiations between ESRI and other states are under way. The agreements allow schools to acquire GIS software for instructional use at much reduced prices. 2001 California State University, San Bernardino, held the second Education Applications of GIS conference. 2001 ESRI held the first annual Education Conference, a preconference to the ESRI User Conference, in San Diego, California. The Education Conference was attended by nearly 500 educators interested in sharing ideas, attending workshops and paper sessions, and exploring ways to integrate GIS in K–12 curricula. 2001 NSF’s program, Extending Scientific Inquiry through Collaborative GIS (ESIC) (http://gis.kuscied.org), was launched at the University of Kansas. A key goal of this three-year program is to develop instructional materials for training K–12 science educators in GIS technologies within the context of problem-based learning. Using both on-line and face-to-face instruction, the program facilitates a cohort of teachers through training, implementation, and evaluation of geotechnologies in the classroom. 2002 ESRI held the second annual Education Conference in San Diego, California. 2002 U.S. State Department and the Association of American Geographers sponsored an international competition called My Community, Our Earth (MyCOE) (http://www.geography.org/sustainable). One aim of MyCOE is to focus student attention on GIS and sustainable development. 2003 ESRI held the third annual Education Conference in San Diego, California.