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Thursday, April 01, 2010

Over to Aylesbury yesterday to Millennium House for the first meeting in connection with the new strategic partnership between ESRI (UK) and the Geographical Association. ESRI (UK) are also the first GA corporate member.

This has been quite a long time in the planning, and was announced over the weekend, but there will be more on this to come at the GA Conference next week.

GIS is now part of all key stages, and is specifically mentioned in the KS3 Programme of Study.

From the press release:

This new partnership brings together ESRI (UK)’s expertise in GIS (Geographical Information Systems) and the GA’s understanding of the learning and teaching of geography.
With GIS now a compulsory part of the national curriculum, the organisations will combine forces to help teachers respond to the curriculum changes and introduce GIS into geography lessons.
The signing of this first partnership agreement is a new departure for the GA. With funding in place for the next three years the GA can plan ahead, working with ESRI (UK) to introduce the power of GIS technology to schools as part of its mission of furthering the study, learning and teaching of geography. Last summer ESRI (UK) responded to the curriculum changes, launching its GIS for Schools Programme which offers GIS software specially designed for schools and a wealth of resources. In an online resource centre teachers can watch video tutorials and download step by step lesson plans on topics ranging from tracking hurricanes to the spread of swine flu.
“We are delighted and honoured to be working with the GA in this ground-breaking partnership,” said Dr Richard Waite, Managing Director, ESRI (UK). “We believe passionately that GIS brings a new dimension to the teaching of geography, giving students both a deeper understanding of their subject and skills they can take into the workplace. More than 120 schools have now signed up to our GIS for Schools Programme.
Working with the GA and its members we can build on this success over the next three years, encouraging more schools to use GIS and creating a community of teachers who will share their knowledge of GIS, their enthusiasm and their resources.”

As part of the partnership, I will be spending some time working on resources, training and the GIS for Schools Programme. This already contains a growing range of resources.

There are 2 key packages from ESRI.
Digital Worlds (was HIGHLY COMMENDED in the GA awards 2009)
ArcView 9.3 (industry compatible GIS which has tremendous potential...)

There is also the MY GIS support area for teachers....



As part of the day, John Lyon and I were shown the ENTERPRISE LAB. This is a purpose-built room at ESRI UK HQ, which has the ability to be used in a variety of scenarios.

Digital Worlds costs £250+VAT per year, which gives access to the full range of teaching and learning materials as well as training materials, such as a series of podcasts which work through the key skills that are needed to make the most of the software. The key element of this, as with ArcView is the access to a huge range of DATA.

ArcView costs £350+VAT per year, which gives access to further materials

At the GA Conference next week, Dr. Richard Waite of ESRI (UK) will deliver the Public Lecture on Thursday the 8th of April.
Dr Waite will explore what GIS means for teachers and students, explaining why GI skills are becoming increasingly important in the workplace, how GIS can enhance the teaching of a broad range of subjects, and how geography teachers can lead the way.

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