Because groups can employ simple or more sophisticated software depending on their needs and preferences, formal training in using GIS tools is not required. However, it would be advisable for educators to gain some familiarity with mapping software and the concepts associated with geographic inquiry. If educators have experience facilitating a collaborative project, the Community Atlas project and other collaborative activities drawn from the ESRI website will likely be easier to manage.
Planning and Preparation
The ESRI Web site features a wealth of resources for educators interested in pursuing geographic inquiry and GIS technologies in their programs. For general orientation to teaching with GIS, the developer shares these resources. A planning guide with ideas and tips support educators who are undertaking a Community Atlas project. To help with activities involving ArcExplorer, an indepth software tutorial and selected lessons are provided. Reading through this support material and previewing the software in advance will enable educators to anticipate possible problems and more effectively facilitate young people's learning experiences.
- Software for Web publishing, if doing the Community Atlas project. Optional: ArcExplorer, other GIS tools
- Computer with Internet access
- Optional: Handheld electronic device such as Pocket PC
The ESRI GIS resources for educators encompass a number of software products and instructional materials. The Community Atlas project materials, AEJEE project software and lessons, and ArcPad software time-limited version, are all available for free, as well as a host of other lessons and project support. Note that registration is required to use ArcPad. The book Thinking Spatially Using GIS will be available for purchase beginning this summer. In addition, many other curriculum guides, reference books, and workbooks, and various software products, are sold on the website.