As I mentioned in my last post, I was so grateful to have been invited to participate in a GIS training by our awesome Social Studies Supervisor for the Cobb County School District. Being an English teacher by trade (certified from grades 4-12), I have always believed that English Language Arts exists everywhere…and it does which has been one of the driving philosophies in my work this past year as Digital Transformation Coach. In pulling myself beyond my experience as an English Teacher to help teachers make their dream lessons come true, I knew that learning about GIS would be an asset to my ever-growing toolbox of resources to assist others. While I ran toward this new learning opportunity with open arms, there was still a bit of a learning curve once I was dropped into this beautiful intersection of technology and Social Studies. Admittedly, my head hurt a little as the first day came to an end.
Day two arrived and at this point, we learned that we would each earn Digital Badges for our participation (YAY!), however, we first had to create a product using ArcGIS, the program at the center of our GIS training, and pair that with a lesson, either an existing or newly-created one. While I am quite a veteran at creating lesson plans, I had never used the template created by C3 education illustrating the Inquiry Design Model or IDM. This model allows you to sculpt learning activities that inspire deep thought among your students. It took me a couple of read-throughs to fully grasp putting IDM to use, but I finally created the lesson below using the story map below.
- American Music Referencing World Countries (Story Map)
- Inquiry Design Model N. Williams (Lesson Plan)
I have always loved music, and as a product of Pop Up Video and MTV back when music videos were actually played during normal TV-watching hours, I was so excited to see how I could pair this with GIS. I also love finding ways to connect seemingly disconnected content areas together because, in my own experience, it seems as though information is so much easier to grasp and is more meaningful when it is connected to a variety of concepts.
I am really looking forward to seeing how I can apply GIS to lessons and classes in a variety of content areas. If you have any ideas let me know! I’d love to collaborate.
Until next time,
“Nadia!” The voice on the other end of the phone line was bubbling with excitement. It was one of my best friends, Mr. Mizelle, calling to share some fascinating news. “I was asked to take over the GIS class at my school!”
“Yay! That is so exciting,” I added, “but what is GIS?”
GIS, as it turned out was an acronym for Geographic Information System. In essence, it is the computerized system of capturing, collecting, mapping and displaying of data related to positions on the surface of the Earth. As a result, people can begin to see the relationships between various types of data and geographical locations.
Recently, I participated in a 4-day immersion into the world of GIS and it was so fascinating. In this training, hosted in partnership with the Cobb County Schools’ Social Studies Supervisor, Trudy Delhey and West Georgia professor Dr. Jessie Hong which brought K-12 teachers as well as TTISs and yours truly. We delved into the various workings of ArcGIS to work with data showing population density, school locations, and climate regions on maps. My favorite part was learning how to create Story Maps. These take layers of map data and present them in story formats ranging from PowerPoint-style presentations to interactive one-page parallax-style web pages. The training experience culminated in each of us creating our own GIS layer, map, or story map using and writing a lesson plan using the Inquiry Design Model lesson plan template (more about IDM here) which was shared with our colleagues. I cannot wait to receive the Digital Badge associated with completing this training to share with each of you here.
Moving onward, I am quite excited to share what I have learned with my fellow educators to help them create timely connections between geography, Social Studies, and their content areas.
Of course, I will be sure to post updates here and on Twitter.
Until next time, push yourself outside of your comfort zone to learn something outside your realm of expertise.