When I taught sixth grade, one of the ways technology could be made relevant–aside from SimCity–was to encourage the use of ESRI’s ArcGIS product. Unfortunately, the program was way over my head but I remember some high school folks getting all excited about it.
Now, with my daughter at Texas A&M studying GIS as a career-choice, I’ve taken a more definite interest in the field. That’s why I was thrilled to read this tweet by Dr. Gordon Dahlby sharing this news:
Esri today reported it’s committing up to $1 billion in free accounts for its cloud-based GIS mapping software, hosted through Amazon Web Services. Amazon said it’s committing AWS resources for three years to support the effort for all schools that participate.
Esri is the maker of ArcGIS, a geographic information systems (GIS) software suite that provides tools for creating interactive Web-based maps. The software is already widely used in schools, with some statewide licenses in place. It’s used in project-based learning across disciplines, including science (such as gathering data from the field and mapping it), math (calculating volumes of water) and social sciences (calculating population densities).
Through the program, elementary, middle and high schools will be able to receive grants for the use of ArcGIS Online, the hosted edition of ArcGIS. The move is in response to the President’s ConnectED initiative, which has already attracted commitments from several other tech companies, including Microsoft, Dell, Lenovo and others. In addition to the software, the program also provides teacher training, a community space, educator mentoring and other student and teacher resources.
Pretty exciting news! Watch this video:
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