Geography conferences are great opportunities for geographers, environmental scientists, GIS practitioners, social scientists—and basically anyone who performs work that is geographic in nature—to network and share recent developments in the field. Many conferences accept all abstract submissions, so they are great opportunities for students to get experience and practice presenting their research. Even if you aren’t presenting, it is still very useful and interesting to attend … Continue reading Geo-Conferences

Geographic Information Systems: The Missing Educational Technology

By Daniel C. Edelson, Ph.D. May 27, 2014 Author’s note: On May 27, 2014, Esri, the market leader in Geographic Information Systems technology, announced a commitment in support of President Obama’s ConnectED Initiative.  Esri will provide free access to ArcGIS Online to all elementary and secondary schools in the United State.  Under this pledge, schools will receive the same advanced mapping software used by government … Continue reading Geographic Information Systems: The Missing Educational Technology

Danny Edelson: Scaling Up Classroom Maps

Geo-Learning“Scaling Up Classroom Maps” Daniel C. EdelsonVice President, National Geographic Education Read Danny Edelson’s latest column in the Spring 2011 edition of ESRI’s ArcNews. An excerpt appears below. Usually, when you talk about the scale of a map, you’re talking about the ratio of distances on the map to distances in the real world. These days, however, when educators working with National Geographic maps talk … Continue reading Danny Edelson: Scaling Up Classroom Maps

Danny Edelson: Tricorders–The Next Tool for Geographic Learning?

Tricorders–The Next Tool for Geographic Learning?
“Geo Learning”
by Daniel C. Edelson

Vice President for Education
National Geographic Society

If you’re of a certain age, you probably find yourself looking around and remarking on how much today’s world looks like the world that Gene Roddenberry imagined in the original Star Trek series. OK, we don’t have transporters or warp drives. But we do have computers you can talk to, two-way video communications, and devices that work like communicators and tricorders.

There is a lot of discussion these days about what impact these Star Trek technologies might have on education. In just the last couple months, I attended a one-day summit on the promise of wireless technologies for education and a two-day workshop on the use of mobile devices for citizen science.

For geoliteracy, I think these devices offer amazing opportunities to move learning outside the school building, and we’ve been designing software at National Geographic that students will be able to take into the world on handhelds that will enable them to record observations, combine them with observations of others, and analyze them for geospatial patterns. However, an inescapable challenge of learning in the real world is that the real world is complex and unpredictable. Sometimes it is too complex and unpredictable to enable you to be sure that you can teach specific relationships or skills through real-world experiences.

Continue reading “Danny Edelson: Tricorders–The Next Tool for Geographic Learning?”

Mapping your State and Community


Ok, so you’ve heard us talk about GIS (Geographic Information Systems) before on this blog. A LOT.

But let’s be honest: Chances are you’ve probably never actually used a GIS to analyze geographic data and make maps. Most casual geography buffs don’t have their own license for a GIS software package such as ArcGIS, which is usually purchased by businesses or universities. And if you’re not a classroom teacher, then you’ve probably never used AEJEE, either, a free GIS “lite” program for educators and students.

Well, now’s your chance to give GIS a shot!

Continue reading “Mapping your State and Community”