Geographic Information Systems in K-12

This site is an educational portal for information and resources associated with the statewide Geographic Information Systems (GIS) license in the state of Minnesota. Geospatial technologies are one of the three fastest growing technology fields (Source: U.S. Department of Labor). To introduce students to the geospatial tools and skills that will be required for many high-demand jobs of the future, Minnesota through a partnership of organizations and individuals have negotiated a statewide license for ESRI Geographic Information Systems (GIS) software.

The software will be available at no cost to qualified organizations in Minnesota. These include, but are not limited to:

  • All K-12 public, private and charter schools
  • Homeschools
  • K-12 aged formal and non-formal youth groups (including afterschool and summer programs)

Get started with FREE ArcGIS software, ArcGIS Online maps and Esri Virtual Campus training.

GIS technology in the classroom provides an opportunity to use the same tools used in high-demand careers to examine geographic questions, conduct analysis and explore themes. Students work with data in ways that reveal relationships, patterns, and trends in the form of maps, globes, reports and charts. These skills are invaluable to studies in many subject areas, including science, mathematics, career and technical education, social studies, reading and language arts.

Set-up and Getting Started

The documents below will assist with setting up ArcGIS software, answer frequently asked questions and provide educators with resources to get started.

Available Training

Summer 2015 GIS Introductory Workshops *FREE*

Geospatial technologies are one of the three fastest growing technology fields (Source: U.S. Department). To help Teachers get a better handle on this GIS software, MDE is partnering with Minnesota GIS professionals to host FREE introductory ArcGIS Online workshops. Each workshop will cover the same basic GIS and ArcGIS Online material and will include hands-on exercises. The sessions are four hours in length and Continuing Education Units will be provided for use in license renewal.

Workshop locations include Duluth, Baxter, Brooklyn Park, Minneapolis, Apple Valley and Minnetonka

See additional information or register for one of these FREE workshops.

Mapping the Journey with GIS: Place-based, Experiential, Environmental Education Workshop – June 29 to July 2

‘Mapping the Journey’ workshop will inspire and train you to use spatial thinking and ArcGIS Online to support experiential, place-based, environmental education in the K-12 environment. As participants, you should finish the workshop with inspiration, skills, confidence, and materials to integrate spatial thinking and ArcGIS Online into your experiential, place-based work with your students—both in the field and in the classroom. To maximize the relevance to teaching, technical and GIS-specific knowledge will be taught in the context of its application to this particular educational approach, although the skills are transferable to other approaches. The workshop will be held June 29 – July 2, 2015 at River’s Edge Academy, St. Paul, MN and there will be a $200 participant stipend offered.

See additional information or register for Mapping the Journey.

Beginning and Intermediate ArcGIS Online Workshop for K-12 Teachers – July 20 to July 23

Through a grant from Esri, Bloomington school district is offering four days of training on how to use and introduce your students to ArcGIS Online software and the exciting possibilities of using GIS technology in your classroom. Geographic Information Systems (GIS) technology provides a powerful online tool your students can use to analyze geographic data from a variety of sources. Students skilled in GIS can gather data, map it, and make conclusions. GIS skills are highly valued by business, industry, and governmental institutions. This workshop will introduce you to beginning and intermediate ArcGIS Online skills. The workshop will be held July 20 – July 23, 2015 at Oak Grove middle school, Bloomington, MN and there will be a $125 participant stipend offered.

See additional information or register for the ArcGIS workshop.

U-Spatial ArcGIS Online FREE Training at University of Minnesota
The University of Minnesota’s U-Spatial Center provides FREE GIS classes. If you are a teacher and can get a training day off school, this is a great place to get free training from a knowledgeable source. Visit the U-Spatial Training Site for course dates, registration information and workshop materials.

Minnesota Alliance for Geographic Education (MAGE)
The Minnesota Alliance for Geographic Education is a group of educators who advocate for geographic literacy. The mission of the Minnesota Alliance for Geographic Education is to be the premier collaborative organization on the forefront of geographic education by providing resources for teachers and opportunities for networking and experiences that motivate and inspire teachers for the benefit of students. Opportunities for teachers exist at MAGE through their Workshops and Conferences, student enrichment and Curriculum.

Members receive announcements via the MAGE NEWSFLASH; a periodic email notification which broadcasts information about FREE or low-cost opportunities for Geography Institutes and Workshops (with graduate credit or CEUs), and opportunities for receiving free or low cost teaching materials. MAGE is led by Coordinator David A. Lanegran with a Steering Committee comprised of educators from around the State of Minnesota.