We had our first GPS and GIS training of the week at Escuela Verde. While the students were on their two week break, a few of the teachers came back to school to see what GPS is all about and get some ideas on how they can use it in their classes. Escuela Verde is a bilingual school, offering classes in both Spanish and English for students in K-6. Some teachers were very comfortable in English, while others were native Spanish speakers with limited English. But when teaching others to use GIS and GPS, its seems that it has its own language that is universal.
We started off with an overview of ArcGIS.com, demonstrating how to access a variety of basemaps and other data hosted online. One teacher, David, picked up on using the ArcGIS online immediately and had set up an account and was on his way just after the overview. It was so great to see him and the others dive right in. After some exploring on the computers we stepped outside to use the GPS units.
The best way to learn how to use a GPS unit, start using the unit as you walk around the school building looking at your track and collecting waypoints. There are also several great activities that explore latitude and longitude, as well as finding your location from the Going Places with GPS book.
Over the next month, the teachers have been asked to explore some more with the online GIS and the GPS units so that when I’m back in August I can help them answer any questions they might have as well as help them with their ideas on integrating both into their teaching.