The adventure begins, and with this adventure comes knowledge and skills that will be brought back to Costa Rica to share with other teachers and students. Margarita Morales Gamboa, a teacher at Escuela Verde, a local bi-lingual elementary school that Geoporter works with, applied to and was accepted to attend the 2014 Esri Teachers Teaching Teachers GIS (T3G) week-long institute this summer in California, USA. In its 6th year, T3G offers a professional development opportunity for formal, informal and non-formal educators to build their skills for teaching other teachers learn why and how to use Geographic Information Systems (GIS), or computer mapping.
Margarita is very excited to be attending the T3G institute from June 15-20, 2014. She cannot wait to “learn about the technology to use with her students and be able to help other teachers use the GPS and GIS.” In her application, Margarita had to create a big project about Costa Rica, mapping the location of her house and other amenities using an online platform for GIS, ArcGIS Online. Upon acceptance to T3G, Margarita was “so happy to have the permission and opportunity to attend, but very worried about getting a visa for her trip.” Getting a visa to the U.S. is not an easy task for many Costarricenses. Many apply several times before finally getting their visa.
On her first visit to the U.S. Embassy, Margarita was successfully approved for her visa to travel to the U.S. and attend the T3G Institute. With the visa in hand and an excitement that is hard to control, Margarita is set to head off and learn how she can advance her current GIS skills and how to bring back additional skills to run a workshop back in Bahia Ballena for other teachers in the area when she returns. Acceptance into T3G requires that all attendees conduct a training event for other educators in the year following their return.
While getting accepted and receiving her visa are the key components, Margarita’s trip would not be possible without the support of many businesses and organizations who have stepped up to make sure she is able to attend. As part of getting accepted to T3G, Esri will put Margarita up in a hotel with one other attendee for her time during the week. Geotecnologias S.A., based in San Jose, Costa Rica is sponsoring Margarita’s airfare to Los Angeles from San Jose. GISetc has offered to cover Margarita’s meals expenses while she is attending, and Escuela Verde is covering Margarita’s classes while she is gone. School is still in session and the kids need to continue learning. Geoporter is thrilled for Margarita to have this opportunity and looks forward to working with Margarita to teach others how they can use GPS and GIS in classrooms and to map community issues.