Further enriching their longstanding partnership, Esri and VirtualJobShadow.com have combined forces to bring Esri's powerful ArcGIS mapping software and GeoInquiries curriculum into Career and Technical Education classrooms across the country. Incorporated directly into VirtualJobShadow.com's engaging career planning platform, Esri's GeoInquiries lessons explore a variety of subjects while introducing students to Geographic Information Systems (GIS) technology. By integrating with VirtualJobShadow.com's expanding curriculum section, Esri will be able to distribute their innovative software to an even wider audience, bringing exciting new tech-based learning opportunities for students and teachers.
As a part of the Obama Administration's ConnectED Initiative for K12 education, Esri donated $1 billion of free ArcGIS Online software, which enables schools around the country to utilize this tremendous resource. Schools can access the software through a free online portal that works with any device, so any student can utilize the platform for a variety of subjects.
"Partnering with VirtualJobShadow.com on the ConnectEd initiative helps us get that message directly to the Career and Technical Education audience," Dr. Tom Baker, Education Outreach Manager for Esri, said. "With the reach and resources that VirtualJobShadow.com has, both the software we're offering now free to U.S. schools and the instruction materials will really help more CTE teachers, as well as traditional academic instructors introduce this advanced technology to students."
"The GeoInquiries are an inspiring, incredible resource, allowing educators to take traditional academics to a completely different level with sophisticated mapping technology," Kim Celentano, CEO of VirtualJobShadow.com said. "We're thrilled to provide Esri's GeoInquiries to our customers and help them see the powerful ways these lessons will impact student learning."
Dr. Baker added, "ArcGIS Online allows students to create maps, share those maps (or mapping-based applications), tell their stories or even create projects where other students or educators can participate. We're supporting not only the folks that would normally use maps in classrooms, like Earth Science and Geography, but we're supporting a broader range of those classrooms, like History and biology."
That's where the GeoInquiries curriculum comes in, which uses 15-minute lessons with the ArcGIS software to enable a deeper understanding of core academic subjects. According to Dr. Baker, this is an important first step in introducing GIS technology to students.
An advantage of VirtualJobShadow.com is that it gives students the ability to jump from the GeoInquiries curriculum right into exploring related GIS job shadowing videos. "We excel at helping students make academic connections to careers," Celentano said. "The GeoInquiries perfectly complement our mission." Dr. Baker continued, "For kids who are interested in GIS analysis or GIS programming, we want to introduce them to the technology as soon as possible. And we think introducing them to careers through some of the VirtualJobShadow.com videos, or to these activities that teachers now have access to, will help create that exposure and ideally that enticement."
Combining Esri's ConnectED contributions and VirtualJobShadow.com's interactive career exploration platform is a win-win for teachers and students, providing better resources for classrooms and opening doors for students that may not have been visible before. And thanks to VirtualJobShadow.com's expanding access to the education community, they can bring Esri's technology and resources to more students than ever before.