Monday, April 17, 2006

National Report Emphasizes Importance of GIS in Education

April 14, 2006

ESRI and Partners Lead in Development and Delivery

Redlands, California—A new report from the National Research Council (NRC) stresses the importance of spatial thinking in everyone's life. Learning to Think Spatially: GIS as a Support System in the K–12 Curriculum recommends embedding spatial thinking across the K–12 curriculum. According to the report, geographic information system (GIS) technology can play a powerful role in promoting spatial thinking.

The study, supported by grants from the USGS, NASA, National Geographic Society Education Foundation, National Science Foundation, and ESRI, began in 2000 and brought together experts in geographic education and educational psychology. The panel heard from key organizations and individuals active in GIS education and outreach including instructors and curriculum developers who promote integrative and problem-based inquiry approaches to education. As constant proponents of the value of GIS and geographic inquiry in education, ESRI and a number of educators who use ESRI technology gave substantial input.

"A blue ribbon committee has validated the importance of spatial thinking in everyday life and recommended its inclusion across the curriculum in all grades," says Charlie Fitzpatrick, comanager of the ESRI K–12 Education Program for ESRI. "We continually witness the power of spatial analysis and the value of integrating data to explore situations and solve problems," echoes George Dailey, ESRI K–12 Education Program comanager for ESRI. "The process is the same, whether it's a fifth grader using the National Geographic MapMachine to look at earth science topics or a wildland fire expert tracking a blaze with ArcGIS."

Ultimately, the NRC report had six formal recommendations:

* There should be a national commitment to the systematic educational efforts necessary to meet the goal of spatial literacy.
* There should be a coordinated effort among GIS designers, psychologists, and educators to redesign GIS to accommodate the needs of the K–12 education community.
* A federation of GIS education partners should be established.
* Working in collaboration, GIS system designers, educational IT specialists, and teachers should develop guidelines for a model GIS-enabled school.
* Working in collaboration, representatives of colleges of education and GIS educators should establish guidelines for pre- and in-service teacher training programs for teaching spatial thinking using GIS, and develop a model standards-based curriculum for teaching about GIS.
* A research program should be developed to see whether or not an understanding of GIS improves academic achievement across the curriculum.

ESRI and its educational business partners are committed to expanding spatial literacy via GIS technology. Through the production of standards-based curriculum materials and skills-oriented training packages, support of teacher professional development, and enhancement of both standard software and education-specific software, ESRI and its partners already have years of experience working toward the recommendations in the NRC report.

For more information about the NRC report, visit For information about ESRI and GIS education, visit


Friday, April 14, 2006

Call for entries: “Through the spider’s web”

National Park Fruska Gora, Serbia and Montenegro is proud to announce that we are, as part of celebration of European Day of Parks on 24/05/2006 in association with Europark Federation organising photography exhibition on the subject of spiders of the world.

The exhibition will tour to all major cities in our country and there will be lectures and seminars, all with an ambition to draw attention to various ecological issues and further popularise protection of these species. We strongly believe that this will have more significance and further reaching effects if we take it to the international level.

This is why we would like to invite you to take part in this exhibition and would greatly appreciate you contribution.

This call for entries is open to all amateur and professional photographers and we are welcoming any photographs that feature spiders from all four corners of the world.

The deadline for sending your work is 10/05/2006.

Each applicant should send no more then 10 digital files of photographs via email on . Only one of the files should be the print size (300 dpi, max size 30cm x 40cm). This chosen photograph will be printed on paper, exhibited and used in the production of the catalog. The rest of the files should be 800 dpi (longer side) and they will be used for the web presentation and to produce a CD.

Please write clearly your personal details, such as name, address and website address if applicable. We would like to know when and where the photographs were taken and if possible latin names of the species featured. We also welcome your observations, impressions and anecdotes concerning spiders. This is not obligatory and it will not influence our process of selection.

All selected work will be exhibited and all contributors will be fully credited. Please note that this is not a competition and there will be no winners. Each photographer will receive a catalog and CD with all selected work (in non-printing resolution) and there will be a presentation of it on websites (

The last year’s exhibition titled “Wonders of dragonflies world” received great number of entries and was hugely successful. You can view the web presentation of it at

I hope to hear from you soon.

Please feel free to forward this email to all your friends and colleagues that work in this field and would be interested to take part.


Dragisa Savic
Ecological adviser
National Park Fruska Gora
Zmajev trg 1, 21208
Serbia and Montenegro