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

October 7, 2015 All-Day *FREE* GIS Workshop - Duluth Convention Center
The Minnesota Department of Education and the Minnesota GIS/LIS Consortium would like to invite teachers to an Educators Day at the Duluth Convention Center. This event will be held Wednesday, October 7, 2015 from 9am to 4:30pm. Teachers and Administrators attending will learn about ArcGIS Online mapping resource tool that is available FREE to all schools. This event includes both lunch and snacks and CEUs will be available for teachers and administrators.
Discover the basics of using ArcGIS Online in your classroom. If you are a GIS user already then you may be interested in advanced techniques through spatial analysis or learning how to create Story Maps. What is Collector and how can my students use it to collect and map data? There will be sessions presented by teachers and professionals for both beginning and advanced ArcGIS Online users and specific sessions for science and social studies. The schedule provides opportunities to collaborate with other teachers and GIS professions (EDCamp style) on projects for the classroom. Here is your chance to learn about ArcGIS Online, collaborate with other teachers and mingle and develop mentor opportunities with GIS professionals that could last years. CEUs will be available for teachers and administrators. For additional information, contact Scott Freburg (651-582-8789) at the Minnesota Department of Education. If you would like to register immediately, use our convenient registration page.

See the Duluth Educators Day Agenda.

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.