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July 27 - California Geographic Alliance Trains High School Teachers to Incorporate GIS into History and Geography Courses

By Thomas Herman, Director of the California Geographic Alliance

From July 15-17, the Spatial Analysis Lab at San Diego State University‘s Geography Department was buzzing with energy and exciting ideas. Twenty-one educators were receiving their first instruction in using geographic information systems, having conversations about how the technology could enrich teaching and learning of history and geography, and establishing free ArcGIS organizational accounts for 13 high schools, plus the San Diego History Center and the Girl Scouts of San Gorgonio County. The California Geographic Alliance (CGA), which is funded by the National Geographic Education Foundation, organized the professional development workshop with support from a $5,000 grant from Esri, Inc. as part of their ConnectEd Initiative. Teachers and curriculum specialists from San Diego City Schools and Sweetwater Union High School District made up the majority of the group, but they were joined by 4 pre-service teachers who recently completed the Linked Learning program at SDSU, as well as a museum educator and a STEM Program Manager for the Girl Scouts.

Guided by Professor Ming-Hsiang Tsou (who serves as CGA’s Geospatial Technology Coordinator) and experienced mappers and patient mentors Cynthia Paloma and Yi-Ting Chuang, workshop participants learned to use ArcGIS Online to create their own web maps, build story maps that integrate maps with other multimedia content, and even use crowdsourcing to collect observations in the field that feed directly into a web map. They were motivated by the possibilities presented through the tools made accessible by Esri, and they were quick learners. By the end of day one, teachers were presenting their own maps!

Siri Forsman-Sims presents her 
        first web map

Right: Sweetwater Union High School District teacher Siri Forsman-Sims presents her first ever web map, highlighting the places in which she received her higher education.

CGA‘s Professional Development Coordinator Emily Schell (who is also Executive Director of the California International Studies Project) and teacher leader Trevore Humphrey then helped the educators think strategically about how to integrate GIS into the classroom to create dynamic learning experiences and enhance students‘ understanding of the world. Each educator is now working independently or in a team to develop a new educational resource for use in their own classroom. With input from the other participants and CGA staff, these resources will be refined and then shared with other teachers via the CGA website and future professional development workshops. The educators who came to the workshop are now part of the CGA team working to unleash the power of geospatial technology!

“Thank you so much for including me in the GeoQuest training last week. I enjoyed the opportunity and I look forward to moving forward with new programs based on what I learned. I already have a meeting scheduled for next week with a girl who is interested in using a Story Map as part of her Silver Award project. I look forward to continuing to work with all of you as I build up our GIS based programs.”
—Carrie Raleigh, Girl Scouts of San Gorgonio County
“Thank you for putting on such an amazing learning opportunity for teachers. I was in amazement all day at the level of excitement. This will carry into classroom practice. I appreciate the efforts the team went to in order to make this an engaging experience.”
—Linda Trousdale, Director of Teaching and Learning, SDUSD
San Diego Unified School District 
        teachers working to create a Story Map.

Right: San Diego Unified School District teachers Michelle Sanchez, Matthew Schneck, and Andrew Zafuto working to create a Story Map and learning activities focusing on the relationship between demographic variables and voting patterns in presidential elections.

The workshop was the first event coordinated as part of the CGA‘s GeoQuest Initiative. GeoQuest seeks to integrate geographic perspectives and the tools of geographical analysis into a diverse range of courses at all grade levels, with an overall focus on building 21st century leadership and problem-solving skills that will enable the U.S. to address the challenges of sustainability, economic competitiveness, and global security while at the same time embracing a diverse citizenry and their varied experiences. The CGA works to promote geographic literacy and support geography education – at all grade levels and in out-of-school programs as well as formal educational settings. While just one of a network of alliances, California is where the first geographic alliance was established in 1982. SDSU‘s Department of Geography has served as the host institution for the CGA since 2013.

July 24 - Han Publishes First Paper

Congratulations to our joint doctoral student, Su Han! She just published her first leading author paper in the peer-reviewed journal, PlosOne. The paper title is “Do Global Cities Enable Global Views? Using Twitter to Quantify the Level of Geographical Awareness of U. S. Cities”

June 3 - Nara Completes GREW Fellowship

Dr. Atsushi Nara recently completed the inaugral Grants and Research Enterprise Writing (GREW) Fellowship at SDSU. The Fellowship program assists early career researchers in developing strategies to obtain grants and connecting with funding agencies.

April 27 - HDMA Center and Dr. Jung Developed GeoViewer for Helping Nepal Earthquake Disaster Response and Assistance

The Center for Human Dynamics in the Mobile Age (HDMA) at San Diego State University developed a web-based social media mapping application, called “GeoViewer”, which can visualize the location-based social media (Twitter) in various cities and locations. This tool has collected real-time location-based tweets in Nepal and nearby areas since April 25, 2015. Users can search for the most recent tweets or historical tweets (since 4/25) by using keywords, spatial boundaries, or time. The GeoViewer [Geo-targeted Event Observation (GEO) Viewer] has been developed mainly by Dr. Calvin Jung (Chief Data Scientist at HDMA center) with the founding support from National Science Foundation (Award# 1416509 and #1028177) and San Diego State University.

screenshot of Nepal GeoViewer

March 12 - Documentary Film Production Kicks Off at CICS

The production of a documentary film kicked off this week at CICS. Produced by AY! Cinema (Los Angeles, CA), the film covers unique methods of data analysis and advanced visualization of Big Data for tackling emerging issues of contemporary society. The film’s trailer will be launched at the Left of Boom conference organized by CICS in May 2015 and filming will occur at various locations during the next three months, with post-production scheduled for late June 2015. Appearing in the documentary are several CICS researchers and subject matter experts. The expected commercial release will be announced by AY! Cinema after August 2015.

Documentary film cameraman

March 12 - U.S. Representative Susan Davis Visits CICS

Congresswoman Susan Davis, member of the U.S. House of Representatives (CA-53), visited CICS to learn more about the domain knowledge analysis and pattern recognition efforts spearheaded by its Co-Directors, André Skupin and Akshay Pottathil. The CICS Co-Directors presented advanced visualization and data mining insights for wide range of domains, including health informatics, social media, and governance. Skupin and Pottathil further discussed their personal research challenges and their passion for impacting larger society through novel information systems platforms developed by the Center.

Representative Susan Davis with CICS 
        co-directors

March 9 - California Geographic Alliance Part of AAG Grant

The California Geographic Alliance led by SDSU Geography Professors Kate Swanson, Ming-Hsiang Tsou, and Stuart Aitken, along with Adjunct Professor Thomas Herman was one of several state geographic alliances to be included in a grant awarded to the Association of American Geographers from the National Geographic Society.

The grant will assist in in coordinating the experience and teacher networks the Alliances posess with continuing research work in Geographic Education.

March 9 - Delgado Wins President’s Award at SRS

Congratulations to Master’s student Emanuel Delgado for winning a $500 President’s Award for Research at the Student Research Symposium! As one of the top presentations at the symposium, SDSU has invited Emanuel to be one of ten SDSU delegates at the 29th Annual CSU Research Competition on May 1-2, 2015 at California State University, San Bernardino. This event will have delegates from all 23 CSU campuses.

Emanuel’s research explores the impacts of ongoing gentrification in Barrio Logan. His award winning presentation was titled, Culture and Gentrification in Barrio Logan.

Emanuel Delgado gives his research 
        symposium presentation

February 18 - Farley Studies Payment for Ecosystem Services

Professor Kathleen Farley and Leah Bremer, a Postdoctoral Researcher, have been studying how payment for ecosystem services programs (PES) represents a growing approach to conservation in Latin America and other places around the world. Their most recent research looks at how PES affected rural farmers and communities in the Ecuadorian Highlands.

February 17 - Stow Receives NSF and DOT Grants

Professor Doug Stow and Department of Geography Researcher Pete Coulter have given some interviews regarding the awarding of grants from the National Foundation of Science and the United Stated Department of Transportation. The research grants focus on potential applications of remote sensing in disaster response.

SDSU Press Release
Channel 6 (CW Network)
Daily Aztec
Union Tribune

January 30 - CICS Opens Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation in Dubai

The Center for Information Convergence and Strategy (CICS) and the University of Dubai are pleased to announce the creation of the Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation (UD-CEI). The new center will act as a research and consultancy platform for students, alumni, and faculty to network, collaborate, and develop their ideas. Situated within the University of Dubai, UD-CEI will support entrepreneurs through various stages of the entrepreneurial and innovation process. CICS Co-Director Akshay Pottathil is the Center's Director of Innovation & Strategy, while CICS Founder André Skupin assumes the position of Associate Director for Data Visualization & Analytics.

overhead view of University of Dubai

January 21 - SDSU Hosts Conference

In San Diego last week, academic researchers from more than 30 countries gathered for the 4th International Conference on the Geographies of Children, Youth and Families. The three-day conference was organized by San Diego State University’s Department of Geography to discuss topics ranging from youth migration to child labor, educational policies, violence against children and young people’s rights and well-being. The theme of border crossings threaded through the conference, culminating with a panel discussion featuring the work of Dr. Kate Swanson and Dr. Stuart Aitken on unaccompanied migrant children crossing the U.S.-Mexico border into California, Arizona and Texas.

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