I was fortunate to use UWM’s site license registration to attend ESRI’s 2014 Education GIS Conference and International Users Conference at San Diego.
In the first two days, I attended the Education GIS Conference hold in the Marriott hotel. The attendees include K-12 educators as well as college and university faculties. There were many sessions and workshops to choose. The topics ranged from teaching challenges and opportunities on GIS at different education levels to teaching different GIS concepts and technology in class. In the education conference, you can find how much the teachers want to bring spatial thinking and GIS into their K-12 education, and you can see many K-12 educators attended discussing and sharing their experiences and expectation to teach GIS and to create an informative and fun learning environment for students to learn GIS. Beyond the traditional classroom teaching, in the plenary session, Dr. Anthony Robinson from Penn State talked about online geospatial education to demonstrate that GIS can be taught to people from different places in the world with different learning expectation. During the conference, I also had conversations with ESRI’s education manager, Dr. Joseph Kerski, on teaching GIS, especially on using ArcGIS online for teaching. Being a teacher in GIS, I am very excited and appreciated to have such great opportunity to attend this GIS Education Conference. If you are interested in GIS education, you will very enjoy this conference, sharing experiences with other GIS educators and learning teaching ideas from all the sessions and workshops.
Right after the Education GIS Conference is the International Users conference at the convention center having attendees from different fields. Many of the attendees are from industry, non-profit organizations, and government agencies. The opening plenary session was held in the room pretty much like a football field with three presentation counters on a huge stage and 9 large projector screens to show the presentations, so that everyone can see who is presenting what. With thousands of attendees, you can image how many sessions and workshops provided in each day. You surely want to check on the conference schedule and find out what sessions and workshops to attend before you are there! You can also learn Esri’s products by visiting the exhibit hall. There are many staff to answer your questions. There are also many 30-minutes demonstration sessions to introduce you applications using GIS technology. If you are using GIS, no matter what your focus is in what field, you won’t be bored, and you will find many sessions to attend and many ideas to learn.
For me, both of them are great opportunities to see how others use GIS in teaching and in real world jobs. I definitely would love to go again in the future!