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Putting Social Studies in its Place: Using GIS in the Classroom

February 7, 2017 - 7:00pm to 8:00pm EST

During the past decade the learning curve for using Geographic Information Systems in the classroom has decreased incredibly and accessibility to K-12 institutions is at all-time high! IN 2014 ESRI announced a $1 billion gift of ArcGIS Online software to support the Obama Administration’s ConnectEd initiative. Any public or private school in US can now have organization GIS for up to 500 users free of charge.

"Putting Social Studies in its Place", a free 5-week online course, introduces you to the power of using WebGIS in a Social Studies classroom. During this session we will model how you can begin using GIS to: compliment your existing instruction; map and analyze simple data sets; and to create community based PBL activities. Teachers will use geospatial technologies and spatial thinking to identify and explain three places where geography influenced their discipline. Topics may include: Jamestown Settlement and Colonization; American Revolutionary War; Constitutional Convention; Presidential Elections; Migration and Settlement patterns; Cooperation and Conflict (Civil War, WWI, WWII, Cold War); Cultural Processes (Language, Religion); World Population (Demographics, Development, Density). Lesson Plans, free software, and replication tips will be provided.


  • Chris Bunin - Virginia Geographic Alliance, teaches A.P. Human Geography, World History, and Geospatial Technologies at Albemarle High School in Charlottesville, Virginia. During the past decade he has collaborated on projects focused on leveraging geospatial technologies and geo-literacy in the classroom. These include: “The Virginia Experiment” and “America on the World Stage” Teaching American History Projects; the iSTEM Teacher Scholars Program: An Applied Geospatial Curriculum for Middle Schools; “Transatlantic Teacher Scholars: Change Over Time and Place in the Meuse-Argonne American Cemetery”; ESRI’s GeoInquiries for US History and Human Geography; the US Census Bureau’s Statistics in Schools Program; and the award winning book Jamestown to Appomattox: Mapping US History Using GIS (Carte Diem Press).  He is also Assistant Professor of Geography at Piedmont Virginia Community College and a member of the Virginia Geographic Alliance Steering Committee. This past December NCSS recognized Chris as the 2016 Outstanding Secondary Social Studies Teacher of the Year.; 
  • Andy Dojack, Virginia Geographic Alliance/Greene County Public Schools, teaches GIS to students in grades six through eight at William Monroe Middle School.  Prior to teaching GIS he served as the lead world geography teacher for nine years; and
  • Christine Esposito is a gifted specialist at Johnson Elementary School in Charlottesville City Public Schools. Previously, she taught history and language arts at Walker Upper Elementary School in Charlottesville. She participated in the Virginia Experiment and America on the World Stage Teaching American History Projects (2007-2011) . Her projects included Mapping the Constitutional Convention, Using Primary Sources in the Classroom, and Comparing the English Civil Wars and the American Revolution. and a program entitled When We Were British, sponsored by the Virginia and North Carolina Geographic Societies and the British National Archive looking at place and identity in colonial America. She won the 2009 Gilder-Lehrman History Teacher of the Year for the state of Virginia. Christine co-authored the award winning book From Jamestown to Appomattox: Mapping US History with GIS with Chris Bunin. Her instructional interests include making history relevant and interesting, using Twitter to learn from other teachers and giving students autonomy in the classroom. Originally from NY, she current resides in Charlottesville, VA.

Registration Fee: $20 NCSS members / $40 NCSS nonmembers