Joseph Kerski: Leveraging Social Media in Geography Education and Professional Development
January 10, 2013 2 Comments
I first met Joseph Kerski at the Virtual Geography Department workshop conducted in 1996. His intensity for learning and enthusiasm for sharing amazed me at our first meeting and still does today. Dr. Kerski is a prolific book author and has published widely in geoscience journals. Joseph is a powerhouse of energy devoted to promoting geographic literacy. His service to the National Council for Geographic Education (including past-president) and numerous workshop presentations are a testament to his commitment to geography education. I had the good fortune to carve out a few minutes from his busy schedule to ask him about his interest and work in geography education, and the importance of social media to geography education and professional development.
DP: How did you get interested in geography education?
I would say that there were three primary motivators: First, field experiences: I moved to western Colorado as a child and its canyons, mesas, and deserts became my playground. One memorable moment: After a field trip in Grade 7, my classmates and I were sitting with our backs against the bricks of the school building, listening to the teacher. While some of the other kids were complaining that they were too hot and wanted to go inside, I was truly enjoying the moment. What’s more, I realized from then on was that I didn’t have to ‘go along with the crowd,’ but that it was perfectly fine to value experiences that not everyone else valued.
DP: Please describe your current job.
Joseph Kerski: I serve as an adjunct instructor in GIS at the University of Denver and on the Esri Education Team. My duties include (1) Create GIS-based curriculum for a wide variety of disciplines, ages, scales, geographic locations, and settings; (2) Teach GIS-based workshops for educators and students in a wide variety of settings and places around the world, and model effective instructional practice; (3) Conduct research in the implementation and effectiveness of GIS in education; (4) Create and support partnerships among educational institutions, nonprofit organizations, government agencies, and private industry; (5) Communications: Create and deliver presentations, keynote addresses, operate exhibits, write articles and web posts, support grants in advisory capacities, and in other ways interface with educators, geographers, GIS practitioners, and others, to promote spatial literacy and the use of GIS; (6) Promote the use of spatial thinking, spatial analysis, and geotechnologies throughout education and society, for the benefit of people and the planet. (7) T3G: Co-instructor for annual Teachers Teaching Teachers GIS institutes, Esri Redlands. I am working with the very best people in the world on the Esri Education Team – all very committed to spatial literacy and geotechnologies, and also the geography education community across the globe – they are all wonderful people, dedicated to the vision that geography is essential for grappling with and solving the most pressing issues of the 21st Century, including water quality and quantity, energy, natural hazards, land use change, sustainability, and more.
DP: You use social media quite a bit. How do you see social media fitting into your job and interests?
Joseph Kerski: It is essential for communicating not only your own research and development, but more importantly to learn from others, and to form networking and collaborative opportunities with colleagues around the world. Without social media, the book I co-edited last year, International Perspectives in Teaching and Learning with GIS in Secondary Schools, probably would have been either impossible or taken a decade to complete. As it was, we had 33 authors from 33 countries contribute to the book and had the whole thing done in less than 2 years. My video channel http://www.youtube.com/geographyuberalles contains over 1,200 videos and I post weekly on http://spatialreserves.wordpress.com and on http://edcommunity.esri.com/blog.
DP: Do you think geography educators can benefit from using social media? If so, how?
Joseph Kerski: Absolutely, through Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, blogging, responding to other people’s posts – it is a powerful means for not only communicating and networking as I mentioned above, but also to raise awareness, galvanize the community, organize, and even, yes, simplify.
You can contact Joseph Kerski at:
Joseph J. Kerski, Ph.D.| Education Manager
Esri | 1 International Court | Broomfield CO 80021-3200 | USA
Tel 303-449-7779, ext. 8237 | Fax 303-449-8830
firstname.lastname@example.org | esri.com