February 2, 2013 Leave a comment
Please include attribution to OnlineColleges.net with this graphic.
Musings on the use of technology in education and academic life.
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
email@example.com | esri.com
December 31, 2012 Leave a comment
Apple recently entered the “mini” tablet space with it’s new iPad Mini. Sharing many of the same technical specs as the iPad 2, the iPad mini is “every inch an iPad” as Phil Schiller described it. Fitting the experience of an iPad in my palms is what I’ve been after for a while. Though I love my iPad, I turn to my MacBook Air to really get work done. Notice I refer to getting “work done” as opposed to getting “things” done. To get my work done such as creating interactive content for etextbooks, app development, research on technology enhanced learning, I’m much more productive on the Air. I need the functionality that Mac OS offers, especially having content in two or more on-screen windows to work from. I can certainly get “things” done on my iPad, e.g., personal productivity, check and respond to email, web research, and of course, entertainment. For me, the iPad is a wonderful consumption device and at this point a light-duty work device. During the work day I use it for keeping track of to dos, project tracking, note taking, reading eBooks and pdfs, and scheduling. I’ve found I don’t need a full-size iPad to complete these activities. The iPad mini better fits my work flow and content consumption. It will also make my mobile office lighter and more portable. I rarely take my iPad “on the go”, it’s the MacBook Air that nearly always is in my portable office. The new iPad mini changes all of that.
I’m locked into Apple’s ecosystem by choice. Like other Apple devices, the iPad mini can access my documents in iCloud. With the release of OSX Mountain Lion and an update to the iWork suite of applications, Apple implemented their vision of working in the cloud. Rather than using an app in the cloud like Google Docs, the app is on my device. Documents produced by iCloud-compatible apps are stored locally and synced to other devices via iCloud. Moving the document handling to the app makes so much sense, though you’re not locked into iCloud for document storage. Applications offer a choice to open from iCloud or your local drive. Rather than drilling through the Finder, your document is right there in the iCloud Document library. I’m thrilled at the offline editing and automated saving that iWork does. Living in a smaller community there are times when I have no Internet access but need to get things done. Having local copies of important documents accessible whenever and where ever allows me to do my work, Internet access or not. In fact, a portion of this post was written on my plane trip to a conference using my iPad. All of my work was instantly updated after I logged back in making it available to my MacBook Air once I arrived at my hotel. I’ll be able to do the same thing on an iPad mini.
With the new iPad Mini, my tablet returns to my portable office. Combined with iCloud it lightens my load as I can dispense with my external drive. All currently active projects and files for courses are in the cloud and also available to be used offline thanks to iCloud and Dropbox. Shrinking size without losing the features that help me do my work and enjoy my leisure time, is what I’m looking for in the iPad mini.
Disclosure: I’ll be honest … the above was pitch to my wife for why I needed one … and it was under the Christmas tree this year. I love that lady. :-)