[OSGeo-Discuss] Humble request to AAG to include Open Education principles and FOSS4G tools firmly in the ConnnectED concept to support the new Advanced Placement course in Geographic Information Science and Technology (GIS&T)

Suchith Anand Suchith.Anand at nottingham.ac.uk
Sat Jun 6 08:04:22 PDT 2015

Dear Michael,

It is great to know that AAG will lead a course proposal development team on behalf of GENIP for the new Advanced Placement course in Geographic Information Science and Technology (GIS&T) .  On behalf of "Geo for All" , i would like to strongly support this great initiative to widen and expand geospatial education opportunities to schools across USA and we would like to contribute to this excellent initiative.

AAG are very welcome to fully make use of the Free and Open Source Geospatial Software from the  Open Source Geospatial Foundation (OSGeo) for your needs and requirements. From web mapping to desktop GIS , we have a range of software available freely for your educational needs. Details are at http://www.osgeo.org/home

You are also welcome to make use the educational resources our colleagues have already developed and tailor it for your needs as required. The educational materails are in Creative Commons licence, so you are free to use and modify as needed. Our "Geo for All"  colleagues will be pleased to provide any specific information you need. 

For example, GeoAcademy colleagues in Texas have already developed a coherent curriculum (and running a very successful MOOC program) that includes these five GIS courses:

    GST 101 Introduction to Geospatial Technology Using QGIS 2.8
    GST 102 Spatial Analysis Using QGIS 2.8
    GST 103 Data Acquisition & Management Using QGIS 2.8
    GST 104 Cartography Using QGIS 2.8
    GST 105 Remote Sensing Using QGIS 2.8 & GRASS 7.0

All the course materails are available at https://github.com/FOSS4GAcademy

It will be a great platform for you to make use of for the "Train the Trainer" program for school teachers across USA.  Teachers can not only make use of the Open Educational materials  but more importantly they can get the Free and Open Source Geospatial Software for thier needs. This will make sure the teachers and academics are fully empowered and do not have to depend on the mercy of any properitery GIS vendor . 

By pure chance, as i was exploring ideas from colleagues in various GIS maillists for a new research paper that i am planning  on "The economic impact of OSGeo Software" , one list member  (Randal Hale, USA ) informed of properitory GIS software update problems faced by a high school in USA  [1] and that example was a real eye opener of the long term costs/sustainability issues of properitory GIS software in geoeducation and hence i decided to take action and contact you on this. 

Also is there any guarentee that the properitory vendor will keep providing free software for the long term? They can change their mind any time and the poor schools ,teachers and students will be left on thier own. Either they have to pay and buy  (maybe they will get some discount) but the fact of the matter is academics , teachers and students are at the mercy of the vendor. If the properitory vendor decides to change the costs or terms, the schools and students will suffer. 

There are other educational materails from our international colleagues also you can make use of. For example, GIS at School of UNEP-GRID Warsaw is an excellent resourse for teachers not only in geography but also in other science subjects who wish to use geographic concepts in thier teaching. Details at http://edugis.pl/en/for-teachers/guide

But more importantly we have amazing academic colleagues contributing thier knowledge for Open Education efforts. You can get a flavor from this year's GeoForAll - Global Educator of the Year Award 2015. Details are at http://www.osgeo.org/node/1506

Focus on just  properitory vendor tools only in geoeducation  has long term consequences  as i realised by discussing this among my colleagues in Geo for All  lists [1].  By combining the potential of free and open GI software, open data, open standards, open access to research publications, open education resources in Geospatial education and research is key for widening geospatial education opportunities, accelerating new discoveries and helping solving global cross disciplinary societal challenges from Climate change mitigation to sustainable cities. 

Could i humbly request you to ensure that Open Education principles and FOSS4G tools firmly embedded in the  ConnnectED concept to support the new Advanced Placement course in Geographic Information Science and Technology (GIS&T) . This will make sure that the educators are empowered and enable them to educate and empower the students and give them opportunities and the software tools for accelerating economic growth and innovation opportunities. 

Thanks again for your kind consideration of our request and we  fully support this great initiative of AAG and will be very happy to contribute for the success of this excellent education initiative .I am also actively encouraging as many of our colleagues globally to register for  consideration as a proposal author and/or reviewer for this , so they all can help contribute thier expertise for this exellent educational initiative.

Best wishes,

Suchith Anand

[1] http://lists.osgeo.org/pipermail/discuss/2015-June/014310.html

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