Jack Dangermond Award 2016 - the winners story

Each year Esri runs a competition for early career researchers in education. The Jack Dangermond Award winner receives a free pass to the Esri User Conference in San Diego and covers the cost of getting there, accomodation and a bit of money to ensure you enjoy your time at the conference. The result is that around 20 early career researchers gather at the World's biggest GIS conference to discuss their work and develop valuable connections with other GIS researchers and educators from around the World.

This year, the UK and Ireland winner was Katie Hall from the University of Cambridge. Katie has been part of a wider project to support trainee geography teachers with developing their use of Geographical Information Systems (GIS) within schools this year, and has not only developed outstanding practice in the classroom but has supported training of peers and colleagues both in Faculty and in school. Her winning storymap described how easy it can be integrate GIS in lessons and how this can enhance the learning experience.

Over to Katie:

"In April 2016 I submitted a storymap to the ESRI UK Higher Education team describing my work integrating GIS with secondary school teaching. I was incredibly fortunate to be selected as a Jack Dangermond Young Scholar, and offered the chance to fly to San Diego and participate in this year’s ESRI Education GIS Conference and User Conference."

"It is hard to convey the sense of purpose and excitement that suffused the whole event – over 16,000 professionals and students talking, listening, learning from one another. The plenary session, presenting future directions in GIS technology and innovative uses from around the world, was absolutely inspirational. I encourage everyone to watch the videos and see the amazing ways in which GIS are being used today – from managing megacities to exploring holograms of archaeological sites!"

"The shift towards intuitive GIS that was outlined, where advanced technology and complex information can be marshaled to answer questions and solve problems even by non-expert users, feels like a leap into science fiction future. Attending the conference allowed me to take my place in this brave new world, and to bring it back for my students. I was able to join in technical demonstrations and learn how to make the most of new GIS technologies within an educational context. I was also able to see first-hand how GIS is used in classrooms around the world. The chance to meet other educators enthusiastic about the technology and share best practice was so valuable – I can’t wait to start developing ideas from the conference in my own classroom."

"As a storymap opened the door to the ESRI UC for me, it felt most appropriate to record my experiences and gratitude using the same format. A more detailed account of my time in San Diego is available here. The conference was one of the most enriching and rewarding experiences of my career, and the ESRI UK team were fantastically welcoming and helpful. I cannot thank them enough for their time and kindness. For any scholar considering entering the 2017 competition I can only say APPLY – you will learn more than you can imagine, and have an amazing time doing so! "

You can follow Katie Hall on Twitter where she is @geogologue and through her Geogologue Blog