The multiple-conferenced beast that is the ESRI User Conference is underway today with the Education User Conference (where I am), the Homeland Security Summit, and the Surveying & Engineering Summit.
This year the EdUC has moved to the other end of the SDCC to the Hilton Bayfront. The opening plenary saw the motley crew that is the ESRI Ed team make their way on stage to highlight and discuss a few things. Michael Gould started things off (ok so i walked in at the end of Angela’s topic) with a discussion of the vision of the Ed Team and how GIS use will likely follow the general trend and move to the cloud in education. Tom Baker talked about how the http://edcommunity.esri.com has expanded over the year and the resources that are available for GIS educators to interact and learn. Joseph Kerski talked about just a couple of the lessons available from ArcLessons and the data conduit that is the Ed team blog. Laura Bowden talked about ESRI Press’s new Academic imprint, the rollout of new translations of Press books, and the republication of some older books. She also pointed out that ESRI will be rolling out a software certification program at 9.4 (won’t compeat with GISP or ASPRS certification) and a few new training courses. Ann Johnson highlighted changes to 9.3.1 education license options that see some license levels getting additional seats, new extensions, and new names. I am sure details are available on the Ed industry page. Of interest to some, they have made it easier for educators to get student disks, though they have a new name now. Finally, Charlie Fitzpatrick spoke about the http://geomentor.org program that you should check out and think about supporting (yeah, I am talking to you).
There was a great moment at the end of the plenary when they recognized the soon to be ‘retiring’ Ann Johnson to a well deserved round of applause. But don’t worry. as you already know from the podcast Ann is going to be working with the GeoTech Center after she leaves ESRI.
Bern kicked off the keynote section showing off AGX 900, ArcGIS Online (are we going to call it AGO?), and layer packages and talked about their potential place in education.
The keynote was given by Dr Henk Scholten and he talked about some of their work on using geospatial technologies to develop spatial thinking.
Be sure to check out our Saturday wrap up podcast to hear more about the plenary, keynote, and the sessions we make it to when we aren’t finishing our own presentations.