Esri Donates $1 Billion in GIS Software to US K-12 Schools
Responding to President Barack Obama’s call to help strengthen STEM education through the ConnectED Initiative, Esri president Jack Dangermond announced today that Esri will provide a grant to make its advanced mapping software running on cloud infrastructure provided by Amazon Web Services (AWS) available for free to the more than 100,000 elementary, middle, and high schools in the United States.
ConnectED is a government education program developed to prepare K-12 students throughout the United States for digital learning opportunities and future employment. The Initiative sets four goals to establish digital learning in all K-12 schools in the United States during the next few years. These goals include: high-speed connectivity to the internet, access to affordable mobile devices to facilitate digital learning anytime, anywhere, high-quality software that provides multiple learning opportunities for students, and relevant teacher training to support this effort.
Esri, the world’s leading developer of geographic information system (GIS) software, has offered a free ArcGIS Online account to all K-12 schools in the United States. AWS is supporting this initiative through a three-year commitment to provide cloud infrastructure to support Esri and every school using this product. Because each ArcGIS online account is valued at more than $10,000, the potential value of the contribution to the President’s ConnectED Initiative exceeds $1 billion.
“We are proud to be part of the President’s ConnectED Initiative,” says Jack Dangermond, Esri president. “Geographic Information System technology gives students powerful tools for understanding our planet, and teaches them to become problem solvers. It is a perfect complement to STEM courses and many other classroom activities, while preparing students for further education and expanding career opportunities in fields that can help better manage our world, build better lives for more people, and design a better future.”
“The connection between STEM education and a 21st Century career path is undeniable, and early experience with technical skill development will help prepare our K-12 students for high-paying, rewarding careers later in life. Geographic information is part of how we view our world today–-not just how to get from here to there, but also in learning to perform analysis, communications and planning functions. We are excited to support the President’s ConnectED initiative and Esri’s effort to bring information and technology into the lives of students by providing free cloud-based infrastructure to K-12 schools across the country to support the ArcGIS initiative,” said Teresa Carlson, vice president Worldwide Public Sector, Amazon Web Services Inc.
For a related story on the impact this pledge will have on American students, see “The New Space Race” by Thomas Fisher, Dean of the College of Design, at the University of Minnesota.