January 28, 2014 -- Dr. Thomas R. Baker, Esri Education Manager has been named the 2014 Ridgley Distinguished Geographer Lecturer and will deliver the so-named invited talk at Illinois State University (ISU) in Normal, Illinois. An award-winning educational researcher, Baker has worked since 1997 to improve science and geography education through the use of geospatial tools, especially geographic information systems (GIS) in pre-collegiate educational settings. His unique blend of expertise in science education, instructional technology, and GIS in the K–12 setting warranted the invitation. He is expected to speak on GIS across the K–12 curriculum with a special focus on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM); teacher preparation; and educational research.
The invitation, issued by the Illinois State University Department of Geography-Geology, explained the annual lecture, noting, "The Ridgley Distinguished Geographer Lecture [is one] in which we invite an accomplished geographer to campus to give a lecture on a topic related to geographic education or geography in general. Douglas Clay Ridgley, the namesake of the lecture, was a pioneer in geographic education at Illinois State in the early decades of the twentieth century." The lecture is expected to also attract students and faculty from the ISU School of Education, as Baker speaks to new efforts across Illinois to incorporate GIS in schools, using as leverage the new Esri K–12 statewide license.
Baker will be presenting the lecture at 4:00 p.m. on February 20 in Room 401 of Stevenson Hall on the campus of Illinois State University. The public is welcome to attend the lecture.