Digital resources to strengthen the quality and quantity of geography education in classrooms the world over
Curated by Seth Dixon
"Ever notice how the media treats black protesters & white rioters differently?"
"In this exclusive, unedited interview, 'I Am Malala' author Malala Yousafzai remembers the Taliban's rise to power in her Pakistani hometown and discusses her efforts to campaign for equal access to education for girls. Malala Yousafzai also offers suggestions for people looking to help out overseas and stresses the importance of education."
For younger audiences, hearing someone their own age discuss educational opportunities (or the lack thereof) based on gender can leave a profound impression. Today, Malala is a Nobel Peace Prize winner (deservedly so), as she's become an icon in her own right as she champions developmental opportunities for girls in cultures that historically have not had equal offerings for young women. Watch this documentary to see who she was before she was thrust into the international spotlight, and hear her father's perspective. Some, however, only see this as Western hypocrisy.
"Religious scholar Reza Aslan took some serious issue on CNN Monday night with Bill Maher‘s commentary about Islamic violence and oppression. Maher ended his show last Friday by going after liberals for being silent about the violence and oppression that goes on in Muslim nations. Aslan said on CNN that Maher’s arguments are just very unsophisticated. He said these 'facile arguments' might sound good, but not all Muslim nations are the same. Aslan explained that female mutilation is an African problem, not a Muslim one, and there are Muslim-majority nations where women are treated better and there are even female leaders."
There are far too many oversimplifications when people throw around the terms "Muslim-majority countries" and this video shows that a more nuanced understanding is needed. That being said, it would be naive to pretend as though Islam today were without some structural problems. As stated in the linked article, "In 2013, of the top 10 groups that perpetrated terrorist attacks, seven were Muslim. Of the top 10 countries where terrorist attacks took place, seven were Muslim-majority. Of the 24 most restrictive countries (according to Pew Research), 19 are Muslim-majority. Of the 21 countries that have laws against apostasy, all have Muslim majorities."
Question to Ponder: How does the media play a role in shaping the conversations we have in society about different cultures and places? How can 'painting with a broad brush' lead to stereotypes and inaccurate conclusions?
"In Venezuela, women are confronted with a culture of increasingly enhanced physiques fueled by beauty pageants and plastic surgery."
Unrealistic mannequins are nothing new...but this happens for some important cultural and economic reasons. Society produces mannequins and the mannequins are a part of the cultural landscape that has some normative ideals of beauty and gender. How does the media and society's images of the 'ideal body' influence and shape cultural values and aspirations? How has this changed over time and space?
This New York Times article shows some of the connections between cultural norms, mannequin production and plastic surgery in Venezuela, while this NPR podcast tackles similar cultural issues in Brazil. On the opposite side of the spectrum watch this video about the production of mannequins modeled on people with disabilities. The tag line for the project was "because who is perfect anyway?"
I've tried to resist sharing each individual geographic gaffe that the media makes over the years as evidence that we need to strengthen geography education. Unfortunately, though these media cartographic errors are all to common, geographic ignorance runs much deeper that. Creating a geo-literate society entails so much more than just knowing where places are on the map...although that is a good start.
"It’s rare that a video from a brand will spark any real emotion--but a new spot from Google India is so powerful, and so honest to the product, that it’s a testament not only to the deft touch of the ad team that put it together, but to the strength of Google’s current offering."--Forbes
True, this is a commercial--but what a great commercial to show that the history of of a geopolitical conflict has many casualties including friendships across lines. This isn't the only commercial in India that is raising eyebrows. This one from a jewelry company is proudly showing a divorced woman remarrying--something unthinkable for Indian TV one generation ago.
Questions to Ponder: How does the Indian media reflect the values and beliefs of Indian culture? How does the Indian media shape Indian culture?
"The world divided into 5 regions, each with the population of China."
This map from Amazing Maps (a great follow on Twitter) is a clever way to divide the world into 5 equal population regions. In many world regional courses, discussion of Asia might be 1/4 of the course content, while the "NATO and the Americas region" might be about half of the class. Also, think about "the World News" that you see on TV: how much coverage do each of these 5 regions receive? Why is our news coverage unevenly distributed?
This map would go together nicely with this one to show the demographic importance of South and East Asia.
|Suggested by Mike Busarello's Digital Storybooks|
Terror in the United States have evolved since 1970: once the tool of left-wing radicals, then right-wing radicals, terrorist attacks are now uncommon, often unsuccessful, and not nearly as deadly.
While terrorism is being discussed in the media as a rising trend in the United States after the Boston Marathon, the statistics don't show that analysis to be true. This resources compiles maps, charts and graphs so you can evaluate the historical terrorist patterns for yourself.
(3rd UPDATE) The new leader of the world's 1.2 billion Catholics is expected to deliver a speech in an hour
The juxtaposition of the hypermodern coverage of the election of a new pope (telecasts, social media, instantaneous global network coverage, etc.) with the archaic medieval rituals of the conclave (locked doors, smoke signals, etc.) is endlessly fascinating to me. Even in the 21st century, there is a place for the traditional. So who is Pope Francis? As the first South American pope, some feel this reflects the southern demographic shift within the Catholic Church. Also, click here for the science behind the white vs. black smoke.
As more of our students go searching for information online, we need to also teach our students how to assess the quality of a particular media outlet and develop a critical eye. This great song is a humorous way to approach that topic.
Questions to Ponder: What makes a source reliable? Can a source be reliable on some topics but not others?
Here's an article about how an over-reliance on GPS (or Sat-Nav) can lead to the erosion of one's mental map. And yes, the article is from the Daily Mail (as the images on the side clearly demonstrate). Does that change how you approach the information?
The Geographical Association has produced numerous resources specifically for the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games being held in London. The Olympics as an event work as an important teaching moment that operates on numerous scales. What local developmental projects reshaped the urban fabric of London in preparation for these Games? Do international events such as the Olympics foster a global community? Is this idea of a global community perfectly harmonious?
"TED Talks Alisa Miller, head of Public Radio International, talks about why -- though we want to know more about the world than ever -- the US media is actually showing less. Eye-opening stats and graphs."
The U.S. News is remarkably USA-centric. How does the media influence our perception of the world?
A case study for our World Development text book...
How useful was digital technology, particularly social networking sites, to democracy protesters in Tunisia and Egypt? How important are the democracy protests in the Middle East and North Africa to world development? Social media has fundamentally changed the cultural and political paradigms.
"Americans are notorious for their ignorance of global issues and international news. This may be because Americans aren’t interested or it may be that our news outlets feed us fluff and focus us only on the U.S."
Is the media only serving the consumers 'what they want?' Do the media have a responsibility to educate the populace and give us 'what we need?' Socially speaking, what about American culture is so focused on looking in the mirror and not looking out the window?
TED Talks Alisa Miller, head of Public Radio International, talks about why -- though we want to know more about the world than ever -- the US media is actually showing less. Eye-opening stats and graphs.
The U.S. News is remarkably USA-centric, so in the era of globalization and the fragmentation of information, most American TV viewers know less about the world than they did 40 years ago.