This would be the perfect place to study. Next time I'm at L'Istituto delle Scienze, Palazzo Poggi, Bologna, I will definitely find this spot.
Global news with a spatial perspective: Interesting, current supplemental materials for geography teachers and students.
Curated by Seth Dixon
Finding Materials: This site is designed for geography students and teachers to find interesting, current supplemental materials. To search for place-specific posts, browse this interactive map. To search for thematic posts, see http://geographyeducation.org/thematic/ (organized by the APHG curriculum). Also you can search for a keyword by clicking on the filter tab above.
Staying Connected: You can receive post updates in the way that best fits how you use social media.
Email: Click 'follow' button at top right of this page.
I hope that you enjoy the content and materials that you find on this website. This represents the best news, materials and resources that I have found that can be used in geography (and other) classrooms. Use the 'funnel' as a way to filter and search for resources of specific topics or places.
|Suggested by Thomas Schmeling|
"Amsterdam City Dashboard presents the city of Amsterdam through the lens of data, including demographic statistics, traffic reports, noise readings or political messages.
The small collection of information graphics are divided in distinct domains, such as transport, environment, statistics, economy, social, cultural and security. All data is shown in near real-time, based on blocks of 24 hours. Larger dots and darker colors symbolize higher values, whereas an interactive map provides a geographic reference."
Pharmaceutical companies would need to compensate indigenous people for using their knowhow in creating new medicines
I'd never hear the term biopiracy before this month, but this idea is this: companies from wealthy countries commercially develop the genetic resources of developing countries with local assistance but don't fairly compensate the local population. I never had the vocabulary to describe such a thing, but that is biopiracy in a nutshell and the EU is working to end that. It doesn't only impact the pharmaceutical companies but heavily impact the agricultural industries as well. Anyone in the developed world eating quinoa and kale 20 years ago? Being marketed as 'superfoods' has changed the global production systems but also impacted local indigenous food supplies (some are referring to this as food gentrification).
"Lets start off the new school year in style! This is a re-imagining of an older resource designed to introduce the subject to new students in a highly visual manner. Feel free to use & share it."
Maps and charts updated weekly show the latest extent of the drought in the United States.
I've shared numerous links here about the drought situation in California over the past few months, but the situation extends far beyond California as these animated maps and charts demonstrate. Some of the best public data on drought can be found at the National Drought Mitigation Center.
"Temperatures across the Northeast have been unusually cool, and they have been unusually hot across the northwest. A strange jet stream is behind the flip-flop between summer conditions in the two northern corners of the country. The polar jet stream is the prevailing band of wind that blows west to east across the upper half of the U.S. in summer. (There is a subtropical jet, also, that typically crosses northern Mexico). We often see the jet stream depicted on TV weather reports—that big, wavy line across the U.S. and Canada that bends south then north then south again. Low-pressure weather systems, sometimes called cold fronts, ride along the jet stream, bringing us much of our daily weather. But this summer the polar jet steam seems to be somewhat flattened out, and it’s been in that position more than usual."
"Nothing unites different nations quite like mutual enemies. But the 'Auld Alliance' between Scotland and France - both historic rivals of England - doesn't mean that the French government favours Scottish independence. Far from it."
Historically, France has supported greater autonomy or independence as a way to limit English political power and influence. However in the era of the E.U. and greater regional integration, modern geopolitics makes this old alliance untenable as some in Scotland are seeking independence from the United Kingdom.
Canada has dispatched two icebreakers to map the Arctic seabed beneath the North Pole to support a bid to extend the country's maritime territory deeper into the waterways at the top of the world.
Canada, Russia and Denmark (Greenland) are all seeking to expand their maritime claims in the Arctic. Globally speaking, the retreat of Arctic sea ice can be seen as a unmitigated disaster, but disasters for the many can open up new economic opportunities for the few. When trapped under ice, extracting resources is cost prohibitive, but the melting sea ice will make the Arctic's resources all the more valuable (including the expanded shipping lanes). This fits in with the APHG new course outline which includes political ecology (the study of the political and economic principles controlling the relations of human beings to one another and to the environment).
Questions and answers on the scale of the outbreak and the science of the Ebola virus.
This Ebola outbreak began in Guinea, near the border with Sierra Leone and Liberia, where a network of roads makes the movement of people, goods ideas possible. Unfortunately though, those same roads make spread of diseases easier. In the past African Ebola cases in isolated villages could be contained but increased transportation has accelerated the diffusion process. If this spreads to Lagos, watch out.
Charts showing how Americans have moved between states for 112 years.
This incredible series of interactive charts from the New York Times show where the residents of every U.S. state were born and how that data has changed over time (update: now available as an interactive map). This graph of Florida shows that around 1900, most people living in Florida were from the South. Around the middle of the 20th century more people from other parts of the U.S. and from outside the U.S. started moving in. What changes in U.S. society led to these demographic shifts? How has demographics of your state changes over the last 114 years?
On the flip side, many people have been leaving California and this article charts the demographic impact of Californians on other states.
"A great Florida teacher produced this video. Visit his course website for additional incredible resources."
This just one of my favorite "start of the year" videos. I've compiled them here so they can be used to at the beginning of the school year to show the importance of geography, spatial thinking and geo-literacy. They show why taking geography courses is so important, useful and interesting. Do you know of a great video that I should put on the list? Send me a tweet.
"Islamic State's capture of the Mosul dam gives it control over the water and electricity supply in northern Iraq."
There is a geography to insurgency. This dam controls both the energy and water resources in the region, which gives the insurgents/rebels/terrorists greater local power. On a related noted, this op-ed entitled, "How America Lost the Middle East" has plenty of foreign policy and geopolitical material worth discussing.
|Suggested by Mike Busarello's Digital Textbooks|
"This cool new historic mapping app from the folks at esri and the U.S. Geological Survey is worth exploring. What it does is take 100 years of USGS maps and lets you overlay them for just about any location in the nation. That allows users to see how a city – say Harrisburg – developed between 1895 and today. The library behind the project includes more than 178,000 maps dating from 1884 to 2006."
For more ESRI maps that let you explore urban environmental change, the 'spyglass' feature gives these gorgeous vintage maps a modern facelift (but not available for as many places). The cities that are in this set of interactive maps are:
Elizabeth Borneman explores how cartography and cartographic projections help and hinder our perception of the world.
"How do you think the world (starting with our perceptions) could change if the map looked differently? What if Australia was on top and the hemispheres switched? By changing how we look at a map we truly can begin to explore and change our assumptions about the world we live in."
Geography doesn’t just teach us about the Earth; it provides ways for thinking about the Earth that shapes how we see the world. Maps do the same; they represent a version of reality and that influences how we think about places.
Using aerial photographs that render imperiled landscapes almost abstract, Edward Burtynsky explores the consequences of human activity bearing down on the earth’s resources.
"This animation distils hundreds of years of culture into just five minutes. A team of historians and scientists wanted to map cultural mobility, so they tracked the births and deaths of notable individuals like David, King of Israel, and Leonardo da Vinci, from 600 BC to the present day. Using them as a proxy for skills and ideas, their map reveals intellectual hotspots and tracks how empires rise and crumble. The information comes from Freebase, a Google-owned database of well-known people and places, and other catalogues of notable individuals. The team is based at the University of Texas at Dallas."
This video has garnered a lot of academic and mainstream attention--while I wouldn't describe in as the Entire History of Human Culture in 5 minutes as the Huffington Post did, it is a stellar visualization that uses big data and was created with some solid academic research. Hierarchical diffusion patterns are powerfully depicted in this video created by Nature as are other geographic concepts such as urban settlement patterns (e.g.-primate cities and rank-size rule in Europe).
In 1990, the manufacturing industry was the leading employer in most U.S. states, followed by retail trade. In 2003, retail trade was the leading employer in a majority of states. By 2013, health care and social assistance was the dominant industry in 34 states. This animated map shows the top industry in each state and the District of Columbia from 1990 to 2013.
Many of Africa’s leaders will be in town next week attending a White House summit. The continent’s land is shared among 49 countries — many of which rarely make U.S. headlines. How familiar are you with Africa’s geography?
This online quiz tests your ability to locate African countries on the map--a basic skill that isn't 'doing geography' (an age-old lament among geography educators). Still, it is hard to have an intelligent discussion about the continent if you can't name or locate any places other than Egypt and South Africa. For some of my favorite online map quiz resources, click here.
"To be honest I do not know what they make of my beans," says farmer N'Da Alphonse. "I've heard they're used as flavoring in cooking, but I've never seen it. I do not even know if it's true." Watch how the Dutch respond to a cocoa bean in return or you can watch our entire episode on chocolate here.
What is the geography of chocolate like? This video was produced in the Netherlands, the global center of the cocoa trade, but the world's leading producer of cocoa is Côte d'Ivoire. There is a dark side to chocolate production; the dirty secret is that slavery is commonplace on cocoa plantations in West Africa. Although the worst of the situation is glossed over in this video, it still hints at the vast economic inequalities that are part and parcel of the global chocolate trade and the plantation roots of the production. What are some of your reactions to this video?
These maps are crucial for understanding the region's history, its present, and some of the most important stories there today.
Titles like the one for this article, 40 maps that explain the Middle East, are becoming increasingly common for internet articles. They helps us feel that we can explain all of the world's complexities and make sense of highly dynamic situations. While we can all agree that maps are great analytical tools that can be very persuasive, sometimes we can pretend that they are the end all, be all for any situation. Maps can also be used to show how something that we thought was simple can be much complex and nuanced than we had previously imagined, as demonstrated by this article, 15 Maps that Don't Explain the Middle East at All. Both perspectives have their place (and both articles are quite insightful). Not connected to the Middle East, but East Asia, this article entitled Lies, Damned Lies and Maps continues the discussion of maps, truth and perception.
"From the time we’re about 6 years old, everyone loves a good poop joke, right? But is there something more meaningful lurking beneath the bathroom banter? Take a look at some international potty humor and then follow the jokes to a deeper understanding. Every laugh on this page reflects a life and death issue: the very real sanitation problems facing India today."
What is the most impactful way to assist underdeveloped societies? Many will argue for food, clothing or education, but these comedians from India feel that access to sanitation will have more tangible impacts in the lives of the poorest Indians. 54% of people in India do not have regular access to toilets and these comedians are using their platform to not only get some laughs, but to advocate for social change.
Have you even wanted to explore an interactive map of the United States and be able to click on any neighborhood to see the local population age structure and compare that to the national, state or county data? If not, you don't know what you've been missing. This is a fantastic resource that lets you and your students explore the data AND ask spatial questions. It's definitely one that I'll add to my list of favorite resources.
Geography explores more than just what countries control a certain territory and what landforms are there. Geography explores the spatial manifestations of power and how place is crafted to fit a particular vision. Homeless people are essentially always 'out of place.' This article from the Atlantic and this one from the Guardian share similar things: that urban planners actively design places that will discourage loitering which is undesirable to local businesses. This gallery shows various defensive architectural tactics to make certain people feel 'out of place.' Just to show that not all urban designs are anti-homeless, this bench is one that is designed to help the homeless.
"A herd of hippopotamuses once owned by the late Colombian drug baron Pablo Escobar has been taking over the countryside near his former ranch - and no-one quite knows what to do with them."
An important idea in biogeography is the concept of invasive species. An invasive species is an organism that is not indigenous to an area but causes great economic or environmental harm to the new area as it quickly adapts and alters the ecosystem. Colombia's hippopotamus herd certainly qualifies as an interesting example to share with students of unintended ecological consequences that occur through human and environmental interactions. For further explorations into invasive species, see this National Geographic lesson plan.