Digital resources to strengthen the quality and quantity of geography education in classrooms the world over
Curated by Seth Dixon
This map might appear to be completely trivial and it probably is. Still, there are interesting historical and colonial patterns that can be seen in this technological culture region map.
Questions to Ponder: Will there one day be a single format? When? What are barrier to that happening? What does this tell us about the extent of globalization?
Find out how the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag Native Americans celebrated the first Thanksgiving together at Plymouth Plantation.
Thanksgiving is right around the corner and this is a great resource with videos, primary documents, virtual field trips and lesson plans for all grades, K-12. Students can see aspects of lifestyles, housing types and economic activies of both the Pilgrims and the Wampanoags. For more resources about the Mayflower and the historically re-enacted village, see the Plimoth Plantation website.
Britain has invaded all but 22 countries in the world in its long and colourful history, new research has found.
This is a great map to show the historical impact of colonialism on the world map. The map is based on the work in the new book All the Countries We've Ever Invaded: And the Few We Never Got Round To.
Rising numbers of people of Indian origin born in the West are moving to the country their parents left decades ago in search of opportunity and a cultural connection, reports the BBC's Rajini Vaidyanathan.
Since 2005, the Indian government has been encouraging people of Indian descent and former Indian nationals to return to India. For many Indians living in the UK, there are more and better economic opportunities for them within India. Migrants have many reasons for moving (including cultural factors), but the primary pull factor is most certainly India's ascendant importance in the global economy and rising IT industries.
When African states gained independence, the continent's new leaders agreed to respect the old colonial borders to avoid endless wars.
This interactive map shows the major conflicts on the African continent where the combatants have geopolitical aspirations to separate from the state and create a new, autonomous state. Click on the red arrows and you can read about the warring factions and the current situation in that region.
Below street level in Mexico City, archaeologists have found a jumble of bones dating to the 1480s.
In the 1970s, construction workers unearthed numerous archaeological finds as the subway was being constructed. The Mexican government decided to clear the several block of old colonial buildings to reveal the Templo Mayor, the ancient Aztec religious center. Not coincidentally, the Spaniards built their religious center in the same place. During the colonial era, the indigenous residents who spoke Spanish in Mexico City still referred to this portion of the city as la pirámide. Today more finds such as this one are continuing to help us piece together the past of this immensely rich, multi-layered place filled with symbolic value.
TED Talks A clay cylinder covered in Akkadian cuneiform script, damaged and broken, the Cyrus Cylinder is a powerful symbol of religious tolerance and multi-culturalism.
At first glance this TED Talk appears to be more about ancient history, archaeology and biblical studies that anything modern. Yet as Neil MacGregor, the Director of the British Museum continues his discussion of the Cyrus Cylinder (A clay cylinder covered in Akkadian cuneiform script), it becomes clear that this historical artifact is vital in understanding how modern states conceive of their heritage, cultural legacy and role within the Middle East today (such as Israel, Iraq, Iran and even the U.K.). As such the Cyrus Cylinder is a powerful symbol of religious tolerance and multi-culturalism and plays a role in shaping Middle Eastern cultural and political institutions.
Browse the timeline of war and conflict across the globe.
This database of global wars and conflicts is searchable through space and time. You can drag and click both the map and timeline to locate particular battles and wars, and then read more information about that conflict. This resource would be a great one to show students and let them explore to find what they see as interesting. This site is brimming with potential.
"The AFRITERRA Foundation is a non-profit Cartographic Library and Archive assembling and preserving the original rare maps of Africa in a definitive place for education and interpretation. This unique cartographic galleries links art, technology, and history." The Afriterra Foundation connects people to the land, history, heritage and legacy of Africa.
|Suggested by Thomas Schmeling|
The story behind the the International Date Line.
Not too long ago (Jan. 2012), the arbitrary International Date Line (roughly opposite the Prime Meridian) was moved to better accommodate the regional networks and economic geography of the area straddling the line. American Samoa, although politically aligned with the United States, was functionally more integrated on the Asian side of the Pacific Rim when it came to their trade partners and their tourism base. Dynamic economic networks, political allegiances and cultural commonalities create a beautifully complex situation near this 'border.'
Discover the number of countries participating in the 2012 Summer Olympic Games in London. Find out which countries are not participating in the Olympic Games and learn which non-countries are participating as well.
204 countries are participating in the Olympics? There aren't even 204 countries in the world! This article looks at the political geography of international recognition. One interesting case not discussed in the article is that of Taiwan. Taiwan is participating, but marched under a non-Taiwanese flag under the name Chinese Taipei because the IOC wanted the mainland Chinese to return to the games. Also, South Sudan, Kosovo and the Vatican are not participating (although pondering them competing, especially the Vatican, is something that deeply amuses me). Another intriguing thought: how many of the participants were former British colonies? There are more classroom resources based on the Olympics from the GA.
The weird, violent history of the Indo-Pakistani border.
Geography rarely makes sense without the added lens of history. This fantastic article chonicles the history of the geopolitical conflict between India and Pakistan, centering on the disputed Kashmir region. This border is tied into colonial, cultural, political and religious layers of identity. As one of the great unresolved issues of the colonial era, this standoff may loom large as India becomes increasingly significant on the global scale.
|Suggested by Jandira Feijó|
This is a tremendous resources for understanding the historical geography of the Ancient Roman Empire and the transportation network. Using ORBIS you can simulate travel logistics in the pre-modern era. The differences between the fastest, cheapest and shortest routes between any two given locations can be very telling about the geographic factors impacting transportation.
Like a detective at a crime scene, chief language inspector Antons Kursitis scans the lobby of a hotel in downtown Riga. He spots a brochure that lists hotel services in Russian only, a flagrant violation of Latvia's language laws.
"Protecting the Latvian language — that is, safeguarding its supremacy over Russian — has been a priority here since the Soviet occupation ended two decades ago. Those efforts face their biggest test yet on Saturday, in a referendum on whether to make Russian the country's second official language." What historical, political and demographic factors shape this cultural issue of language? Why is language often seen as so crucial to cultural identity?
The Latvian voters have spoken: in a massive voter turn-out, they struck down the referendum that sought to make Russian an official language. "Latvia is the only place throughout the world where Latvian is spoken, so we have to protect it," said Martins Dzerve, 37, in Riga, Latvia's capital. "But Russian is everywhere." For more on the vote, see: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-17083397
This chilling documentary outlines the historical genocide of Tutsi people predominantly by Hutu's in Rwanda during 1994. So often, students who have always lived within a society with effective political institutions are unable to see how such atrocities could even happen. This video lays the groundwork for understanding the disintegration of political institution within Rwanda, reasons the international community underestimated the threat, why the UN in 1994 (after Somalia) was not prepared to use forceful action and why westerners fled. In this state of lawlessness, the cultural tensions and colonial legacy lead to horrific killings. This genocide has no one reason, but a complex set of geographic contexts. This would be a powerful video to show students. WARNING: considering the content, there are necessarily depictions of death. To learn more about the documentary, see: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/ghosts/
|Suggested by Matt Beiriger|
How Facebook connections mirror old empires EIGHT years ago Facebook launched as an online social network connecting a small college community from a dorm room at Harvard University.
These graphics show how in a post-colonial world, former colonies are still socially intertwined in a cultural network that mirrors the empires of yesteryear. Why are these modern social networks so similar to imperial patterns? What economic explanations are there for these patterns? What is the cultural impact?
"BELIZE has long been a country of immigrants. British timber-cutters imported African slaves in the 18th century, and in the 1840s Mexican Mayans fled a civil war."
Belize has a much higher Human Development Index ranking that its Central American neighbors such as Guatemala. That fact alone makes Belize a likely destination for migrants. Given that Belize was 'British Honduras' during colonial times, English is (still) the official language, but that is changing as increasingly Spanish-speaking immigrants are changing the cultural profile of Belize.
Among King Leopold II's legacies in central Africa is the Congo Pedicle, an odd stick of land that nearly divides Zambia in half.
This is a nice case study for political geography of Sub-Saharan Africa. This exemplifies the concept of 'superimposed borders' and shows the land-hungry colonial spirit that led King Leopold to call the continent a 'magnificent African cake.'
Watch The First Grader trailer and make a difference! For every trailer viewing on YouTube, Capella University will donate $.50* to the following organizatio...
The geography of education can provide some heartbreaking as well as heartwarming stories. This trailer shows the distinction between traditional and popular cultures while highlighting conflicts based on ethnicity and nationalism, all within the post-colonial context in Kenya.
In Panama City, a plan to build a marine viaduct around a colonial-era neighborhood has residents up in arms...
Urban preservation, the historical geography of communities and the cultural character of the urban environment are themes that are deeply embedded in this quick yet potent article by geographer, Thomas Sigler.
"The name of the country Pakistan has a fascinating history - it is essentially an acronym! Prior to 1947, the country now known as Pakistan was a British colony. In 1947 the United Kingdom granted independence to the region under a new name, Pakistan. The name had been developed by a group of students at Cambridge University who issued a pamphlet in 1933 called Now or Never."
In a country with such great ethnic divisions, a common religion is a powerful nationalizing force. As the capital city of Islamabad's toponym powerfully states (the house or abode of Islam), religion remains an important element of national identity for Pakistanis.