Geography Education
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Geography Education
Geography Education
Global news with a spatial perspective: Interesting, current supplemental materials for geography students and teachers.
Curated by Seth Dixon
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Latino boom makes Orlando proving ground for Obama

Latino boom makes Orlando proving ground for Obama | Geography Education |
President Obama and Mitt Romney are set to make appearances beginning Thursday at a major gathering of Latino officials and activists...


A core component of the 2012 U.S. presidential elections will be the demographic profile of both the Republican and Democratic Parties’ power base. For most of American history, the African-American population was the largest minority second to the Caucasian minority. Since the 2000 census, the Latino population has overtaken the African-American population as the largest minority in the U.S.  How does this impact both parties?  What are the strategies of both parties to appeal from a diverse set of voters?   How does the immigration issue shape 'identity politics?'

Don Brown Jr's comment, September 12, 2012 12:40 PM
Unlike African Americans there is much more differentiation within the Latino population which contains within itself many nationalities with competing priorities. Due to this wide variation of interest it will likely be much harder for either the Democrats or Republicans to gain the support of the entire group. Therefor this question may revolve around what kind of people or concerns will both parties use to gain the support of the majority ofdifferent interest groups within Americas Latino population for the 2012 election.
GIS student's comment, September 13, 2012 6:25 AM
The problem ahead for the republicans is that many of their views and opinions go against the ideas of many Latinos. According to the article Romney has many struggles with Latino community because his views are the opposite of what the majority of the Latino voters consider. On the opposite side Obama has a difficult road ahead as well. Does he focus his campaign more on the large minority or does he concentrate on the majority which could cause a shift in the minority. Regardless Florida has been a primary example of identity politics ever since the election 2008 where some areas were no longer considered battleground areas.
Nicholas Rose's comment, September 13, 2012 7:05 AM
Well, I would like to say is that the Hispanic minority is the majority of the Florida population including major cities like Orlando which is mentioned in the article and Miami. Historically, Florida was a Spanish colony which was led by Juan Ponce De Leon. Even though that Florida is usually a Republican state when it comes to voting but I think that it'll be more of a major impact for the Democratic party than the republican party because of the immigration issues that President Obama was paying attention to throughout his presidency so far.
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The Endangered Languages Project

The Endangered Languages Project is a website for people to find and share the most up-to-date and comprehensive information about the over 3,000 endangered ...


This short video is a great primer for understanding the importance of linguistic diversity.  Why the loss of linguistic diversity (a global phenomenon) related to other themes  on geography, such as political and economic autonomy for minority groups?  Why are so many languages vanishing today?  What forces are creating these emerging cultural patterns?  For more on the project, see:

Matt Nardone's comment, September 2, 2012 12:52 PM
I learned a lot from this video/article. I can not believe out of 7000 languages today only about half will survive by the new century. I never thought of language loss as a result of injustice and oppression of a culture. I think that it is very interesting that to save a language means to restore a cultures ideals, ideology, and norms. I think that it is pretty cool Google is trying to help perserve some of the languages that may be fading. It is neat to think that one of the largest social media/communication companies has a great interest not in a universal language BUT a great interest in maintaining differences and uniquenesses about languages.
Adrian Francisco's comment, September 3, 2012 8:04 AM
I like this project and how it preserves languages that are about to die. It's not good when a language dies because there might be some information written in the language and in the future when we look at books we would not know what it is saying.
Kenny Dominguez's curator insight, November 29, 2013 8:59 AM

This is a great website in which everyone should look at because it shows how everyone can come together and help preserve all these languages we all hear today. Day by day languages are becoming extinct because they are speaking English one of the most spoken languages in the world and everyone speaks it or speaks little of it that people can understand. More languages are becoming extinct day by day.

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How to air-condition outdoor spaces During the hot summer months, watching an outdoor sports match or concert can be tantamount to baking uncomfortably in the sun -- but it d...


The physical environment will be altered as the World Cup comes to Qatar in an attempt to raise their global economic profile and to present themselves as more culturally comsopolitan.  Except there is that desert conundrum of having soccer matches in the middle of the desert in the dead of summer.  This shows the technological efforts to redefine confortable weather conditions.   This is a good Ted talk that combines cultural, economic and physical geographic factors in the Middle East. 

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Palestinian Village Tries to Protect Landmark

Palestinian Village Tries to Protect Landmark | Geography Education |
Conservation experts say ancient terraces and a Roman-era irrigation system in Battir, the West Bank, are threatened by Israel’s plans to build a section of its security barrier.


A site that many consider a cultural landscape worth international efforts to preserve it, are might be threatened by proposals to expand Israel's Barrier Wall.  Culture, politics, landscapes, borders...this topic is full of geographic themes worth having students investigate.  

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Saudi women allowed into Olympics

Saudi women allowed into Olympics | Geography Education |

"Saudi Arabia is to allow its women athletes to compete in the Olympics for the first time ever, a statement by the country's London embassy says."  In what is viewed as sensitive 'baby steps' towards inclusion for women in activities most in the West take for granted, females will be competing for the Saudi Olympic team in London, something that has been forbidden until very recently.  Allowing their participation also alleviates pressure from the entire team being disqualified due to gender discrimination.  (Apparently they can ride horses - will driving automobiles be far behind?) 

Rj Ocampo's comment, August 26, 2012 3:14 PM
I believe its amazing to see women from Saudi Arabia to compete in the Olympics. It gives them a chance to take a huge role in their society and may increase their chances of getting more rights in the future.
Audrey Williamson's comment, August 27, 2012 4:51 PM
i think it is great that Saudi Arabia is now letting women compete in the Olympics, it is a small step, but hopefully in the future it will be a gateway to much more freedom for the women.
Haley Wayland's comment, September 2, 2012 9:35 PM
I think it is amazing that Saudi Arabia allowed women to compete in the Olympics. It may just be a small step, but it may open a huge range of opportunities for the Saudi Arabia women. Hopefully, as time progresses, they will be able to have as much freedom as women here, in the United States, do.
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In Iran, They Want Fun, Fun, Fun

In Iran, They Want Fun, Fun, Fun | Geography Education |
Young Iranians are tuning out. Of those encountered on a visit, many seemed less interested in religious fanaticism than in sex, drugs and rock ’n’ roll.


Often we fall into the trap of assuming that the political rhetoric of the governmental regime is is culturally representative of the people of that country (such as this picture above.  Listen to this podcast on the  Iranian nuclear program for an example of the religous/political rhetoric: ).  And yet, people are still people, and kids are just kids, even in a conservative theocratic government.

"One of the most pernicious misunderstandings in the West about Iranians is that they are dour religious fanatics...In the 1970s, disgruntled young Iranians rebelled against a corrupt secular regime by embracing an ascetic form of Islam. Now they’re rebelling against a corrupt religious regime by embracing personal freedom — in some cases, even sex, drugs and rock ’n’ roll." 

Cam E's curator insight, March 4, 8:26 AM

The rebellious nature of young adults seems to be a unifying human factor regardless of the country or regime. They may not rebel in the same ways we'd expect, but they rebel regardless. The thing I especially find interesting across all countries is the upcoming of this new generation. The older people of all nations spend a lot of time holding onto their power and beliefs, but time will only tell how drastically the world will change once they naturally die out and this new generation, raised by video games and the unifying power of the internet, takes over.

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The Geographic Impacts of Fathers

The Geographic Impacts of Fathers | Geography Education |

"The social-science evidence is in: though it may benefit the adults involved, the dissolution of intact two-parent families is harmful to large numbers of children."


On this Father's Day, I'm thinking about the sociological importance of fathers and my gratitude for my father (an educator who instilled in me the desire to teach).  Although this article is quite dated and was politically charged with a controversial title at the time, "Dan Quayle was Right," many of the main points still hold today.  The article points to solid social science evidence as to the importance of fathers within society.  Conversely, fatherlessness also has major (negative) impacts society as well.  

Don Brown Jr's comment, July 13, 2012 6:51 PM
Culture and location may play a greater role in this issue than the article suggest as urbanized societies tend to high a higher divorce rate than rural ones. Education, living standard and opportunity are not distributed equally in this country (or anywhere else) and to make the argument that increased broken families and the loaded “lack of values” theory is the main cause behind raising social problems can be a bit misleading, as it excludes environmental factors. However, I do agree that fathers can have a positive impact on their childs development.
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Scientists Tackle The Geography Of Nature Vs. Nurture In Maps Of U.K.

Scientists Tackle The Geography Of Nature Vs. Nurture In Maps Of U.K. | Geography Education |
Genes and the environment both shape health and development. But their effects are not always equal. Researchers in the U.K. say they've mapped hotspots where nature has a stronger influence, and others where nurture dominates.


All people are a combination of their genes as well as the environment (a mix of 'nature' and 'nurture').  A recent study of over 5,000 twins throughout the UK saw regional concentrations where it appears that environmental factors had a greater than normal influence (centered around London).  I'm still scratching my head wondering what to make of this data, but this is a compelling project.     

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Ethnicity and Religion: A Case Study

Ethnicity and Religion: A Case Study | Geography Education |
In a nation of 230 million people, 700 languages and some 300 ethnicities, ethnic Chinese are one of Indonesia’s historic minorities.


Religion and ethnicity are often connected, but not always.  This case study of such a group, the Chinese Muslims of Indonesia, provide an interesting glimpse into the economic, historic and political patterns of these cultural groups that are parts of communal identities.  

WalkerKyleForrest's curator insight, April 8, 6:42 AM

This article explains the connection between someones ethnicity and someones religion. This connection may not always be as closely linked as youd think. FORREST

Lona Pradeep Parad's curator insight, May 29, 8:40 AM

Pie charts to display ethnicity, religion, and population across the world,

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Religion and Demographics Hans Rosling had a question: Do some religions have a higher birth rate than others -- and how does this affect global population growth? ...

Seth Dixon's insight:

What are the connections between religion and demographics?  How does this impact population structure in a particular country?  I found this video from Jeff Martin's fabulous APHG website; Check it out!

Roland Trudeau Jr.'s comment, July 9, 2012 9:26 AM
An intelligent man, to say the least. i particularly enjoyed the demonstration at the end of birth rates. I found it somewhat surprising that birth rates are not effected much by religion. I felt that typically the religions, such as those that require the couple to be married, would suffer, it being harder to have a child later on. I suppose this would be no difference if they were married early on however.
Juliette Norwood's curator insight, January 13, 6:21 AM

This can be viewed in the perspective of a citizen of an LDC. In LDCs, there are religions that cause the woman to be subservient to men. A higher birth rate could be the cause. If these  small religions were to distribute and be adhered to, there could possibly be a spike in the birth rate.

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The Geography of Gay Marriage

The Geography of Gay Marriage | Geography Education |

With President Obama announcing that he now supports the legalization of gay marriage and Gov. Romney reiterated the GOP stance that marriage should be between a man and a woman, this sets the stage for a 'culture war' to be at the center of the 2012 election.  While communities, churches and families may be split on this topic, there are some strong regional patterns that (given the electoral college) will have important political ramifications.  As Jennifer Mapes stated about this interactive map, "it's useful in showing the geographic polarization of the country (coasts/center; urban/rural) as states strengthen laws that either allow for or restrict gay marriage/civil unions over the past ten years." 

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Belief in God dips, but not everywhere

Belief in God dips, but not everywhere | Geography Education |
Belief in God is on the wane, except that as we age, we tend to believe more. Or perhaps not.


The geography of religion, religiosity and atheism are all analyzed in this fasinating news article.

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Life in Chechnya

Life in Chechnya | Geography Education |
Photojournalist Diana Markosian spent the last year and half covering Russia's volatile North Caucasus region.


These 33 photos are arranged to tell the cultural story of life in Chechnya, especially the life of young women coming of age in the aftermath of the war.  As the architecture of this mosque suggests, the influence of traditional Islamic values and Russian political authority have greatly shaped the lives of the Chechen people.

Derek Ethier's comment, October 17, 2012 10:28 PM
The way women in Chechnya live is in line with how many Muslim women around the world live. They must cover their bodies and follow proper gender codes. Unfortunately, these girls still have very little power as is the case in many Muslim countries. Overall, it is amazing how many different cultures and ethnicities held inside of Russia.
Marissa Roy's curator insight, November 18, 2013 9:07 AM

I find learning about the young women during the rapid redefiniition of their culture into a Muslim state is of great interest. It is also of interest that the society is meshing traditional Islam  with the Russian way of governing to create a reemerged society.

Lauren Stahowiak's curator insight, February 18, 12:24 PM

These pictures show many examples to how life in Chechnya for women is very different for women in the United States. We can see that these woman take part in similar day to day activities, but in very different ways. This is why their lives overall are much different than ours.

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Technology and Biological Changes

Technology and Biological Changes | Geography Education |
A pilot study discovered that levels of BPA in pregnant Mennonite women were four times lower than the national median.


This is an interesting article that shows that the technological advancements and the way we choose to live has tangible, measureable effects on our biochemistry. 

Roland's comment, July 2, 2012 8:04 AM
Everyone is already aware that organic food is better for you. There is an article I read some time ago, on a man whos name unfortunatley escapes me at the moment. In his late 50's and in fantastic shape, he only eats organic, yet goes many steps further; He eliminated all plastics from his life opting to only drink filtered water from glass containers. His entire home has a water filtration system built into it to remove exposure to toxins that you bathe in, and refuses to wear anything but natural clothing. He claims that his body is all the proof you need to know that his methods work. I'm sure any step to removing toxins in your life is one forward.
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Gendered Survival Guides for Kids

Gendered Survival Guides for Kids | Geography Education |

Many items are marketed specifically for boys or girls.  Boys are given rugged survival skills of strength, while the girl's guide suggests tips to promote better social interactions.  How is this a result of cultural patterns and processes?  How does this form of gendered marketing produce cultural patterns?   How does this create a normative society with prescribed gender roles?

Jesse Gauthier's comment, September 11, 2012 6:40 PM
This looks like an ad for kids’ adventure books from the mid 1900's conservative era. We each have our own genetic roles as males and females, but this is saying to society that girls can't do activities with the boys and vice versa.
Nicholas Rose's comment, September 13, 2012 7:09 AM
I have to agree because of the fact that males and females are different when it comes to likes and dislikes.
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Cultural Norms: Swimming after breast removal

Cultural Norms: Swimming after breast removal | Geography Education |
Rick Reilly tells the story of a woman's efforts to swim topless after a double mastectomy.


We have deeply ingrained social norms about what is and is not acceptable within public spaces.  Certain cases come along that show that these norms often treat the world as though it is black and white without varying shades of gray.  In this case, a woman who has had both of her breasts completely removed after breast cancer, discovered that conventional swimsuits physically pained her and she wanted to swim topless in a public pool.  Controversy predictably ensued.  What do you think?  Big deal?  Non-issue?  Acceptable in public or not?  Why? 

JKingston's curator insight, October 6, 2013 2:49 PM

Big idea - physical

Most relevant essential concepts - gender, technology


Relevant Year 12  Topics

Continuity & Change

Belief systems

Equality & Difference

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The Geography of Sports Training

The Geography of Sports Training | Geography Education |
Botswana sprinter Amantle Montsho trains in Senegal, thousands of miles from home, in hopes of capturing her country’s first Olympic medal.


While some countries routinely get dozens of medals at each Olympiad, other countries (like Botswana) have never received a medal.  World-class training facilities are not available everywhere, and youth participation is some sports in non-existant.  What are some other factors that contribute to this uneven global patterns of world-class athletics?

Zach Davis's comment, August 12, 2012 10:23 AM
The people of these countries have no money to be able to get the train they need and also the country there from cant afford state of the art equipment for these athletes to train
Jordan Simon's comment, August 17, 2012 9:25 AM
I think it is great for Montsho to be able to leave her home and train for an olympic medal in a place very far from home. It turned out that she became the world champion with the help former training in Senegal. Without the training in Senegal she would not have been able to compete and later win.
Shane Hohman's comment, September 3, 2012 8:13 PM
It is a great accomplishment of Montsho to leave her country and win the gold in London. It is sad that some countries do not have the money to provide training for their athletes, but when she left and trained in Senegal that is what helped her and she needed that the most to win the gold metal because she would not have received the same training in Botswana.
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Tribal GIS Details Native American Use of Geospatial Technology

Tribal GIS Details Native American Use of Geospatial Technology | Geography Education |
Esri Press book provides insight for GIS implementation from indigenous sovereign nations.


"The book offers insight into how tribal governments and supporting organizations are employing GIS, from day-to-day operations to special projects for tribal leadership. Tribal GIS also highlights how GIS is being used to embrace a new movement in tribal governance toward improving citizen services, decision support for community leadership, sustained economic development, and the protection of tribal assets."

Kim Vignale's comment, July 10, 2012 6:53 PM
GIS is a great program that integrates physical and social geography. Native Americans are becoming technologically advanced by using this modern program. This program is very helpful in mapping out land that is owned by the tribe and the sustainability of resources. For example, land that is strictly used for agriculture can be mapped out and boundaries can be created with land that is being used commercially. GIS is a great program that can help many officials create plans locally, regionally, and internationally.
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Rangel Downplays The Roots That Might Help His Re-Election

Rangel Downplays The Roots That Might Help His Re-Election | Geography Education |
An interesting case of identity politics is playing out in New York's new 13th Congressional District. A Dominican-American state senator is threatening longtime Rep. Charles Rangel in the district, which is now majority Hispanic.


Identity, whether it be be race, religious, color or creed absolutely matters in politics.  Especially local politics where the demographics of a city or district play a major role in the viablity of a candidate.  If the constituency perceives the candidate's cultural identity as either representing or not representing 'the people,' that can play a key role in the election. 

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The Politics of Culture

An NPR team begins a series of reports from North Africa, where last year's revolutions have Tunisia, Libya and Egypt writing new rules for their changing societies.


The Arab Spring has reworked the political landscape in Tunisia; this podcast looks at the cultural changes that have also taken place because of the political shifts.  How are culture and politics interconnected?   

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The Best Countries to Be a Woman -- and the Worst

The Best Countries to Be a Woman -- and the Worst | Geography Education |
Hint: India is last among the G20 and the United States didn't crack the top five in the latest survey to reflect poorly on the situation of American women.


A poll of 370 gender experts yielded some interesting results that reflect the local cultural, economic, political and developmental geographies.  Beyond using the lists of best and worst countries (since the rankings are still based on rather subjective criteria), students can come up with their most important factors in evaluating gender equity and evaluate the countries based on their own evaluations. 

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Obesity: A Big Fat Problem For America’s Future

Obesity: A Big Fat Problem For America’s Future | Geography Education |

Like so many phenomena, there is a spatial nature to obesity (higher in the United States than global averages and higher in the deep South than national averages).  This infographic compiles statistics that are 'food for thought.' 

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Persian or Iranian? Is there a Difference?

Persian or Iranian?  Is there a Difference? | Geography Education |
Over the next few months, Ajam Media Collective will host a series that focuses on and describes various elements of the cultural, ethnic and linguistic mosaic that we refer to collectively as Iran...


What is in a name?  We know that there are subtle differences between Hispanic, Indigenous, Latino and Mexican that are bound with the history of these words and how they have been used by both insiders and outsiders to construct identity.  Likewise, the distinctions between the terms Persian and Iranian are often used interchangeably.  However there are political, ethnic, linguistic and religious connotations that shape the meanings behind these terms.  While I don't necessarily agree with all of the arguments, this is an interesting look at the historical roots of these distinctions and the ramifications of these terms.   

Ms. Harrington's comment, July 3, 2012 8:17 PM
This is interesting, I have wondered this myself, when hearing a person describe themselves as Persian. The article goes on to say being Persian is a cultural subset of Iranians, who share a common language and culture. It can be conditered a cultural or political statement to call ones self Persian rather than Iranian.
Cam E's curator insight, March 4, 8:23 AM

This has always been a question between my friends and I, as one of my friends identifies as Persian. In my limited experience in the US it seems that the people who identify themselves as Iranian have immigrated in the last two generations or so. In comparison to families which came over quite a few generations ago who refer to themselves as "Persian"

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London's 'Rudest' Boroughs

London's 'Rudest' Boroughs | Geography Education |
A couple of weeks ago, I put up a post detailing how swearing on Twitter increases during the course of the average day.  It seemed people get more angry and sweary outside of work time, rather than during.


This is a curious combination of geospatial social media technologies (so of course I found out about it on Twitter).  To read an article about this on The Guardian's site (with Google Fusion Tables to the data) see: ;

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Christians of the Holy Land

Christians of the Holy Land | Geography Education |
The exodus from the Holy Land of Palestinian Christians could eventually leave holy cities like Jerusalem and Bethlehem without a local Christian population. Bob Simon reports.


This 14 minute clip looks at the complex political and cultural geography of the Israel and Palestine.  While often reduced to being a struggle between Israeli Jews and Palestinians Muslims, this missed simplification fails to tell the story of Palestinian Christians. 

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