Digital resources to strengthen the quality and quantity of geography education in classrooms the world over
Curated by Seth Dixon
We are a society that is reliant on modern navigational devices. This is an interesting article that argues for keeping modern equipment, but asks us not to eliminate older technologies in our haste to embrace the shiny and new. "Technology as great as it is should never be a replacement for skills, but a tool used to assist you."
This annual arts festival with a strong counter-cultural ethos literally is an experiment in producing alternative urban and cultural geographies. They reject many normative regulations embedded within mainstream society. These geographies created last only about a week, as an escape from the regular strictures of society. The ephemeral alternative geographies then fade back into the desert but not without creating a visually remarkable place that has a lasting impact for participants. A word of caution, it is a 'clothing-optional' event, so launching a Google image search live in class is not recommended.
I'll let the producer of the video explain: "It is an 8-day event which takes place annually in late August in the temporary city of Black Rock City located in a dry lakebed in northwestern Nevada, USA. The radial streets are laid out like a clock face, from 2:00 to 10:00. I have marked some of these streets as well as some of the prominent and favorite theme camps and villages. The attendees are all participants in a sense and are themselves the attraction. There is no corporate sponsorship or presence of any sort. Only ice and coffee are sold (and proceeds benefit community projects). Everything else is brought in under the concept of 'radical self-reliance' or gifted by others. Most 'burners' participate by finding the creative or artistic thing that they enjoy most and do best, do it to the fullest extent, and share it as much as possible."
The violent protests at U.S. embassies this week seemed to catch the new Middle East governments flat-footed. So are these attacks an aberration on the rocky road of nation building, or a harbinger of a region moving toward greater chaos?
This nicely puts the political instability of North Africa in context to understand the recent attack on U.S. embassies.
Harvest is a time of plenty, when the season's hard work is rewarded by bounty. Many of the rhythms of our lives are shaped by the gathering of crops, even if most of us now live in cities.
This photo essay shows people from around the world harvesting their crops and taking them to the market. Pictured above, farmers who were waiting for customers gathered alongside corn-laden trucks at the market in Lahore, Pakistan earlier this month.
Questions to Ponder: What is similar in these images? What is different? How do those similarities and differences shape the geography of a given region?
Protesters upset over an American-made video denouncing Islam attacked the United States Consulate in Libya, while Egyptian demonstrators stormed over the walls of the United States Embassy in Cairo.
The idea of anti-U.S. protests in the Middle East and Northa Africa on the 11th anniversary of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11 was initially quite shocking. As always, a greater understanding of the cultural context and timing helps explain (not necessarily justify) the situation. The video produced by "Sam Bacile" that has sparked the controversy is truly reprehensible and as cultural insensitive as it gets. Still, the protests, by blindly lashing out at the United States embassy, only exacerbate the cultural problems.
UPDATE: This public gathering of Libyan's in Benghazi to apologize for the death of Chris Stevens is quite poignant.
Questions to Ponder: How does one single YouTube video impact geopolitics? Culturally speaking, what makes this such a powerfully charged issue? Will this issue become fodder for the election?
Across Africa, a continent where the average age is about 19, protests have flared against leaders who may have outstayed their welcome.
This interactive mapping feature compares two distinct data sets in an attempt to show that the two are correlated on the continent of Africa. The base layer of this thematic map is demographic, noting how much of the overall population in a given country is under the age of 16. The interactive feature with point data describes the political unrest or instability in that particular country.
Questions to ponder: Does the cartographer 'convince' you that Africa's having a very young (globally speaking) demographic cohort led towards greater political instability? Are there other factors worth considering? What does this map and it's embedded data tell us?
In collecting cartographic materials relating to the events of 9/11, the Library's Geography and Map Division is concentrating on documenting the role maps played in managing the recovery effort.
This page from the Library of Congress, hosted by the Geography and Map Division is a visually rich resources of geospatial images (aerial photography, thermal imagery, LiDAR, etc.) that show the extent of the damage and the physical change to the region that the terrorist attacks brought.
"Technology bridges distance and borders. Individuals today can keep in touch with their friends and family in completely new ways — regardless of where they live."
People can be digitally connected with anyone around the world these days, without any limitations by distance or culture. Yet, by analyzing peoples social networks, it is clear that geographic factors are still a crucial factor in mediating our scoial interactions. The internet can, but doesn't fully conquer space.
La Tomatina is a festival that is held in the Valencian town of Bunol, located inland from the Mediterranean Sea, that brings together thousands of people for one big tomato fight – purely for fun!
La Tomatina is a cultural festival in Spain that is world renowned for it's exuberance and playfulness. This gallery of 26 images shows some of the dynamism and appeal to this extraordinary event where more than 40,000 people engage in the world's largest foof fight using upwards of 100 tons of tomatoes in the yearly food fight known as 'La Tomatina.'
Notice the signs for storing backpacks and luggage that are now pastered with tomatoes on the store in the background of the image. These hastily-composed, informal signs are written in three languages (Spanish, English and Japanese). What does this tell us about the festival? Also, notice how the comments section revolves around the concepts of waste, poverty and consumption.
|Suggested by Nic Hardisty|
David Hanauer has created sumptuous rugs that are inspired by Google Earth images. These images in a repeating patterns create a stunning visual effect. Paired with Persian styling to create unique, geography inspired carpets, this gallery has 6 different pieces in this art gallery.
A United Nations report cites widespread shortages of food, water, electricity, jobs, hospital beds and classrooms amid an exploding population in an area of Gaza.
While most slums are symptomatic of issues that would be addressed by an economic and urban geography analysis, the slums of Gaza are different. Many slum issues are tied to city politics, but in Gaza these slums are also connected to some of the larger geopolitical issues of the region.
We suggested ways to teach about Election 2012 and included links to lesson plans and Times features, and we'll be updating the page regularly as the march to the White House proceeds.
The Learning Network has partnered with the NY Times to produce lesson plans for all ages (and all disciplines) on how to teach using the 2012 United States Presidential Election.
Who says you can't integrate geography and real world applications into the math curriculum? Paul Bouke has scoured the Earth searching for fractals in the natural environment and created this amazingly artistic remote sensing gallery (with KMZ files for viewing in Google Earth as well).
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.
Print your own customized, place-based envelopes using Google Maps imagery.
To understand today's global conflicts, forget economics and technology and take a hard look at a map, writes Robert D. Kaplan.
This is a timely article that shows the importance of geography in understanding current events throughout the world. Also included in this link are videos and pictures connected to an interactive map that highlights a few global conflicts. Students would benefit from reading this article in preparation for completing a news article assignment. Geographic context always matters; it might not tell the whole story but it will certainly shape it.
|Suggested by Kristen McDaniel|
This is the truly global project that asks the children of the world to introduce us to the people of the world. We've seen videos and resources that ask the question, "if there were only 100 people in the world, what would it look like?" This takes that idea of making demographic statistics more meaningful one step further by asking student in schools for around the world to nominate some "representative people" and share their stories. The site houses videos, galleries from each continent and analyze themes that all societies must deal with. This site that looks at the people and places on out planet to promote greater appreciation of cultural diversity and understanding is a great find.
the undersea work & world of Michael Lombardi...
Michael Lombardi is a both a scientific and commercial diver; as an author and environmentalist and an Explorer in Residence with the National Geographic Society. This Saturday he will be the guest speaker for the Rhode Island Geography Education Alliance meeting and I am incredibly excited to hear from him.
President Obama participated in this year's National Geographic Bee to to "celebrate the important role that geography plays in all our lives." During that event he made a statement that I think geographers should use more. Go to 0:45-1:10 in the video clip to hear this message or see the transcript below.
"The study of geography is about more than just memorizing places on a map. It's about understanding the complexity of our world, appreciating the diversity of cultures that exists across continents. And in the end, it's about using all that knowledge to help bridge divides and bring people together."
-President Barack Obama