Global news with a spatial perspective: Interesting, current supplemental materials for geography teachers and students.
Curated by Seth Dixon
GIS is not just for geography classes; spatial thinking and spatial data management can help students learn a variety of subjects including history. This free ebook will help history teachers to see how to unlock the power of Geographic Information Systems.
ESRI CEO Jack Dangermond discusses strengthening and investing in stem education with Trish Regan on Bloomberg Television's “Street Smart”. (Source: Bloomberg)
As announced earlier this week, ESRI will be donating ArcGIS organizational accounts to all K-12 schools in the United States, and here is a video of ESRI's CEO Jack Dangermond explaining the importance of spatial thinking in STEM education. President Obama referenced this donation during his speech at the White House's Science Fair. Currently many geography educators are planning new ways to use this to their advantage. Explore what ArcGIS can do, and consider how this might be a part of what you can do with your students (this article is a primer if you don't know what ArcGIS is yet). Click here to request an organizational account for your school.
This is a big announcement from ESRI, home of ArcGIS online and other geospatial tools. They are making ArcGIS online organizational accounts free for all K-12 schools in the United States. As ESRI spokespeople have said, "this will open up ArcGIS Online far beyond just a public account, by permitting more control of sharing, access to more data, engaging much more powerful analyses, supporting apps like Collector or Explorer, integrating with ArcMap and Microsoft Office, enabling login to Community Analyst, and lots more, with still more on the way." Click here to request an organizational account for your school.
Elmhurst College’s Skills for the Digital Earth MOOC is a 4-week, online course designed to introduce how location technologies are used in society.
Ever stop to think about how important location is when using your smart phone? This educational MOOC begins with an elementary explanation of how society uses location in a myriad of disciplines. Geography, or rather, "where?" is important to all of us from various perspectives.
Within this MOOC, participants will learn what location technologies are used for, how the discipline developed and learn by doing via a series of scaffolded practical exercises. Online spatial software will be employed for any device using a browser which takes users through exercises and real world examples. It is appropriate for those with no prior experience with geographic information systems (GIS) software all the way to advanced users.
Skills for the Digital Earth will incorporate video lectures, interaction opportunities and discussion forums. Each module will feature a quiz and activities, and participants will receive a badge after each completed module to be used to demonstrate skills mastered.
I am very excited about this free MOOC offered through the Elmhurst College Online Center (they also offer the Graduate Certificate Program for AP Human Geography teachers). The instructor, Dr. Rich Schultz is the Associate Director of the National Geospatial Technologies Center of Excellence.
Professor Seth Dixon shares over 50 of his favorite geography videos in this online map http://bit.ly/KDY6C2
Have you ever wanted to watch a video and to have a map handy at the same time? Ever since I first watched Raiders of the Lost Ark, I love the idea of combining video with maps. I produced this bare-bones map on ArcGIS online to spatially index over 50 videos that I enjoy using in my classes; all are place-specific videos (so they can be ‘located’ on the map). These videos have also been shared here earlier, but this map can function as a more user-friendly way to search for engaging video clips. Do you have a great place-based video that teaches the principles of geography that you love? Please share the URL in the comments section with a brief paragraph.
|Suggested by Thomas Schmeling|
A computer game wants you to map the world's cropland so farmers can get more out of each harvest.
NPR has recently highlighted Crop Capture; Crop Capture is a game that uses Google Earth imagery to crowd-source agricultural data. From a pedagogical standpoint, this is a great way to visually introduce students the variety of agricultural landscapes that can be found around the world. This is an example of what many refer to as citizen science games which provides an alternative rationale for playing the game.
In New Hampshire they are doing great work to make mapping data useful in the classroom. This site is one that they use to show how students can map locally relevant data from an online data set. CoCoRaHS (Community Collaborative Rain, Hail & Snow Network) is a crowd-sourced network that gathers North American precipitation data. The data (especially the total precipitation summary) can be easily copied into as spread sheet and saved as a CSV file (which can be uploaded to ArcGIS online).
The recently revised Geography for Life standards have been aligned to show how geographic skills can be taught within the Common Core framework. The National Geographic Society, in cooperation with the National Council for Geographic Education and the Network of Alliances for Geographic Education created Connections to be that link (for grade specific Common Core/Geography resources click here).
So how is this to be done? This storymap shows ten great examples of maps that can be used as reading documents, one for each of the 10 ELA Reading Standards.
Earlier this summer the T3G participants had an informal lightning talk session with many people sharing their favorite educational, geospatial or professional development tools. I was amazed as some of the incredible projects these fantastic educator are involved with and I didn’t have time to properly credit all the speakers, but this was the best I could do to capture some incredible projects. Below are some of the links:
GIS and GEOSPATIAL in EDUCATION
"Recent news stories discussed why geography is important to an informed and engaged society. To those of us in the geospatial profession, basic geography education is an essential foundation to encouraging young people to enter the workforce in surveying, photogrammetry, GIS and other disciplines in our field."
While many in the geography education business bemoan student's lack of global awareness as a rationale for geography education, this is the key angle that I feel we should be pushing: the workforce. We currently are not producing enough students with geospatial skills in the United States to fill the jobs (one of the problems with geography being classified as a social science). Now that is a practical reason to support geography that non-geographers can understand.
|Suggested by Mike Busarello's Digital Textbooks|
"Placing Literature maps book scenes in the real world."
This article reviews a great new site, Placing Literature. Much like Google Lit Trips, this site's goal is to make geography come alive in literature. Given that this site is still in its infancy, there are few novels and places in the system, but I don't see that as a drawback. I see this as a fantastic platform for a student project where they could make a significant online contribution.
The Esri Thematic Atlas is a configurable web application that uses a collection of intelligent web maps with text, graphics, and images to talk about our world.
ESRI is moving towards creating a dynamic, authorative, living digital atlas and empowering users to create their own. See this great political map of 2008 U.S. presidential election that is a part of the altas; it goes far beyond simple blue and red states. StoryMaps are also democratizing the mapping process. Explore these excellent examples of storymaps (Endangered Languages and top 10 physical landforms).
Today was the first of the T3G Institute at the Esri headquarters and the wonderful team has shared great resources that I found incredibly useful for teachers to use great web maps. So what makes a great web map. A great web map should be highly interactive, intuitive, and be able to function at various scales. This video helps to show the power of maps to help tell a great story or to share spatial content.
The presenters each shared an exemplary web map.
This podcast explains the MOOC Maps and the Geospatial Revolution. It is designed to be an easy on-ramp to 21st century geospatial tools and any geography teacher hoping to modernize their skillset would do well to take this summer course from the Program of Online Geospatial Education at Penn State, taught by Dr. Anthony Robinson. Click here to register for free.
"Google Maps Engine makes it easy for you to create beautiful maps, share them with others, and reach your audience no matter where they are. It's built on the same platform that provides Google services to millions of people worldwide, so your users have a consistent and familiar experience wherever they are."
Google has become more and more involved with geospatial technologies and platforms. This new Maps Engine (still in beta testing) appears to be Google entry into the world of GIS. Maps Engine is not nearly as robust as ArcGIS Online or even Google Earth and it has many limitations (can't upload a CSV file with more than 100 data points, can't use KML or shapefiles, no archive of ready-made layers, etc).
It's redeeming value lies in the simplicity of the platform; if all you want to do is draw your own points, lines and polygons on top of a map and be able to get started within 30 seconds, then this is worth exploring. Those features are incredibly intuitive and user-friendly and I foresee various educational possibilities using this in the classroom, but am still 'test-driving' the platform.
"App4Success APHuG is an intuitive app for students to excel in AP Human Geography. Created by two students who scored 5 on all their AP Exams, the app is organized by the topics* indicated by the College Board."
I'm not an iPhone or iPad user, but this $1.99 app has received good reviews from within the APHG communities. Please share in the comments section any feedback.
Grant Thrall, Ph.D., pioneered a new field of study — business geography — at the University of Florida.
Business geography involves using sophisticated technologies to interpret and analyze data to help businesses make decisions.
I understand that my readers are not people that I need to convince the geo-literacy is an essential component for a 21st century education; but we are the people that need to convince principals, politicians, school administrators, teachers and parents that teaching geography is fundamental. Consider this an accessible article to use to make the case for geography for someone who sees the educational value from a business perspective.
"Geocube is an attractive online resource about Geography. Geocube is based on the principle of the Rubik Cube with six faces and 54 topics. It is a virtual and easily accessible website which is available online for free. Move the Geocube around with your mouse and explore the faces and topics.Geocube provides an accessible way to read, see and watch what Geography is and geographers do."
This interactive resource is worth exploring and letting students explore it at home or within a computer lab environment. Geocube isn't just a single random link; Geocube is a portal to numerous topics, regions and themes that allows the user to explore what geography is without being constrained to do so in a linear fashion. Having been voted by the American Association of School Librarians as one of the "Top 25 websites for Teaching and Learning," Geocube comes highly recommended, and rightfully so. This is a must-see as it puts the world of geography at your fingertips.
Free site dedicated to help teachers educate and engage students using Google Earth
GE Teach is a phenomenal site, designed by an AP teacher to bring geospatial technologies into the classroom in a way that is incredibly user-friendly. This site allows you to use Google Earth with clickable layers. With multiple data layers of physical and human geography variables, this interactive globe puts spatial information in powerful, yet fun, student-inspired platform. Click here for a video tutorial.
Google Earth is a great teaching tool for geographers, but it is also a way to bring geography and spatial thinking to other disciplines. Google Lit Trips makes the journeys that take place in literature (both fiction and non-fiction) all the more real by mapping out the movements as a KML file that can be viewed in Google Earth. By embedding pictures, websites, videos and text into the path, this becomes an incredibly interactive resource for teachers of all levels.
Video of a sandbox equipped with a Kinect 3D camera and a projector to project a real-time colored topographic map with contour lines onto the sand surface. ...
Many of our first experiments of creating landforms and designing a new world started in the sandbox. This video shows how that early childhood activity can make for an excellent classroom demonstration to shows how Earth's physical systems work. If you don't happen to have a digital topographic map to superimpose on the sandbox and a GPU-based water simulation, then at least you've got this video. Click here to learn more about this UC Davis project on the visualization of lake ecosystems.
App-ly Yourself to Tackle Today's Scientific Challenges
The United States Geologic Survey (USGS) scientists are encouraging app developers and earth scientists to design creative apps that will aid researchers in tackling the important questions. USGS datasets include biogeographical, vegetation and land cover change data. Submissions will be judged on their relevance to today’s scientific challenges, innovative use of the datasets, and overall ease of use of the application. Prizes will be awarded to the best overall app, the best student app, and the people’s choice. Do you have an idea?
"Learn how advances in geospatial technology and analytical methods have changed how we do everything, and discover how to make maps and analyze geographic patterns using the latest tools."
When I was a graduate student at Penn State, I was introduced to some great people and programs and I'm glad to see that the institution has continued to excel and be a leader. You have probably heard of MOOCs (Massive Open Online Course) and been interested in seeing how this might change higher education in the future. This MOOC is a free 5-week course designed to be an introduction to mapping, GIS and geospatial technologies so you don't need to be a specialists with a mapping background: it's for beginners. I know that many geography teachers tell their students about GIS, but are afraid to teach with GIS because they are worried that it will be too hard. This is an easy on-ramp to 21st century geospatial tools and any geography teacher hoping to modernize their skillset would do well to take this summer course fromthe Program of Online Geospatial Education at Penn State, taught by Dr. Anthony Robinson. For more information on this, see this annoucement from Directions Magazine and from Penn State News.