Global news with a spatial perspective: Interesting, current supplemental materials for geography teachers and students.
Curated by Seth Dixon
"This 18-stanza poem by Kit Salter, beautifully captures the importance of geographic thinking in any history/social studies curriculum. This was shared by Dr. Vernon Domingo and the slides of his keynote address titled, Integrating Geography and History are available here."
It was my privilege to hear my good friend and fellow geo-evangelist, Dr. Vernon Domingo recently as he shared ideas on the importance of integrating geographic analysis in historical inquiry. He shared a fabulous poem by Kit Salter, one of the pioneers in the Network of Geographic Alliances. I'll only share the first stanza here:
How can there be a separate scene,
For history without place
How can there be events in time,
For which there is no space?
"Some great geography education resources that can be found on Twitter."
While I might wish to write posts about everything pertinent to geography education that I find on social media, I just don't have the time to do it all. Too many good tweets, not enough time. Periodically I will share a list of tweets that can link you to good resources and help you expand your personal learning network.
I've tried to resist sharing each individual geographic gaffe that the media makes over the years as evidence that we need to strengthen geography education. Unfortunately, though these media cartographic errors are all to common, geographic ignorance runs much deeper that. Creating a geo-literate society entails so much more than just knowing where places are on the map...although that is a good start.
"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."
"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.
"Let everyone know your love for being a Geographer with this special limited edition design.Only available for a LIMITED TIME, so get yours TODAY!"
I normally don't share items that are for sale, since I don't endorse products. However, even if no one buys this t-shirt, I think this audience would be able to appreciate the message.
"Geography. It lets you study the world. No, really, THE WORLD. Think about that. What other subject deals with rocks? Moving continents? AND climate? Diffusion of plants and animals? Water quality? Now, what if you add some human systems--do the other sciences let you relate the earth to economic or political systems? And culture--food, religion, music, housing, or language? How about urban systems and settlement forms? Past, present, and future, anywhere in the world? And how many subject areas let you look at something from a scientific, social-scientific, humanistic, AND artistic perspective? Yeah, I said artistic--I like to illustrate my findings with a nice map.
Tell me all about global studies or environmental science if you'd like--they're alright too. But NOTHING lets you see the world like geography does."
This 'sermon' from the Church of Geography is outstanding (the 'Church' is a geo-evangelizing group on Facebook and Twitter that is the home to the delightful memes pictured above). Many organizations are trying to re-brand geography to gain greater public support at the same time that other interdisciplinary initiatives with geographic content are gaining traction: global studies, environmental sustainability, centers for spatial analysis, etc. We don't need a name change as much as we need people to capture the vision of geography's centrality and holistic capacity.
There is a beauty and magnificent in nature, both is the microscopic and delicate as well as the grand and powerful. The biosphere's diversity is a great part of it's allure that keeps geographers exploring for to understand the mysteries on our planet. The incredible image at the end of this project really is truly stunning.
84% of Americans are unable to locate Ukraine on a world map; those that can't are more likely to support military intervention.
As I've said before, a more informed, geo-literate citizenry helps to strengthen U.S. foreign policy and diplomatic efforts because they have a spatial framework within which to organize political, environmental, cultural and economic information. National Geographic recently also produced a video showing how geo-education is important for business professionals as a part of their geo-education community (if you haven't already, join!). This is one way to combat geographic ignorance.
I enjoy the sentiment of this quote; it embraces creative pedagogy while empowering students to be creative agents that can reshape the world. I love the idea of geography enabling young minds to be inspired to imagine a better world and giving them the tools to so. While I love the ethos that is embedded in this quote, I feel that it also underestimates our students and their ability to see past some of the limitations of the educational process. It also doesn't appreciate the importance of understanding the current state of affairs before being able transforms them. However, if we can create an environment that promotes and encourages higher-order thinking, we can help our students see their role in shaping a new world–that is our goal in promoting geo-literacy.
Next week, a delegations from every state alliance will go to Washington D.C. to advocate for geography education and I will represent Rhode Island. On February 26th I will personally meet with Senators Whitehouse and Reed, Congressmen Cicilline and Langevin. I those meetings I will encourage them to become sponsors of the Teaching Geography is Fundamental bill. I would like to encourage you to consider voicing your support for geography education with you representatives. Did you know that Geography is the ONLY required subject that does not receive any dedicated federal funding under No Child Left Behind?
If you are a member of your state geographic alliance (and if not, join!) you can help our cause immensely by letting members of Congress know that there is support for geography education and the Teaching Geography is Fundamental Act.. It helps tremendously if they already have heard from constituents about the importance of geography education BEFORE our Feb 26th meetings. I urge you to join me in a chorus of support for action by Congress. You don’t have to go to DC to help.
You can go to SpeakUpForGeography.org and send pre-written letters directly to your Senators and Representative...please join me in this effort to strengthen geography education in the United States.
"Astronomers using NASA data have calculated for the first time that in our galaxy alone, there are at least 8.8 billion stars with Earth-size planets in the habitable temperature zone. For perspective, that's more Earth-like planets than there are people on Earth."
I was recently flying over New York City and I was stunned at the vastness of this metropolis and amazed at the arrogance we take when we assume we 'understand' a place with millions of people and complex networks. The geographic enterprise is remarkably ambitious and even if we can't fully understand everything about our planet, we strive towards that goal...then I read this article and the magnitude of the universe simultaneously overwhelmed and inspired me. 8.8 billion earth-like planets!! The only reason anyone could ever be bored is if they have stopped being curious about all that surrounds us.
"Are you looking for a way to promote geography in your school in a way that involves students, parents, other teachers and administrators? A Family Geography can absolutely help. Here are some guidelines to run a Family Geography night at a school or an Alliance function."
I’ve had the privilege of working with NEGEN (New England Geography Education Network). The great people in the Massachusetts Geographic Alliance have collaborated to create a template to run Family Geography Nights at schools. These Family Nights are incredibly successful in showing the relevance of geography education to administrators, other teachers, parents and the general public.
"If an urban population demands the freshest vegetables, they should be produced within a 24-hour field-to-table delivery zone. What, therefore, should be the highest and best use of agricultural land between Taiwan's two largest cities, Taipei and Kaoshiung, only 200 miles apart? The Lord of the Rings, a.k.a., Johan Heinrich Von Thünen, has the answer." 
This image and analysis comes from the blog "Geographically Yours" by Don Zeigler. He's a well-traveled cultural geographer and has been collecting great teaching images over his career and is now sharing them on this site. These pictures are great discussion starters and bell ringers to start the day.
The APHG course outline and description was changed over the summer and the 2014 test will reflect these changes. So what are the changes? I've created this slideshow to show what the changes are and add links to my site that might be thematically useful. The hyperlinks don't work in the first 4 slides so I duplicated the unit 1 slides at the end of the document (you can download this as a PDF file or the Powerpoint file as well).
These quotes are actual complaints received by a travel agency; some tourists were shocked to discover that their foreign excursion would actually have foreign experiences. I think all of these tourists need just a little more global awareness before they leave their front porch next time.
"This is a compilation of videos that can be used to at the beginning of the school year to show the importance of geography, spatial thinking and geo-literacy."
I you haven't 'liked' the Church of Geography on Facebook, you really should. These geo-sermons are worth the huge investment of a simple click.
|Suggested by Jorge Joo Nagata|
Campaña para impedir que el Ministerio de Educación de Chile borre la Geografìa del Currículum Escolar.
In many countries, geography education is in peril. In Chile, the Education Ministry is rewriting the curriculum and many are afraid that Geography will be squeezed out (sound familiar?). This Spanish-language video is a statement of why geography is fundamental, practical and a important as a lived experience. You can also find "Min Educ: No Mates La Geografia" on Facebook and YouTube.
GeoGuessr is a geography game which takes you on a journey around the world and challenges your ability to recognize your surroundings.
When I was a child I used to wonder if woke up somewhere far from home, would I be able to know where I was just by looking at the places around me (I was a geo-geek from way back when). GeoGuessr is the closest thing to finding yourself lost in the world and needing to figure out where you are without being wisked away. GeoGuessr will display 5 locations in GoogleMaps "StreetView" and you have to guess where the images are located. You can pan and zoom in the StreetView to explore the landscape and find more context clues as to where that location is. It is a fantastic exploration exercise.
|Suggested by Stephanie Kozak|
To meet workforce needs, scholarships must be available to support the best and brightest students who choose to pursue undergraduate and graduate degrees in geography
The authors of this article are from American Geographical Society and discuss the results of a study that indicate that Americans want more geography education in the school systems today. Often geography gets buried within the social studies curriculum and it is up to the individual teacher to ensure how much geography actually gets taught in the classroom. This is not a new problem; in a bulletin published by the Bureau of Education in 1922, it was said, "So long as it is assumed that history is all of the social studies the elements of the others will be neglected as they are now." This article provides good sources to help educators argue for more geographic content in the curriculum at all educational levels.
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.