Geography Education
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Geography Education
Supporting geography educators everywhere with current digital resources.
Curated by Seth Dixon
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How Has Racism Shaped U.S. Infrastructure?

How Has Racism Shaped U.S. Infrastructure? | Geography Education |
"While I try to keep things nonpartisan, sometimes objective truths become partisan issues, and often the study of human geography can improve our collective political dialog. Department of Transportation, Pete Buttigieg (a.k.a. Mayor Pete) said “there is racism physically built into some of our highways.” Online detractors noted that rebar, concrete, and asphalt can’t be racist, etc. You see the over-literal interpretation, but I want to discuss his bigger point—how has racism shaped the building of infrastructure and urban landscapes?" 

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10 Conflicts to Watch in 2021

10 Conflicts to Watch in 2021 | Geography Education |
"If there were a contest for the 2020 event with the most far-reaching implications for global peace and security, the field would be crowded. From the coronavirus pandemic to climate change’s growing impact, the Trump administration’s scorched-earth policies after Joe Biden’s election, the Azerbaijani-Armenian war over Nagorno-Karabakh, and a deadly conflict in Ethiopia’s Tigray region, it has been an eventful year. In 2021, the world will be dealing with the aftermath and sifting through the debris. In Sudan, Lebanon, and Venezuela, to mention but a few examples, one can expect the number of unemployed to grow, real incomes to collapse, governments to face mounting difficulties paying security forces, and the general population to increasingly rely on state support at a time when states are least equipped to provide it. The lines separating economic dissatisfaction from social unrest, and social unrest from outbreaks of violence, are thin."

Seth Dixon's insight:
There are always some ‘hot spots’ around the world that might boil over into armed conflict, and some that are already at that stage, but that we collectively might have forgotten about during the pandemic. These 10 conflicts are highlighted to list some of the geopolitically most pertinent conflicts in the world right now.
--The Sahel
--Climate Change
See on GEO ED:
Thriftyshopper's comment, April 8, 1:22 AM
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The Dollar Store Backlash –

The Dollar Store Backlash – | Geography Education |
The economic restructuring of the United States is reconfiguring cities, political alignments, rural patterns and so many more systems. I would like to highlight how retail has changed in the last few decades in the United States. In the early 2000s, I was visiting a small, declining Pennsylvania town name Bradford. One of the residents was bemoaning the economic and demographic decline of this Appalachian city of about 10,000 residents, noting how the most ambitious and brightest high schoolers from the area have moved out, leading to brain drain. Many locally owned businesses on Main Street had been struggling, and the resident said, “Thank goodness for Walmart and the Dollar stores…those are the only things that are keeping business around this town.” Out of politeness to my host, I didn’t mention that I saw the opposite happening: Wal-Mart and the Dollar stores, were capitalizing on economies of scale to muscle out locally businesses, creating an economic pattern that would have negative long-term consequences on this community and others like it. Bradford, PA is not unique, but emblematic of many places in the United States. Over 10,000 new dollar stores have sprouted up in the United States since 2000, especially in small towns and rural areas. Some places are starting to push pack, since the communities are not seeing this as a positive development for the community. Online shopping is another persistent pattern of the last few decades that is reconfiguring our cities, and the COVID-19 pandemic has intensified these issues that were already under way. Department stores have been anchors of shopping malls, which themselves are struggling after overexpanding. Many department stores have gone under, and those remaining brick-and-mortar department stores are struggling against the online shopping paradigm shift. Business with continue, but it will not be business as usual. QUESTIONS TO PONDER: Why can cheap retail stores have a negative impact on a local community? Can you see this anywhere in your community? How does online shopping positively and negatively impact your community?

See on GeoEd with links:

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COVID-19 Will Likely Lead to Fewer Births

COVID-19 Will Likely Lead to Fewer Births | Geography Education |

"By now, the pandemic has disrupted Americans’ daily lives for nearly as long as a baby typically spends in the womb. This means that many children conceived in mid-March are weeks away from joining us in this disorienting new world, but just as notable are the children who won’t be joining us—the babies who would have been born were it not for the ongoing economic and public-health crises. These missing births, which could end up numbering in the hundreds of thousands in the U.S., will make up what’s been called the ‘COVID baby bust.' The U.S. could have hundreds of thousands of fewer births next year than it would have in the absence of a pandemic."

Seth Dixon's insight:
Changes in birth rates can have so many explanations because the the reasons for starting (or not starting) a family can be incredibly personal; part of that complexity requires that we recognize that those choices made by individuals are made within the economic, cultural, and political context of the places that they live. The pandemic has has obviously reshaped people’s plans about so many things in their life–including whether to have children, or when to have children. See on GeoED at:
Nancy Watson's curator insight, December 5, 2020 8:35 AM
CBR, unit 2, population 
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Armenia Azerbaijan: Reports of fresh shelling dent ceasefire hopes

Armenia Azerbaijan: Reports of fresh shelling dent ceasefire hopes | Geography Education |
"Armenia’s defence ministry said Azeri forces had launched an attack five minutes after the truce had been due to come into effect, with ethnic Armenian forces responding. Azeri forces were also bombarding a town, the defence ministry said."

Seth Dixon's insight:
There are many simmering conflicts around the world that are not fully resolved but that can intensify very quickly because the underlying issues remain tense even in periods of relative calm. The Armenia/Azerbaijan conflict centers around the ethnic Armenian enclave (Nargorno Karabakh) inside Azerbaijan. To make things more complicated, there is an exclave of Azerbaijan (Nakhchivan) to the west of Armenia.
There have been ethnic/political tensions is this region for generations, but the collapse of the Soviet Union changed the status quo, and there was a cease-fire called in 1994, but that has dissolved in the last few weeks. Now, Turkey and Russia are both seeking to resolve the dispute (or carry out their regional ambitions if you like to approach this more cynically). This shows how a border conflict between two countries can quickly become a broader that can polarize the international community as countries “pick sides” in the conflict. While this is a distressing bit of news for global security and peace, this is a excellent case study to explore many political geographic topics; enclaves, exclaves, borders, sovereignty, devolution, international conflict, etc.

See on GeoEd with other links:
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What Cheese Looks Like Around The World

"Cheese from all around the world comes in different forms, textures, and colors, from white to blue. It’s eaten in many different ways, and some cheeses have legends or myths behind their invention Let’s take a look at what cheese looks like around the world."
Seth Dixon's insight:
Geographers are drawn to videos like this that give a quick tour around the world. The Travel Insider video channel has a few great examples that show how distinct regional variations in food production create cultural distinct local customs. Food production is inherently cultural, and these videos show how local flavor creates a series of regional variations. While I’m a fan of the “cheese around the world” video, I’ve included some other of my favorites on my main site here:
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The Sounds of the Landscape

The Sounds of the Landscape | Geography Education |
We often think of the only what we can see as a part of the landscape, but often forget that the cultural landscape can be a full sensory experience. The architecture of the Hagia Sophia is recognized as a iconic landmark, but the acoustics of the building are a major part of the creating the experience of being in that place. Once a cathedral, then a mosque, and now a museum, this building is one of the classic examples of sequent occupance. This NPR podcast shows how some have recreated the soundscapes of the Hagia Sophia, back when is was the preeminent medieval Christian place of worship. This YouTube playlist has the Capella Romana’s album, The Lost Voices of the Hagia Sophia.
exfoliatetaffrail's comment, June 5, 2020 7:08 AM
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Amid a Pandemic, Geography Returns with a Vengeance

Amid a Pandemic, Geography Returns with a Vengeance | Geography Education |

As I mentioned in my last Coronavirus post, there are geographic factors and implications everywhere when dealing with this truly global issue that has profoundly local ramifications. True, I am guilty as charged if I stand accused of seeing geography everywhere, but now even non-geographers are seeing geography, place, distance, regions, interactions, and connections as more important than ever. I would like to share three additional resources that point to the centrality of geographic thought to all that is happening these days: ;

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How to Recapture the Muslim World’s Lost Hope

How to Recapture the Muslim World’s Lost Hope | Geography Education |
What happened to us? The question haunts us in the Arab and Muslim world. We repeat it like a mantra. You will hear it from Iran to Syria, from Saudi Arabia to Pakistan, and in my own country, Lebanon. For us, the past is a different country, one not mired in the horrors of sectarian killings. It is a more vibrant place, without the crushing intolerance of religious zealots and seemingly endless, amorphous wars.
Seth Dixon's insight:
This opinion piece is a somewhat controversial, but that is part of its value. The core of the author’s thesis is that to understand the modern Middle East, especially if one is searching for a way to create a more democratic Middle East, we must look to the past to see how we got there. 1979 is seen here as the pivotal year that changed the trajectory of the Middle East, in large part because of the Islamic Revolution in Iran, but for many other region-wide changes. Questions to Ponder: What were the big shifts that occurred in 1979? What are things that you think that the author gets correct about their historical analysis of the Middle East? What are some positions where you disagree with the author?

Read with links here:
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GPS Tracking

GPS Tracking | Geography Education |
Maps are powerful tools to demonstrate spatial ideas and concepts. Wolves are territorial, and using GPS trackers to understand this really drives home the point. Here is a similarly fantastic map of an eagle’s flight paths shows the patterns amid noise.
Gilbert C FAURE's comment, March 10, 2020 2:30 PM
did you register on, according to my e-mail, then should release your previous posts.
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Tools for Student Projects

Tools for Student Projects | Geography Education |
In many geography classes, teachers will assign students a country to help them gain some depth about one particular country as a way to explore economic, demographic, cultural, political, and environmental issues. These are some data visualization tools that deals with big data; the listed tools are some of my favorite in part because they can easily to incorporated to an ArcGIS StoryMap (especially in the Map Journal template).
Seth Dixon's insight:
The Top four include:
1-Dollar Street
2-Observatory of Economic Complexity
3-Population Pyramid dot net
4-Gapminder Tools
See with links at:

ezra low's curator insight, May 7, 2020 6:36 AM
Great tools for teachers and useful classroom lessons can be based around just a couple of these ideas. Gapminder has a great resource that could create an entire lesson sequence around. These tools make it really easy for educators to redefine the learning environment without much effort. Students are able to control their learning journey with some inquiry led learning processes, depending on where he teacher wants to take them. Make sure to look at this and explore the tools that are offered. This tool is really based for human geography in secondary education.
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Delhi riots: City tense after Hindu-Muslim clashes leave 23 dead

Delhi riots: City tense after Hindu-Muslim clashes leave 23 dead | Geography Education |
The deadliest violence in India's capital for decades leaves 23 people dead and scores injured.
Seth Dixon's insight:
It is so disheartening to see the news that India is undergoing a wave of religious unrest. As citizen and immigration laws have been enacted that have a religious component to it, many feel that this is unfairly targeting Muslim migrants and refugees. Some see this as the beginning of a delegitimization of Muslim citizenship within India. As people are protesting these laws, there are groups that are also a violently clashing with protesters in the streets. Some are targeting Mosques, and the police have been unable to keep the peace. This is some nasty business that I hate to see anywhere, but if you need an example of how religion can be a centrifugal force in a country, this is a perfect example.  See with links at:
Bruno BK Kesangana's curator insight, March 22, 2020 1:47 PM
article à lire absolument
Bruno BK Kesangana's curator insight, March 22, 2020 2:55 PM
a lire absolument
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VIDEO: My Dear Kyrgyzstan

VIDEO: My Dear Kyrgyzstan | Geography Education |
Emil is a social media-obsessed entrepreneur in one of the most remote places on earth: An abandoned Soviet mining village in Kyrgyzstan. Emil has returned to put his village on the map as an international tourist destination.
Seth Dixon's insight:
This delightful video shows the former Soviet mining town of Jyrgalan and a local entrepreneur that wants to revitalize the village economy, bring in the outside world, and make is home a tourist destination. It serves several purposes for a geography teacher. One, it’s a great portal into a Central Asian country where most of my students don’t have any real reference points. Two, the video highlights important geographic concepts such as tourism’s impact on indigenous cultures and globalization’s impact on previously isolated locations. Three, this is a great case study for a cultural landscape analysis. The video has some incredible juxtapositions; nomads wearing traditional clothes encountering adventure tourists outfitted in Patagonia gear, people in town cutting grass with scythes as well as gas lawn mowers, and traditional architectural styles intermixed with signs of modernity such as satellite antennas. The physical and cultural landscapes in this are absolutely stunning and worth the twelve minutes of your time. See with links on:
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How Black cartographers put racism on the map of America

How Black cartographers put racism on the map of America | Geography Education |
Mapping is one way African Americans fight for equality and help each other navigate a racially hostile landscape.
Seth Dixon's insight:
This article is written by two geography professors (@MLKStreet and @JoshGeog), but it is written for a general audience to learn about how cartography and geography can help us understand the historical impacts of racism on the landscape, and how cartography and geography can be a part of the solution. In a society with racism and official institutions upholding them, creating maps is an act of resistance and a path towards greater social justice within society. This article explores Black Panther resistance, redlining, counter-mapping, and modern digital maps that are shining a light of racial inequities.
Questions to Ponder:
--In what ways are maps biased sources of information? What is redlining?
--What impact does redlining still have on American cities?
--What is the purpose of counter-mapping?
--What value does diversity of mapmakers (both demographic characteristics of individual cartographers and of the organizations creating maps) have on the production of knowledge?
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Massive Protests in Russia

Massive Protests in Russia | Geography Education |
If you haven’t been following the news in Russia, it is time to start. Sometime we are so focused on our own country’s issues, that we fail to see recognize the significance of world news. Currently (late January, 2021), the streets of Russia are full of unrest and more blazenly against Putin’s regime than the have in the last few decades. I”m not making predictions, but this has the feeling of a geopolitical event that can topple a regime. If that does happen, we need to keep our eyes on the ground. First, what is the backstory of Alexey Navalny, that the protesters are asking to be released? This article from the New Yorker is a great primer to the backstory of Alexey Navalny’s push to shine the light on corruption within Putin’s regime. Second, how is the Russian government handling the protests and the what might it mean for the regime? There are main great articles, but read a few to stay current on this topic.  Read on GeoEd with the links at:
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The Almost Map of the USA –

The Almost Map of the USA – | Geography Education |
There are many great cartographically-themed XKCD comic strips (here are a bunch of my favorites). This particular one ALMOST looks right and finding the inaccuracies is a little harder than you might think (yes, I am proud of myself for finding them all, and yes, that is the ridiculous bit of profession pride).

Questions to Ponder: When you see a map, do you assume that it is 100% accurate? If so, how come? Where you able to find the “missing states” in this psuedo-map?
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Operation Warp Speed nears pinnacle of mission

"The head of the multibillion-dollar COVID-19 response operation tells 60 Minutes how his team hopes to distribute 600 million vaccine doses."

Seth Dixon's insight:
This video from 60 Minutes (Nov 8th, 2020) is about many things related to the United States government’s plan to distribution a vaccine. The “oh so American” name of this is Operation Warp Speed, because clearly time is of the essence. I’m not a medical doctor or a chemist so I don’t want to focus on the creation of a vaccine, let’s just imagine that a workable vaccine is in place. What I want you to consider is this: how would you get this vaccine to the American people? This is a logistics problem and it requires a geographic solution. In the video (right around the 1:55 mark), you will see Geographic Information Systems (GIS) being used as key tools to make more informed decisions (notice the variety of data layers being used to jointly to understand the process better). As the great geography educator Joseph Manzo said, “Geography cannot solve all of the world’s problems; but no problem can be solved without Geography.”
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Do we really live longer than our ancestors?

Do we really live longer than our ancestors? | Geography Education |
The wonders of modern medicine and nutrition make it easy to believe we enjoy longer lives than at any time in human history, but we may not be that special after all.
Seth Dixon's insight:
This BBC article explores many of our assumptions about demographic issues before statistics were recorded. This article especially looks at the notion that our life span has been increasing throughout history. This would be a good article to get some background information about stage 1 of the demographic transition. In a nutshell, the article’s premise is that just because life expectancy is increasing, it does not mean that our lifespan is the main reason. The main reason life expectancy has improved is that more children are surviving their early years not because we have extended the lifespan of elderly so much.  See on GeoEd at:
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Considering Geographic Outcomes of the Pandemic

Considering Geographic Outcomes of the Pandemic | Geography Education |
So many things about society have been reshaped by the emergence and spread of Coronavirus this last year. I would encourage you to consider what some of the geographic factors that have shaped your world, but how the new wrinkle of a pandemic is either amplifying the effect of reversing some old patterns. Distance, scale, density, diffusion, regions, interactions, and connectivity are some of the many factors you may wish to consider. There are many articles to consider but I would like to share a few.

Economic: Covid-19 has reshaped many industries; some for the better, but many more for the worse. The garment industry has taken many early hits as clothing shopping (unlike grocery shopping) was not considered essential. Some that retrofitted their operation to mask production were able to rally but many parts of the clothing commodity chain have been negatively impacted (Source: South China Post).

Cultural: Wearing masks have become a critical part of the global fight against the pandemic. Some societies before the pandemic had strong mask-wearing cultures (like Japan), while other had cultural norms against wearing masks in public (like France). The pandemic is changing France and many Niqab-wearing Muslims have thoughts on masking wearing and connected cultural issues (Source: NPR podcast).

Mapping: We’ve seen so many maps stemming from the spread of COVID-19, but these maps have us reconsider our neighborhoods and our places of interaction during pandemic were all the “normal” rules of interaction got upended. How 2020 Remapped Our Worlds (Source: CityLab).

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Remembering a Geography Education Legend

Remembering a Geography Education Legend | Geography Education |
Last year, I was considering ways to get some of the “ancestors” of AP Human Geography to the reading. Alec Murphy was the Professional Development Night speaker at the 2019 APHG reading. I was hoping to have James Marran address the APHG reading community but he has passed away. ETS has asked me to share this letter to remember him as a pioneer for the APHG community and geography education.
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Geography and the Coronavirus

Geography and the Coronavirus | Geography Education |
There are far too many geographic issues that stem out of the Coronavirus pandemic to create anything close to comprehensive, but I wanted to share some of the articles that caught my eye recently because they touch on particularly geographic themes. So, this will not give a global overview, predictions, or breaking news, but some of the underlying issues and questions that we are now grappling with as so many are now in some form of self-isolation.
Seth Dixon's insight:
Linked here are 10 resources that educators can use to link COVID-19 to geographic concepts.  It's all geography folks. 
ezra low's curator insight, May 7, 2020 6:30 AM
Informative link to a blog that supports real world learning. This blog type entry provides several different catergories of data. Options include an interactive map as pictured, in which you can choose a certain country to investigate. Additional options allow you to look at a bell curve of cases, live cases or total cases. Very god exploratory map that could allow students to utilise a web-based tool that supports real world learning. The blog additionally has links to how the world has been effected by this pandamic, with some information on nature affects etc. Good for secondary educators, and can easily utilise some of this content for human geography - disease being endemic, epidemic and pandemic.
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Learning From Home

Learning From Home | Geography Education |

"As all of us are hunkering down, universities and high schools are adopting some online teaching strategies. Many people are streaming entertainment content to pass the time with family or roommates as our lifeline to the outside world. While these might not be top on your streaming list of videos, podcasts, or online content, all of these are solid content that teach us plenty about the cultural landscape or about the world around us. This list will continue to be updated as I haven’t watched/listened to everything here as of yet (I’ll be glad to take your suggestions @ProfessorDixon)."

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The Beauty of Terraced Fields

The Beauty of Terraced Fields | Geography Education |
"For thousands of years, when farmers in mountainous regions have expanded their farms to grow crops on the steep slopes, they have carved massive steps into the terrain, forming terraces of many small platforms. Following the contours of the mountains, the edges of the terraces create sinuous patterns in the landscape, presenting picturesque images. Gathered here are photos from China, Switzerland, Vietnam, Peru, the Philippines, and Japan."
Seth Dixon's insight:
This gallery of 27 terraced rice fields is absolutely fabulous. I find these to be some of the more beautiful cultural landscapes; I’m drawn to the great extent of agricultural modifications of the environment, coupled with the rugged physical landscape. Read with links at: ;
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Which Countries are in the European Union in 2020, Which Aren't, and Which Want to Join?

Which Countries are in the European Union in 2020, Which Aren't, and Which Want to Join? | Geography Education |
The UK has finally officially left the European Union (EU), almost four years after its famous "Brexit" vote, and taken the British territory of Gibraltar out with it. Here's our updated map and list of which countries are in the EU, which ones are trying to join, and which European countries are in neither group.
Seth Dixon's insight:
Today I’m teaching the my first class on “the Geography of Europe” since the UK has officially withdrawn from the European Union. As I went looking for any updated map of the EU, I found this excellent article along with the map and thought it was worth sharing. Since Brexit has finally been formalized, these snarky tweets were fun (but only visible with the links here):
Denise Patrylo-Murray's curator insight, March 18, 2020 2:38 PM
Use for UN unit and Revolutions
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Mapping the Coronavirus

Mapping the Coronavirus | Geography Education |
Empty description
Seth Dixon's insight:
After several inaccurate maps spread misinformation (dare I say, in a viral fashion?), I felt it would be important to not only share some good maps, but the most data-rich maps as well. Here is a link to the Center of Disease Control’s (CDC) page about the Coronavirus.and a copy of their map (accurate as of Feb 24) in the image below.
My favorite source is a GIS dashboard from John Hopkins that is incredibly detailed. This is a great way to show how big data, mapping, and geography become very relevant. Check it out with the links here:
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