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Where Are the Jobs & Racial Dot Maps. What could you do with this?

I’ve been to the Fast Company network of sites in the past but I need to learn to spend more time over there, uh . . . researching possible post topics. Yeah. That’s it. Not wasting time reading interesting articles about how Batman videos have evolved over time. I’m over there investing valuable minutes tracking down very appropriate articles directly tied to education related subjects.


Okay. A few articles may be tough to defend education-wise but you’ve got four channels – Exist, Design, Create, Video – to choose from and you can find a ton of interesting reads here. If nothing else, you’ve got some great writing prompts.

A recent research trip to the Exist channel uncovered two of my favorite things: a map and another map.

The most recent map claims to highlight every single job in America with a variety of different colors. The map plots out each job with an actual dot in four simplified categories. Factory and trade jobs are red, professional jobs are blue, health care, education, and government jobs are green, and service jobs like retail are yellow.” It is interactive, allowing you to zoom and scroll from one place to another, providing a chance to see patterns both small and large.

jobs map

The job map is based on code created for an earlier map that includes 308,745,538 different dots. Each dot represents a person from the 2010 census. Each dot is also color coded to represent that person’s ethnicity.

racial map

Created by the Cooper Center, the map provides a powerful way to visualize race in a very concrete way. Slate has a nice article highlighting the map’s data at both the macro and micro levels.

Robert Manduca, the Harvard PhD student who created the jobs map says

Dot maps like this one and the racial dot map are particularly useful for visualizing density, especially of people. There’s a certain simplicity to them – one dot equals one job or one person – that makes them powerful and relatively straightforward to interpret.

Here’s your homework for the day. How might a social studies teacher use one or both of these maps as part of teaching and learning? Could they be used together?

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