We all love maps. We all love cool historical artifacts. And we all love spy gadgets. What better place to get all three than the Central Intelligence Agency?
I’ve always known about the CIA World Factbook. You all probably already use that tool for geography, world history, and government. But I just found out about the CIA Flickr account. Who knew? They’ve uploaded multiple albums and collections with recently declassified maps, artifacts, and cool spy museum goodies.
The best part of the Flickr account for me is the eight decades Read more
Each year more than 100,000 Americans actively participate in Geography Awareness Week. Established by presidential proclamation more than 25 years ago, this annual public awareness program organized by National Geographic encourages citizens young and old to think and learn about the significance of place and how we affect and are affected by it.
Each third week of November, students, families and community members focus on the importance of geography by hosting events; using lessons, games, and challenges in the classroom; and often meeting with policymakers and business leaders as part of that year’s activities. Geography Awareness Week is supported by year-long access to materials and resources for teachers, parents, community activists and all geographically minded global citizens.
This year’s theme, to help celebrate the very cool anniversary of the National Park Service, is Explore the Power of Parks.
Want a piece of this? Head over and check out these resources: Read more
National Geographic has always been the go-to for geography goodies. You get lesson plans, teaching resources, maps, and even more maps.
And they always have had great map making tools. But they just got better. Their MapMaker has been updated with new features, the biggest one for many of you is the ability to use the tool on mobile devices.
But they’ve also added some new interactive tools:
- Country Facts and Flags – Explore and discover information about countries and territories around the world. Customize the fill and border colors to make this map layer your own.
- Latitude and Longitude – See the coordinates of any place on earth.
- Custom Text, Photos, Videos – Use markers, lines, or shapes to tell your story on MapMaker by adding in text, photos, and videos with the rich editing tool.
Start with a blank world map that allows Read more
I’m in Denver at the 2016 version of the madhouse that is the #ISTE2016 conference. Helping to spread the Best Keynote goodness and doing a session on Google tools later on. And it’s always fun. I see old friends and make new ones. I learn new things. But it can get to be a bit of nerd overload. After a while, the conversation about server loads, bit rates, digital learning environments, edtech synergy, companies that spell their names with a Z instead of an S, and the next technology revolution gets to be a little much.
So it’s kind of nice to slow down a bit with other social studies folks to talk about maps and historical thinking skills. Yes. It is a session with the word digital in the title but it’s digital maps from the Library of Congress. I’m okay with that.
Presented by Sherrie Calloway and Cappi Castro, the session focused on ways to support historical thinking and problem solving while using maps. Sherri and Cappi are part of the very cool Library of Congress Teaching with Primary Sources (TPS) program maintained by the TPS Western Region people at Metro State here in the Denver area.
And just so you know, the TPS program is awesome, if for no other reason than Read more
We may be a nation divided by politics, religion, sports teams, and BBQ type. But we can all agree on one thing.
Maps are awesome.
And free maps are more awesomer.
So when I found out about the map site maintained by National Park Ranger Matt Holly, it was a very good day. Matt, already famous for the cutest stick story ever, is now becoming even more famous for uploading over 1000 National Park Service maps in PDF format for easy online access.
Seriously. How cool is that?
Simply titled Read more
In one of my favorite map books, How to Lie With Maps, Mark Monmonier suggests that Americans are taught from an early age to analyze and understand the meaning and manipulation of words in areas such as advertising, political campaigns, and the news. He calls it being “cautious consumers of words.” I’m not entirely convinced that we actually do a very good job of this (though I think we are getting better at having kids close read text and recognize bias.)
But I do agree with his statement that we rarely teach the same skills about maps. Many social studies teachers seem unsure of what and how to teach geography thinking skills and so kids often leave our classrooms without the tools they need to be successful.
A recent article by Andrew Wiseman titled When Maps Lie: Tips from a Geographer on How to Avoid Being Fooled can help. Read more