It ranks right up there with the Holiday season, KC Chiefs football, and the first weekend of the college basketball tournament. It’s National Council for the Social Studies conference week. I’m lucky enough to get front row seats and am trying to live blog my way through it.
Dr. Phil Gersmehl is rocking the room with brain science and maps. His basic point:
“Kids like pretty maps. But they usually don’t learn from them.”
He’s using brain research to show how our brains unconsciously encode maps differently. What we remember depends on how we encode it. He highlighted some ways that this works and my mind is officially blown. I’ve always been a huge map fan. And I’ve always known that maps can lie. They can be used incorrectly and be confusing.
But I’ve never really thought about the reasons why. This is why he says:
Kids don’t just learn stuff from maps on their own.
Need an example?
We all know that I spent a significant amount of my formative years digging through old National Geographic maps. You know the ones I’m talking about. They got slipped into the middle of the magazine and unfolded into poster size after you discovered them. I still have an old shoebox full of them. Cause they’re just so cool.
So it shouldn’t surprise any of you that an online article about maps, especially one from National Geographic, is going to catch my attention. But before we head over to take a look, a quick geography mental map quiz.
First step, create a mental map of the world. (If you’ve got a few extra minutes and some paper and pencil, feel free to draw it out.)
Based on your mental (or actual) map of the world, answer a few simple questions:
- How much of South America is east of Miami, Florida?
- How much of Africa is north of the equator?
- Which city is further north – Paris, France or Montreal, Canada?
- Venice, Italy is located at the same latitude of what major American city?
- Which is bigger? The lower 48 United States or Brazil?
It’s no secret that History Tech loves the maps. I still get a bit giddy whenever a new National Geographic mag shows up with a historical map insert. Cause . . . maps are cool.
So it’s not a surprise that I’m also in love with all things Google map related. There’s the basic Google Maps and Maps app. You’ve got both the original, downloadable – and by far the best – version of Google Earth and the new version of Google Earth they created so it would play nice with Chromebooks. You’ve got the relatively new Google My Maps. You’ve got the Street View and Expeditions apps. And there’s hundreds of third party tools using Google Map API code that do all sorts of fun things.
And then there’s the often forgotten little brother of the Google Map world – Google Tour Builder. Tour Builder came out about Read more
Yes. I know. The 2017 NCSS conference is over. We’ve had turkey and pumpkin pie since then.
But events on the last NCSS day started to run together and I got seriously sidetracked a couple of times chatting with people that I ran into. So today you get the official final History Nerdfest 2017 post. And thanks to National Geographic, one of my favorites.
You know I love maps, right? National Geographic is all about maps. So anything NatGeo does is automatically awesome.
And their new Geo-Inquiry Process is awesome. Geo-Inquries are designed to help students understand how the complex and dynamic human and natural systems interact in order to help them make smart decisions. Using both “a geographic perspective and the Geo-Inquiry Process students begin to connect complex components, see patterns, and make connections that change their communities.”
It’s a five step process:
The goal is to create students with an explorer mindset:
- attitudes of an explorer – curiosity, responsibility, and empowerment
- skills necessary for exploration – observation, communication, collaboration, and problem solving
- knowledge areas – Our Changing Planet, The Human Journey, Wildlife, and Wild Places
Think PBL with a geographic perspective and an emphasis on action. The idea aligns well with the NCSS Inquiry Arc and our state standards – focusing on process rather than just content. This seems like the perfect tool for Read more
This morning, I feel old.
As in, that old guy who gets up at 5:30 am, eats a hard boiled egg with black coffee, and wanders around the neighborhood mumbling something about early to bed, early to rise.
Saturday morning at #ncss17 is always a bit slow. And I probably actually am that old grumpy guy but this morning seems especially sparse. It’s ten minutes before the first session and there are four of us here. And no presenter. I need more coffee.
And of course, a couple of Newsela folks show up and it’s an awesome session. Cause . . . it’s maps and Newela.
I love Google My Maps and Newsela. Combining them together just makes sense.
JJ, the Newsela guy in charge this morning, kicked off our conversation by talking about what he called the “edtech ecosystem” that exists in our classrooms. I like that. There are healthy ecosystems and ones that aren’t as healthy. I love this idea.
So . . . Read more
This week, Geography Awareness Week celebrates 30 years of geo goodness. Established in 1987, the week is designed to promote geography and highlight the relevance of a geographic education in preparing citizens to understand and debate pressing social and environmental issues and problems.
This year’s theme focuses on the Geography of Civil Rights Movements. A recent American Association of Geographers press release suggests that a “civil rights-themed Geography Awareness Week can be an important moment, especially during these turbulent political times, to come to terms with the nation’s unreconciled legacies of oppression and domination.”
The AAG goes on: Read more