Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Things to use, think about and just look at!

Field Papers: an amazing resource for the geography classroom.

This resource is worth a posting by itself. What a magnificent resource for the geography classroom. An answer to a geographer dreams! Field Papers allows you to print a multipage paper atlas of anywhere in the world and take it outside, offline, in the field. You can scribble on it, draw things, make notes.

When you upload a snapshot of your print to Field Papers does some magic on the server to put it back in the right spot on the map. You can transcribe your notes into digital form and share the result with your friends or download the notes for later analysis.

"You don't need a GPS to make a map or learn complicated desktop GIS software to use Field Papers. It's as easy as print, mark, scan."

This project is a continuation of Walking Papers, which was built for the OpenStreetMap (OSM) editing community. Field Papers allows you to print multiple-page atlases using several map styles (including satellite imagery and black and white cartography to save ink) and has built in note annotation tools with GIS format downloads. Field Papers also supports user accounts so you can save“your stuff” for later, or use the service anonymously.

21st Century Information fluency
Over recent years I have been doing quite a bit of work on the impact of the ballooning information Age on 21st Century learning, curriculum and pedagogy. The following links and video on Information Fluency just adds gristle to the argument that we should not be only focused on content in schools but primarily about how to access, critique and use the plethora of information out there in cyberspace.
Firstly watch this video on 21st Information Fluency; fascinating!
Digital Information Fluency (DIF) is the ability to find, evaluate and use digital information effectively, efficiently and ethically. DIF involves Internet search skills that start with understanding how digital information is different from print information, knowing how to use specialized tools for finding digital information and strengthening the dispositions needed in the digital information environment. As teachers and librarians develop these skills and teach them to students, students will become better equipped to achieve their information needs. In short, Information fluency is the ability to apply the skills associated with information literacy, computer literacy and critical thinking to address and solve information problems across disciplines, across academic levels, and across information format structures. Such a focus has a huge implication to what and how we teach in geography in schools

Food security
A unit on Food Security was met with mixed responses when it came out in the recent scope and sequence of the draft Australian Curriculum: Geography. It is really a ‘no-brainer’ that food security is one of the fundamental issues facing the world in the 21stCentury and should be part of the geography curriculum. These materials from the RIO+20 website may be able to convince some and support the inclusion of this topic in the curriculum.

As the site says

“It is time to rethink how we grow, share and consume our food. If done right, agriculture, forestry and fisheries can provide nutritious food for all and generate decent incomes, while supporting people-centred rural development and protecting the environment.”

While on the RIO+20: The Future We Want site , check out the tabs on Water, Disasters, Cities, Oceans and Energy. All great resources for the teaching of the Australian Curriculum: Geography.

Historical maps

The David Rumsey Historical Map Collection is an amazing collection of maps which can be used for historical geography. A very small sample ofhis collection is now contained inside ArcGIS Online.
While there also have a look at the World Maps-1790 and 1812 with sample explorer routes

The map gallery opens the door to a number of key geographic concepts and human and physical aspects of our world. Maps include ones relevant to Latitude and Longitude, Land Change, Gross national Income, Elevation, Political Borders, Rural-Urban Population, Topography, Population and Agricultural Land Use. .

ArcGIS on-line

Whilst visiting, go to ArcGIS on-line and start making maps.

Watch the video at ascertain the value of ArcGIS on-line for the geography classroom. For example, enter a search term (like World Bank), view the gallery, or make a map from scratch. A series of videos on the site will guide you through the processes to get started.

Now for some pure GLAT (Gee Look At That): Paris from the top of the Eiffel Tower. Enjoy.

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