Sunday, November 11, 2012

As it happens!

As discussed in a previous Spatialworlds posting, the introduction of the Australian Curriculum: Geography with specified content must not see the end of one of the most attractive and important parts of geography in the classroom, the ability of geography to be spontaneous and respond to what is happening in the world. Over the past months many things of significance  have happened in the world. However four events stand out and as a result there is a plethora of maps, articles and even resources on-line for teachers to use to study the events in the geography classroom. Here are just four of the biggies!! By no means the only world events that could be studied by a geography class in real time.

1. Hurricane Sandy: A media frenzy occurs after such a disaster, but what great classroom resources to teach about the event!

2. Conflict in Syria: resources available on-line as it happens

3. The US election
Elections are always a great opportunity to map resutls and trends. The recent election in the US was no exception.  Amongst all the red/blue election maps of the US was the cartogram map described below. This cartogram really showed what happened by factoring in population density as the criteria.  Unlike the normal map of the red and blue states this map exposed the extent of the support for Obama and the Democrats in a much more spatially valid way.

The typical red state/blue state map conceals much concerning the spatial voting patterns in the United States and fails to account for the population densities of these distributions. Really show what happened spatially.

* Comparing over time: a really interesting play with the change concept through maps. A series of maps shows that election of 2012 would have looked very different if the voting laws had not changed. A correlation and comparison with the 2012 red/blue states voting and a historical map of the slavery states is also of great interest when considering historical geography. Has there been a change over time in social attitudes in the US?

4. And lets not forget about the London Olympics in July What a wonderful chance this was to do some geography.

Not wanting to wish disaster or tedium on anyone, but I am sure there will be a number 5 and then 6 cataclysmic and/or significant world event in coming months.  Always a good opportuntiy to do some good geography and make some interesting spatial representations for the spontaneous geography classroom.

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