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Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Geography Activities and Tools for Teaching and Learning

I collected the activities and tools below in my reading about geospatial education over the last few months. My criteria for including one in this list: These are ideas/technologies I might actually use in my own classes.

Mystery Skype

Remember the good old "twenty question" game? You ask "yes" or "no" questions try to hone in on a famous person, place or thing. Mystery Skype is similar, expect that it's played by two classrooms in different geographies using Skype and the goal is to determine the location of the other class.

One class in Massachusetts divided into teams with different jobs ranging from those who asked the questions, to those who used Google to learn more, those who used Google Maps to find possible answers, to those who used state puzzles to remove states that could not be a possible answer.

Could this fit into your educational objectives for geography, even for college students?

- Mr. Avery's Classroom Blog
- Stamford Advocate

Overlap Maps

This online tool allows users to compare the size of a one feature (country, county, river, etc.) to another (country, county, river, etc.) You simply select the two things to compare from pulldown menus, then click the arrow for the Overlap Map! Or as the page puts it:
An Overlap Map is a map of one part of the world that overlaps a different part of the world. Overlap Maps show relative size.
- Overlap Maps


NoteMap is a web-based app that allows the user to draw lines and polygons or add symbols, notes and icons to a map. The result is basically a unique webpage, with its own URL. That URL is available for sharing. (The site is built on open source OpenLayers and Dojo and uses OpenStreetMap basemap data). I can imagine students using NoteMap to produce project reports or quiz answers.

- NoteMap
- details

Scholars Lab Step by Step

While the Scholars Lab offers far more than tutorials for bringing data into maps, that part of it is quite valuable. The short "cookbook" type lessons include text and graphics outlining basic mapping appropriate for non-GIS users. Most tap ArcGIS Online, though others use Google Maps and HyperCities.

The description from the site (which reveals other reasons this is an authoritative resource):
Spatial Humanities Step By Step is a peer-reviewed series of tutorials and guides to getting things done in teaching and research with spatial tools and resources.
- Scholars Lab Step by Step