What are all these news reporters and school administrators doing in a Rhode Island College Geography classroom? Monday, September 24, 2012 was most certainly an interesting day in the Mapping Our Changing World class.
A RIC student applied some mapping skills and spatial analysis to a string of unsolved bank robberies in Rhode Island. After 7 months of eluding capture with at least 8 robberies under his belt, the “bearded bandit” was apprehended less than 48 hours after my student handed over his analysis to a contact in the police department. Coincidence? I think not! Great work Nic, showing that spatial thinking and geographic skills can be applied to a wide range of disciplines and activities.
To understand today’s global conflicts, forget economics and technology and take a hard look at a map, writes Robert D. Kaplan.
This is a timely article that shows the importance of geography in understanding current events throughout the world. Also included in this link are videos and pictures connected to an interactive map that highlights a few global conflicts. Students would benefit from reading this article in preparation for completing a news article assignment. Geographic context always matters; it might not tell the whole story but it will certainly shape it.
RIGEA is commited to promoting geographic education and geo-literacy. Currently out main communication platform is our email listserv (RIGEA-L@LISTSERV.RI.NET). To subscribe send a message to LISTSERV@RIDE.RI.NET. Leave the subject line blank and turn off your signature. In the body of the message write “subscribe RIGEA-L ” and include your name.
President Obama participated in this year’s National Geographic Bee to to “celebrate the important role that geography plays in all our lives.” During that event he made a statement that I think geographers should use more. Go to 0:45-1:10 in the video clip to hear this message or see the transcript below.
“The study of geography is about more than just memorizing places on a map. It’s about understanding the complexity of our world, appreciating the diversity of cultures that exists across continents. And in the end, it’s about using all that knowledge to help bridge divides and bring people together.”
Next week (Sept. 12th) I will be the presenter for the webinar for NCGE members entitled, “Social Media for the Geography Classroom.” I look forward to my first webinar on the other side of the screen.
While touring Kevin Babola’s art studio yesterday, I found this thought-provoking piece entitled ‘Political Landscapes.’ I greatly enjoyed my conversation with the artist about the political, economic and urban visions that went into this painting. The conceptual idea behind this painting started when the artist was exploring the neighborhoods of New Bedford, MA and noticed how a sense of place can change very quickly. I dare say most cities have areas similar to the one portrayed here where the socioeconomic character changes very abruptly. While physically it might be very easy to cross from the side of the street with tenements to the neighborhood with single family homes, making that transition permanent is incredibly difficult.
Questions to ponder: what leads to cities having abrupt changes in the urban fabric? What might this chasm represent to people on either side of the divide? How does this impact the neighborhood institutions (schools, local government, etc.)? Please visit the artist’s webpage at: http://www.kbolaillustration.com
“EarthView is an educational outreach project of the Department of Geography at Bridgewater State University.”
Bridgewater State is home to the Massachusetts Geographic Alliance and home to Project Earthview (I’ve never been so jealous of a globe before). This inflatable, hand-painted globe in a fantastic teaching resource. You can even enter the globe with a group under 20 and explore the Earth from the inside out. The link is to the Earthview blog, with provides information of the project to take this globe to local schools, and other geographic resources. UPDATE: This event was televised by WGGB with the clip now online.