Download this file: png ppt pptx
See also my other slides and the Great Quotes About Learning and Change Flickr pool.
UPDATE 1: In addition to the great comments below, see also my follow-up post.
UPDATE 2: We're having a slide remake contest! Deadline is Aug 22, 2009.
I respectfully disagree. I'm all about Google maps as well, but my elementary students get a lot from globes.
August 13, 2009 at 01:03 PM
teacherninja and I agree...
Just because you CAN access something digitally, doesn't mean it is the only/best manner of consuming the information. Falling prey to the mantra of tech is always the better version can be dangerous to using the right tool at times... Since I have been teaching, there have been maps on my walls. Students are drawn to them, put their fingers over the rivers and borders... are curious. Paper maps have a place as does google earth/maps...
August 13, 2009 at 01:32 PM
Why not have both? Really have no respect for these black/white one or the other ONLY type of philosophies...in an age where we should be offering students as many options as possible, here you advocate for limiting that to the virtual world only? Virtual and paper each have their strengths and limitations and great educators will be able to harness both to enhance student learning.
Steve Yurkiw |
August 13, 2009 at 01:38 PM
Completely disagree. In addition to what everyone else already said, I don't have 24/7 access to computers for every child, whereas maps and globes can always be at hand.
August 13, 2009 at 02:01 PM
Sometimes your posts feel like an old uncle asking me to pull his finger.
So I'll pull....
I am a science teacher--I keep a globe in the room (technically it's OK, I didn't buy it). I love Google Earth, I've been using astronomy software for years, back when ducks still powered PCs, and I bought a GPS back when you still needed a mortgage to get one.
The globe has a phenomenal effect on kids when discussing gravity--it helps then to twist their heads inside out when they imagine themselves standing on a particular point.
I have yet to find something better than a lamp and a globe to explain seasons to kids (and to adults).
Heck, I even drag in a compass now and again. (We even make compasses with pins and magnets.)
A clever slide, and a provocative one, but, alas, not a wise one.
Michael Doyle |
August 13, 2009 at 02:57 PM
My library walls are plastered with maps of the world and geologic maps. I have two globes, and I'm planning a contest for students to figure out if they're accurate or out-of-date for a cash prize that will go to purchasing a *larger* globe. As a geography lover, I subscribe to lots of geography blogs, including Cartophilia, Strange Maps, Map Scroll, and the Map Room, all of which regularly post cool and amazing maps. Surely you're just trying to provoke contrary comments.
August 13, 2009 at 03:11 PM
I do occasionally throw a controversial idea out there just to see what happens and what learning might emerge. I’m getting a lot of pushback on this slide (which I always welcome), but let me explain my thinking here. The rhetoric of ‘firing’ educators obviously is a bit over the top but, as a former Social Studies teacher, my sentiment behind the slide is quite genuine.
In the real world (i.e., outside of K-12), mapping and geography, like everything else, are primarily digital, not analog. Maps are interactive, hyperlinkable, data-assignable, manipulable, mashup-able, and so on. Geographic computer simulations and modeling are increasingly the norm, not the exception. Geographers’ skill sets now include being knowledgeable about location theory, consumer spatial behavior, market area analysis, emergency services management, and the like. This is the mapping / geography paradigm for which we should be trying to prepare students, not one that involves pulling down a roller map or grabbing a rotating globe on a stand.
If you’ve got old globes or maps (and flashlights) laying around and you find them useful, great. But every penny you spend on the old paradigm is one less that gets spent on the hardware and/or software necessary to prepare students for real-world, relevant, authentic digital mapping and geography. I don’t think public schools should be spending their money on old paradigms. So I stand by my slide…
Scott McLeod |
August 13, 2009 at 04:19 PM
We still believe that the world is round geographically. (Economics? That's another story.) It can be hard for some levels of learners to visualize a round world without a globe!
And maps! I am in awe of a well drawn map for its aesthetics. There are some beautiful antiques out there. I used to have USGS Topo maps of cool places hanging on the walls of my house. I daydream about the BWCAW with my big book of Fisher maps.
I do geocache with my GPS and I do wilderness navigation with it as well, but the big picture view is almost always supplied by a paper trail map.
I also carry my compass because I hate to be totally dependent on batteries or a clear overhead view to the satellites. It's not that I am a Luddite, It's the experiences I have had with batteries in -40 degree weather. I have also lost the signal in the dense woods a few times.
I haven't had a chance to learn how navigate with a sextant yet, but I could see why that might be a pretty handy skill for global navigation.
I bet they still teach paper/compass/analog navigation at the military academies. Probably for much the same reason we still teach math facts, even though all you really need to do is use a calculator. In math it is called number sense. In Geography it gives a sense of what the computer is doing and how the machine got the answer.
I also have a hard time visualizing the Geography classroom without the maps! That would be like a gym without balls or a chemistry lab without bunsen burners.
Roger Whaley |
August 13, 2009 at 04:26 PM
I find your poster arrogant and elitist. Any teaching tool that works with kids is worthwhile. I love maps in any shape, form, or technology. So do kids. I've yet to meet a spherical computer-generated map or even seen one advertised for schools to buy.
Patricia Cone |
August 13, 2009 at 04:30 PM
Let's move away from the old paradigm. No more pencils, no more crayons, no more brushes and tempera, no more scissors. No more printed books, even if they have a nice handwritten note by the author. No more paper, even for origami.
You talk like someone educated in a multiple choice world. The answer is either A or B. No elaboration, no explanation, no creativity.
There is value in old things, too. Any educator who doesn't understand this should stay away from kids.
Bea Cantor |
August 13, 2009 at 04:45 PM
I respect you on many levels but this idea is one based upon ignorance (a topic is all too familiar to me). Let's put aside the wealth of issues facing education beyond a virtual or physical globe. Let's put aside that firing a teacher for trying to improve the class environment is disgusting. Let's put aside the value of primary source documentation and historical maps. Let's put aside the fact that this conversation deals nothing with pedagogy but continues the foster the notion of retro-fitting.
Instead, let me tell you a true story and remind you that there are many classrooms, schools, and educators that have little to nothing but whatever they can manage on slash budgets that were anything but robust in the first place.
We recently had a garage sale. Amongst the many things out there for sale was a globe for one dollar. Interestingly enough, the person that came up to purchase the globe was a teacher (the one you suggest we fire for doing this). In talking to her, she spends much of her summer going to garage and yard sales looking for items for her class because the school can't afford supplies. She, like other teachers out there, is using her own money to buy whatever she can.
Could she go buy a netbook? Perhaps. I'm sure she spends a couple hundred bucks each summer but we know Total Cost of Ownership goes well beyond that cost upfront cost.
I am always impressed by your thinking and your rhetorical approach to delicate issues. However, a comment of that level is insulting to educators and schools all over struggling to keep pace with those blessed to have everything.
In fact, you want a controversial statement? There are plenty of buttons to push like those schools that have everything but are doing little with it to the schools with little that are doing everything with it.
Educators around the world do what they can do with the environment in which they are presented. Let's remember, in this day so easy to critique everything non-technology, that the globe is much deeper and broader than Google Earth vs. a wall map.
Ryan Bretag |
August 13, 2009 at 04:51 PM
You act like teachers are buying $600 worth of globes. If that's the case, then, sure, their judgment should be questioned.
As it is, you're telling the majority of teachers they should choose nothing over a $10 globe. The choice is not between digital and analog, at least not here in the unreal world.
Russ Goerend |
August 13, 2009 at 04:51 PM
@Russ Goerend: Maybe it helps to explain that this slide was prompted by my attendance at a conference yesterday where vendors were hawking globes and maps. I was thinking more of institutional purchasing, not individual teachers doing their best to supplement the meager classroom environments that they may be provided. That's why I said public, not private, monies. Sorry if that wasn't totally clear.
@All: I LOVE old maps (and really old books too); I'm a Social Studies guy, how could I not? But I believe that if we have school monies to spend, they should be invested in necessary room upgrades and/or relevant technologies, not band-aid solutions and/or reinforcement of outdated models. The latter don't get us where we need to go and we have to stop coming up with resource and/or other excuses for not proceeding in the directions we should be. The SYSTEM (I'm not blaming individual teachers) is not doing what it needs to. We're supposed to be preparing our students for the next few decades, not the last few, remember? I think it's notable that no one yet has responded to my comments about the skills that are needed by modern geographers...
Scott McLeod |
August 13, 2009 at 05:02 PM
Your comment @all is not reflective of the argument you present on your slide. After all, you do blame teachers by saying "any educator".
Ryan Bretag |
August 13, 2009 at 05:16 PM
That really does help focus the slide, although the "fire the teacher" sentiment doesn't seem to fit the anti-"institutional purchasing" motivation.
Russ Goerend |
August 13, 2009 at 05:17 PM
Ryan's tweet sent me this way. And why was I interested? Because I just facilitated a group of teachers who were discussing Blij's Why Geography Matters and discussing these issues let alone the issues of the intersection of so many disciplines around geography...and technology.
If students never explore maps or globes, but only GPS units, then how are they to develop a deep understanding of geography? Sure, they can explore Google Earth, and they can tell stories across disciplines using that tool. We support that here, and we're blessed to have the technology for GPS units,laptop carts, 1:1 pilots in 4, 5 and 6th grades, and we also have students who can afford to travel. However, what happens when you take students to Rome, and give them a (ahem) map, and they can't figure out N,E,S,W and navigate? And, what happens when students need to just "reach out and touch something" in order for it to make sense to them?
If you weren't throwing it under the bus, I'd be OK. But I think our brand new Leeds-Gold-Certified Middle School with its full color, wall-to-wall flat maps of the world--combined with GPS units and a globe and Google Earth (that they use and annotate) is one heck of a "mash-up." And the fact that we have the luxury of taking it from K-12 because we're a private school? Incredible.
We just need to be able, through any avenues we have, to "take our kids there." And have them know where it is they are. We should be proud of any teacher who thinks that is important.
Laura Deisley |
August 13, 2009 at 05:23 PM
A little research reading on the cultural impact and the embedded knowledge aspect of tools needs to be considered. The map/globe is a designed, cultural tool, brimming with purpose, insight, and connections across time.
See Brown and Duguid, Situated Cognition and the Culture of Learning - p 33 on tools - http://edr.sagepub.com/cgi/content/abstract/18/1/32
I'll send you the paper if you can't access it online.
Terry Smith |
August 13, 2009 at 05:39 PM
Do you teach? Clearly not science or social studies. Globes are essential for teaching the effects of the earth's rotation; the composition of earth; the relationship between day and night; how the seasons change; why the weather is different at the equator from the way it is at the poles; relational distances between places; and how the geography of the ocean affects weather and climate; and how land forms change over time.
It also is helpful in social studies. Need I list the ways?
Deven Black |
August 13, 2009 at 05:59 PM
@Ryan Bretag, Russ Goerend: 'Educators' is the term I used for administrators, purchasing agents, teachers who requested this type of expenditure of funds, etc. - basically, anyone who wants to spend public school monies on this stuff. If you've got a better term, I'm open...
@Terry Smith: Thanks for the link. I'll track it down.
@Laura Deisley: I appreciate your thoughtful comment. And, yes, I did throw it under the bus. So what do you think it is about paper maps, for example, that you can't get with computer maps? They're both 2-dimensional, they're both colorful, they both have certain facts on them, they're both touchable. And yet the latter can do so much more as well... I didn't say students shouldn't be exploring maps or globes. I don't think they should be exploring analog maps or globes (and, as noted above, if we don't have digital spherical representations of the Earth (i.e., globes), then we need to make some). Paper maps are dying, just like books, magazines, and newspapers. We can fight it, we can be nostalgic about it, we can try to ignore it, but in the end it's all going digital. Why not recognize it and start working toward it?
Thanks for the excellent comments, everyone. Obviously this was meant to be a provocative slide. So far the conversation has been great!
Scott McLeod |
August 13, 2009 at 06:00 PM
I mainly agree with you per your further discussion in comments. My only issue (and you and I have discussed this before) is that your experience and mine seem to be at odds. You seem to think that teachers and schools have much more voice in how money is spent than I do (and even less so at elementary level) ... sometimes the choice is getting "anything" at all. Like the teachers at my daughters' high school that are thrilled because their chalkboards are being replaced by whiteboards with markers. That's the best upgrade they can get.
Brian Crosby |
August 13, 2009 at 06:05 PM
Administrators is a better term. Teachers don't make "institutional purchasing" decisions, so taking them off the hot seat would be a good start.
Russ Goerend |
August 13, 2009 at 06:06 PM
I'd go more with, " Any educator that teachers social studies / geography that doesn't know how to use digital maps and google earth should be fired." If you've already got them there are some decent uses and besides you might as well decorate your walls with something other than posters of the latest sports star.
Charlie A. Roy |
August 13, 2009 at 06:38 PM
As an elementary school instructional technologist who is also a former Social Studies teacher, I also respectfully disagree for the following reasons:
1. Not every room has a mounted projector to display maps, few in my school do.
2. In years of searching, I have yet to find real PRIMARY (k-2) maps available online in any source. These are simple, bright color and aimed at little kids.
3. We use Google Earth, Yahoo Maps, GPS and other technologies, we also use paper. Hands On Maps are HIGHLY useful with kids as well. We own those, I dont have a laptop with proper software for every child.
4. Small children dont get that the earth is round from a flat screen, globes show perspective. However, if you can provide me with a holodeck to show large three dimensional images that would be great!
5. Tactile senses are totally ignored by your argument as well. Many maps are 3D and you can actual feel the ridges of the mountains, I dont know how to do that on a computer.
6. Your argument is like saying lets throw out all the books in the library, the Kindle is here. So what if they are 400.00 a kid.
A bit exteme this time!
Kevin Johnson |
August 13, 2009 at 07:33 PM
I really *wanted* to disagree with your statement here... as a kinesthetic learner, a globe was a great way for me to wrap my mind around geography (by wrapping my hands around it!). But then I remembered going to school after watching the Berlin Wall fall on television. Our maps were instant relics! Of course, our teachers didn't scratch out the USSR and relabel it... I wonder how long it took them to purchase new, accurate maps? (Since we had pre-1961 Kansas flags in our classrooms as well, I think they stayed put for quite a while!)
Digital maps certainly have the advantage of being more easily manipulated... I'd like to see a study on the use of globes in classrooms at different levels, and then maybe I can take a side!
August 13, 2009 at 08:22 PM
So, how many people downloaded your slide? ;-) It is hard to add anything to what has already been said as there are so many good points denouncing the sentiment of this post, that there is little more to add. If all schools were well funded for technology, it may be closer to being true. If all children learned the same way, it may be closer to being true. If all teachers had sufficient technology training in relevant resources, it may be closer to being true. If my Garmin GPS successfully directed me to 100% of my destinations, it may be closer to being true! But, the truth in all these cases is that this is not reality. Provocative or not, I think this post was poor judgment and an example of how 'former' teachers lose touch with what is going on in the classroom.
Jonathan Wylie |
August 13, 2009 at 09:20 PM
Wow. This latest string of comments has been pretty interesting to me, particularly since I spend an unbelievable amount of time in schools working with educators compared to most academics. I don’t think anyone has ever accused me before of being out of touch with the needs of K-12 educators. Here are some of my thoughts…
@Russ Goerend: Maybe. It doesn’t get at the multitude of teachers who have varying degrees of input – including purposeful requests – into purchasing decisions. That’s why I didn’t just say ‘administrators.’ But your point is well-taken given the impetus for my post.
@Jonathan Wylie: If we are dismissing alternatives because they don’t work or aren’t correct 100% of the time, there wouldn’t be much from which to choose. Which is incorrect more often, printed maps or GPS units? I’d guess the former, simply because they’re outdated the moment they’re printed while current GPS units typically have the capability to update their maps, download traffic updates, overlay different types of data, etc.
@Brian Crosby, Jonathan Wylie, and others: There’s a difference between recognizing the status quo and accepting it. Brian, as I’ve said before, I empathize GREATLY with the conditions under which you and many teachers work. But that doesn’t mean we have to throw up our hands and settle for working within those constraints. I focus on leadership, right? Those are the folks that have the power to change the system. I advocate for the vision of what should be because someone has to if we’re ever going to achieve the changes that are needed in the system that we all recognize is holding us back. Sometimes that vision seems closer or more possible than other times, and clearly it is more immediately achievable in some districts than others. But, again, instead of advocating for the analog, I’d rather take every penny we have in public schools that is available for paper maps and globes and use it to buy and/or create advanced software, computers for kids, training for teachers, subsidized online access at home, and whatever else we need because the latter get us closer to the authentic work that current and future geographers do. If that’s not our goal as educators, it should be, and while paper maps and globes can be useful starting points, they’re insufficient to emulate real-life geography. The list of example careers listed by the American Association of Geographers (AAG) sure don’t look like analog jobs to me: http://bit.ly/2kwGOm
@Kevin Johnson, Laura Deisley, Michael Doyle, Deven Black, and everyone else: I appreciate your thoughtful input, particularly from those of you who are actively involved in teaching geography. Is there anything listed above that you’re using paper maps and globes to teach that can’t be taught equally as well - if not better - with appropriate software? If we don’t have what we need, let’s make it and distribute it online freely. I’m sure the AAG, National Geographic, and other would be glad to help!
Scott McLeod |
August 13, 2009 at 10:27 PM
Authentic and relevant new paradigms, huh?
Are those thoughts, or just automatic language perpetuating itself through the web?
Michael Umphrey |
August 13, 2009 at 10:27 PM
Like many others, I disagree with the blanket statement. I use Google Earth, Google Maps and several other tools when possible. These tools include pull-down maps. For one thing, they are always in the room and up. When teaching a lesson that mentions a country, region or area, it is far easier to pull down the map and point it out than it is to go get a projector, set it up, wait for a map to load, just to point to give a reference to the location.
Neil Postman might say that the blanket statement shows that digital technology has replaced something, while teachers need to incorporate it into learning.
August 14, 2009 at 12:03 AM
What about helping kids to appreciate cartography as an aspect of art or design? Seems like the sentiment in the slide discounts hundreds of years of map-making culture.
As a geography geek, most of my love of space and place came from learning to read UK Ordnance Survey maps.
My 5 year-old daughter has a globe beside her bed and is already in love with the idea of China - but she loves looking at her house in Google Earth too.
Once again the truth nestles comfortably between the two extremes.
Chris Thomson |
August 14, 2009 at 03:30 AM
I cannot believe you people are even wasting your time arguing with such a ridiculous statement.
Anyone making such a ignorant statement should lose his license to Internet.
August 14, 2009 at 05:54 AM
Scott, when I clicked your link I was already frothing at the mouth thinking I was going to find a treasure chest of free maps (complete with free shipping) to adorn my classroom walls with.
Instead, I'm psyched to find so many people who love and cherish brick and mortar maps as much as I do. They are truly irreplaceable as learning tools.
Thanks for bringing out the advocate in so many people!
Jason Flom |
August 14, 2009 at 06:04 AM
@Jason Flom: Glad to be of service! =)
Scott McLeod |
August 14, 2009 at 06:09 AM
Classrooms (yup, they still exist) should be FILLED of what Piaget called, "objects to think with." That includes gerbils, plants, art supplies, blocks, LEGO, microscopes, a piano, books, toys, dress-up clothes, maps, globes and.... You get the idea. (apply to your specific grade-level and then add more toys anyway)
Not only does this allow for tactile experiences (something I learned about when I studied to be a teacher) or used to seize the teachable moment, but may pique a kid's interest in a way you never anticipated while you thought you were teaching something else.
As long as there are still physical classrooms, they should be replete with physical objects. Loris Malaguzzi nicely describes the ideal classroom as "1,000 laboratories."
Gary Stager |
August 14, 2009 at 07:59 AM
Just to add a relevant anecdote from this morning:
A friend donated an "old" computer (5 year old Compaq) to me, knowing that I'm a teacher. He wiped it clean and installed a fresh install of Windows XP on it before giving it to me.
I just got an email from my network admin saying that he has to deny my request to use the Compaq on the network. (I had offered to donate it to the school so they were the owners, also that he could put whatever anti-virus on it that he needed.) They are working on getting a 4-year cycle going where no computer is ever older than 4 years. I don't blame him; as he said in his email, he has to stick to the precedent that's been set.
I just wanted to give an authentic example of what it's like for us educators looking to shift from the old paradigm. I had planned on using the Compaq strictly as a jump off point from my classroom blog to the Google Form/Spreadsheet based check in/out system for my classroom library.
Russ Goerend |
August 14, 2009 at 08:24 AM
You might want to point out to your sysadmin that there are libraries using open source computing solutions that have successfully incorporated 7 year old computers into their rotation, thereby extending the useful life of their hardware and making the most of taxpayer dollars: http://www.hclibrary.org/opensource/wp-content/uploads/file/CIL_Article.pdf
Shifting to this sort of paradigm would allow your IT department to make use of donated machines and other technology that has certainly not run its full lifecycle!
August 14, 2009 at 10:41 AM
Thanks, edh. I'll pass it along.
The computer won't go unused, I just can't hook it up the network (or Internet, obviously). I'll just have to get creative.
Russ Goerend |
August 14, 2009 at 12:11 PM
Let's play the Analogy Game™!
"This is the time of graphing, symbolic calculators. Any educator that spends money on paper and pencil should be fired."
No, I'm not buying it.
John Armstrong |
August 14, 2009 at 12:23 PM
I'm glad to see many of my same thoughts echoed here in the comments of this post. I just tried to tie together much of my thinking in my own post here: http://thetechnorateteacher.wordpress.com/2009/08/14/firing-map-buying-teachers/
@Gary Stager: One of my main thoughts was exactly what you said. Students minds will wander. Having a map of the world for them to wander to, rather than blank walls seems a much better option.
Todd Williamson |
August 14, 2009 at 03:21 PM
The globe in my room... is the very globe I've had since I was in (I think) grade six. Thinking back to 1999... the first year I taught marine biology from Missouri... I can perfectly honestly say that I have held that globe in my hands when discussing ideas with students probably... every night. (it is a night class that meets on Monday nights)
I LOVE Google Earth. Google Earth is amazing once you can imagine the 3D of the globe. That's all great... but when we pass it around, nothing says this planet has the wrong name than actually holding this cornflower blue sphere.
I help teachers throughout my building (and increasingly the district) integrate rich technologies into their classrooms. However........... I'll give up my globe when it is pried from my cold, dead hands.
Sean Nash |
August 14, 2009 at 07:56 PM
Actually- I can't imagine helping my marine bio students understand how the pull of the moon and sun drag oceans to and fro as tides. I need to make that concrete... concrete before we (most in class are Missourians who have never seen the ocean) step foot on the sands of the Bahamas in April.
Slides won't do it... simulations help. I'm a digitasl geek, but honestly... we need spheres that we can touch. Piaget knew this long ago. We have yet to vault our world beyond what he experienced and wrote about.
Sean Nash |
August 14, 2009 at 08:21 PM
Thanks for passing along the interesting post by Scott. As others have noted, extreme statements by educators are a great teaching tool. I'd model his statement by proposing that anyone who unequivocally believes in extreme philosophical positions should be fired. As for firing anyone, teacher or decisionmaking administrator who buys 2 or 3 dimensional physical models of the earth...I'd disagree because those kinds of tools are one more way of differentiating instruction. I remember running my fingers over the bumps of my 3-D globe and standing with the flashlight as my classmates moved models of the earth and the moon around the darkened room to simulate different types of eclipses.
I WOULD ask any teacher why they weren't using digital geography tools and fire them if they refused to use them. And I would see it as my responsibiity to make money available for both and to provide PD in their use.
I do like Scott's modus operandi of making an interesting extreme statement
Chris Toy |
August 15, 2009 at 08:11 AM
I am working with Communication Arts teachers in my district who are at disparate ends in using whole novels, picture books, or short, rich text to teach elements of literature in their high school classrooms. It's amazing how, in a very "global" (sorry:) way, this discussion is similar.
I encourage, much like Gary Stager so eloquently stated, the use of as many "toys" or maybe it's just flat out "tools" as possible to reach, teach, stoke, fire up, stretch, etc. the imaginations and background knowledge of our students in order for them to learn.
As an administrator, I can use these conversations, the push back, and your reflection (in addition to helping me take a stance on my thinking) to grow our teachers. Thanks to all who did and are still participating in this learning event.
Jeanette Westfall |
August 15, 2009 at 08:53 AM
My reactions to Scott's post and related comments are many coming from different perspectives.
Donated computers: To those in districts that don't allow donated machines to be "attached" to the school's network - You still may be able to get to the Internet with an ethernet cable - although you won't be logged-in to the network.
Firing teachers: Haven't we been maligned and attacked enough by the public and political groups! Should educators - especially one who might be considered a leader among educators - attack our colleagues who are using every tool in their toolboxes to reach and teach every child in these challenging times?
Did the writer stop to think that some principal - superintendent - or legislator might take this statement as a mandate and find a way to do just as stated? Stranger things have happened.
Let's be careful of making statements about firing teachers who are effective - whatever their tools. As one who is unemployed after dedicating myself to kids, teaching, and learning (both mine and theirs) for 36 years, the statement strikes a nerve.
Maps, posters, and other print tools:
For 20 of the past 23 years I taught in a computer lab with one-to-one computing. During most of this time I had an LCD projector. Last year a Promethean board was added to the mix - but there was still a map of the US and and one of the world on my wall. What great tools to answer a quick question while the Promethean board still displayed the main part of the lesson. What a great place for students to gather to talk about the election and demographics of the states! What a great visual to encourage dreams of visiting far away places! What a great way to see the whole thing large enough to actually read the names of cities, rivers, etc. .... and how about differentiating instruction for those tactile and visual learners.
I am sure that my love of the world started with my wooden puzzle of the US when I was a small child. I put it together continually - memorizing the shape and place of each state.
In the world of GPS, I still believe paper maps are a wonderful way to see the big picture and gather knowledge that helps make informed decisions, while GPS and Google Maps are helpful for the details. Those who know the big picture are not likely to allow a GPS to get them lost 25 miles off an interstate while chasing an ice cream - which happened to a friend I was following on a trip this summer.
Let's use all the tools at our disposal to help kids become lifelong learners. I have never seen a blank classroom wall educate a child. Let's tastefully expand learning by using walls, maps, posters, etc., along with appropriate technology to prepare our students for a successful future.
Rebecca Lawson |
August 15, 2009 at 10:00 AM
At the suggestion of Gene McCracken, I'm going to hold a slide makeover contest. Deadline is August 22, 2009.
See more at http://bit.ly/3hWvN
Scott McLeod |
August 15, 2009 at 11:33 AM
I like Google maps, don't get me wrong, but there is still something to be said for the old-school skill of map reading. For example, if you want to get out there and backpack to reconnect yourself to humanity, say the Appalachian Trail or around Europe, you will be using a paper (plastic, actually, since it holds up better but that is a minor detail) topographic map. No technology (too heavy, requires you to bring a load of batteries, etc.). So to have students not be able to access a technology that is available even if the power grid goes down would be doing them a disservice.
I don't see it as a black or white issue. Wall/paper maps aren't bad. Google Earth isn't good.
In fact, there are many flaws to GEarth. For one, you no longer need to know anything about finding a location based on latitude or longitude. You just have to type the lat/long numbers into the search and GEarth does the process for you. Or you need to type in the name of the location and again GEarth does the process for you.
It is important for students to know how to use latitude and longitude for the reason that finding a point on any grid system can be transferred to any other grid system. Being able to locate London if only being given the latitude and longitude and a paper or wall map requires them to move horizontally and vertically in the right direction, and with the right magnitude. The ability to do this also translates to astronomy (the sky is mapped on a grid system) which will let students later access the technology of telescopes. There is no GEarth for telescopes. No shortcut there.
It will also allow students to access all of their math courses which are based around a Cartesian plane. Polar coordinates are different, but being able to locate a place on Earth by latitude and longitude is still a scaffolding step that can even allow polar coordinate systems to become accessible.
My point is this -- as a digital native (I'm on the upper age end of the generation we are teaching ... yep I'm teaching members of my own generation) I am not as seduced by the pretty as the older folks around me. Most people see the slick graphics that Google and other Web 2.0 technologies offer. But ask your students and you'll see that they are not seduced by such imagery. They/we want a purpose. And if something is going to be a teaching tool, it should be a teaching tool.
What does GEarth help to teach that a paper/wall map cannot? What does a paper/wall map help to teach that GEarth cannot? You'll find if you ask yourself those two questions, that the paper/wall map comes out the victor, here. It can do everything that GEarth can do, and more.
Sure, you miss out on some of the "cool" ornamentation such as being able to see people's geotagged YouTube clips or photos (so?) and miss out on being able to see the specific location of radio tagged animals (this may have some applications in the classroom, but cannot justify the lack of a wall map), but you also teach your student an actual process skill.
I enjoy reading about those who say that teaching facts are dead and that it is now time to teach deeper thinking. GEarth cannot be used to teach deeper thinking. It is a fact engine.
Arguing for GEarth and away from wall maps would be the same as arguing for a book of chemical or physical data with easy-search capabilities and away from laboratory exercises. The end is not the point. It is the process to reach the end that matters.
August 15, 2009 at 02:05 PM
We iz haz cumputers now! Who needz penz!
August 15, 2009 at 04:19 PM
We took a family driving trip from Chicago to NYC this summer. We brought with a satellite navigation device and my iPhone, both of which gave us maps. Ironically, when we really needed the best directions, we turned to the big Rand McNally road atlas that we also had in the car. This was the best way for us to chart our way. My point is that we still need to teach map reading skills to students. Trying to find your way across a long distance with a 4" X 4" screen is quite difficult.
Dave Sherman |
August 16, 2009 at 02:29 PM
Scott - Do you see how difficult it is to reconcile these two statements?
Any educator that spends public money on wall maps or globes should be fired
I don’t claim to know the truth on all of this ‘what should the future of schools be?’ stuff.
I have to believe some people were concerned about the strength of your language (ie firing), but for me, I am more at odds with the line of thinking that, "I am right, therefore you are wrong".
Secondly, one what basis did we arrive at the tools everyone is taking sides to protect (or insert)?
One of my favorite pieces you have done is the article on instructional leadership questions. Would those questions, plus a strong understanding of the skills, knowledge, and dispositions which children should acquire in the area of geography lead us to the selection of the tools you listed? Could they lead us to simpler tools like globes and maps? Does that differ as kids become more capable of complex thought and reasoning?
I seriously don't know because I have not really thought about all of those components. Interestingly, those student skills, standards, are central to the discussion, but are really absent from the conversation. Everyone is stuck on the tools necessary... to do what?
Joel VerDuin |
August 17, 2009 at 09:38 AM
Comment # 49 to this post! A record over the 3 years?
I luv NPR - last Sunday's Weekend Edition was an educational home run. "Taking an American Vacation - Google Style" is definitely worth the listen - http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=111921898
Other items were NYU's middle east campus, digital textbooks in California and "teaching naked" (thankfully college, not K-12).
Pockets of change are rampant in education, while the core.......
Gene McCracken |
August 18, 2009 at 08:13 AM
PS (and comment #50)
Posted 2 slide remakes on the cited Flickr pool http://www.flickr.com/groups/858082@N25/pool/ - (perhaps we should start a new group?)
I didn't post the most minor remake - change "fired" to "fried" and "(served with a good muscatel, of course)"
Gene McCracken |
August 18, 2009 at 08:25 AM
Wow! Lots of comments. I don't even know if this was already addressed. I'm retired military. I spent 21 years working in intelligence. Maps were (and are) part and parcel to that field. We had geospatial analysts embedded in our organizations from the NGA (National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency - formerly NIMA) and worked extensively with GIS and other mapping software.
Digital maps are great, but even big boys (and girls) need the physical product when "boots hit the ground" You never know when a computer or a server is going to go down and the last thing you want to tell a commander (or a boss) is, "well, I had the map right here on the screen..." That will go over like a lead balloon. Additionally, screens are often not large enough (except at the strategic and operational level) to see extensive maps. Placing various data on the maps (layers) and than printing them out and putting it together and putting it on a wall gives an organization an opportunity to see the "big picture".
While this is not necessarily applicable to the classroom, it has always been my belief that we are to teach students about "real-world" uses for classroom activities. (caveat: I'm not advocating the promotion of military service to students. There are plenty of uses of maps in the civilian sector as well).
I agree with many other commentors about the joy of the physical product being on the wall and how students seem enthralled by them. I also agree with your sentiments though. There are many digital maps out there that can be used in lieu of hard copy maps. (One thing we tried to avoid was printing out maps if we didn't absolutely need them). There are definite advantages and disadvantages to both digital and hard-copy maps.
On a separate (and personal) note: I was once in charge of a map room that had over 300,000 maps from 1:25,000 up to 1:5,000,000 (mostly 1:50,000), mapping out the entire Middle East and North Africa. It was always fun going in there and looking at those maps. I love maps and rummaging through them is as much fun as some folks would have with the sports section of a newspaper!
August 18, 2009 at 09:05 PM
I showed this slide, and the one you did of the kid in desperate circumstances, in my presentation to 80 teachers and administrators in Connecticut yesterday. You can see the presentation here: http://www.slideshare.net/ABWatt/welcome-home and here: https://cais21stcentury.wikispaces.com/OCTOBER+20TH+PRESENTATIONS+%26+HANDOUTS
There was audible and visible startlement at both slides, and a widespread recognition that every school represented at the conference could do more with less.
So your ideas are having an effect. We were running behind on time, so I didn't have a chance to credit you either during or in posting the slideshow, but I will. Promise.
Andrew B. Watt |
October 21, 2009 at 04:27 PM
Have any slides on schools spending money upgrading Microsoft Office products?
Russ Goerend |
February 23, 2010 at 10:09 AM
Why would you spend money on paper. The students and staff at my school print so many unnecessary pages that end up in the recycle bin that we collect it for our "paper" for the year.
Gwen Lehman |
February 28, 2010 at 10:03 PM
I came upon this post through a Twitter message from Scott. When I saw this I laughed! I'm a school librarian and have been faced with this obstacle--buy new globes & atlas (they hadn't been updated since the decline of the Soviet Union) or use the funds for other resources. I have to admit that went with the other resources. More students can access the digital resources at the same time, they are updated and they are free. To say that the digital form doesn't allow for interactive lessons is not true. There are resources available that make this more feasible all the time and at a low cost. With an LCD projector, computer, screen/whiteboard/sheet, and a Mimio pad ($500) you've got an interactive experience.
Perhaps the firing statement is what has everyone fired up, but it sure made me think about the end of the year spending in my district and the stupid things they purchase just because they have money to spend. To me this statement should make all of us in education think about why we purchase the things we do and if it is the best option.
Gwen Lehman |
February 28, 2010 at 10:13 PM
Sir, you are an ass.
March 28, 2010 at 12:17 PM
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Associate Professor & Director, CASTLE, Iowa State University.