>Image via WikipediaI attended two sessions dealing with the relative lack of spatial thinking across the curriculum and throughout the K-12 years. Bob Kolvoord specifically addressed the recent marginalization of both geography and earth science, while Dr. Terence Cavanaugh demonstrated the potential for infusing maps into the English curriculum.
Kolvoord, using a SmartBoard, whizzed through a demo of Google Earth, using only his fingers! But with considerably less flash, he showed how another free tool, ArcExplorer-Java Edition for Education (AEJEE: pronounced “aay-jee”) could be utilized to analyze data on energy consumption, natural disasters, and even election results.
Later, Cavanaugh showed how using the many new tools available for free on the web, both teachers and their students have the ability to construct custom maps related to course content. For example, after reading Jon Krakauer’s Into the Wild, an American Studies class might track and recreate Chris McCandless’ journey using Google Maps. Or, if a teacher didn't have a lot of time, Google’s computers have already created maps for several works of literature, including Around the World in 80 Days, War and Peace, and (surprisingly, below) the 9/11 Commission Report. Click on the map below for greater detail. Search for these and more at http://books.google.com.
Lastly, an exceptional Google Certified Teacher named Jerome Burg has created at least 23 “Lit Trips”, organized by grade level, using Google Earth. His site includes The Kite Runner, The Aeneid, and The Grapes of Wrath, among many other works.