Sep 302008
 

“Can we do neo-geography this lesson?” asked a student today. Well no because it was supposed to be History. Nevertheless I’ve decided that I’d like my Year 7 students to be able to create an original map by the end of the term using Google Earth/Maps. The kind of map I envisage could include for example:

Hazards on way to school
Land-use in a rural area
Micro-climate study
Affective mapping of local area
Geo-located poems photos or artwork
Geo-located story
Guide for local visitors
A parkour / BMX / skate map
A “know-where” hang out map
A best dog walking route

For example:

map link

Thinking about the skill progression required to elevate younger students into fully qualified neo-geographers would go something like this: (some of the steps require just a few minutes to consolidate, others would need a lesson or two) Google Earth / Maps required!

  1. Find a place / use postcode look-up / search box
  2. Create a placemark / select appropriate icon
  3. Measure distance using ruler – e.g from home to school
  4. Create a path e.g from home to school
  5. Collaborate with others e.g. save placemarks / paths to a shared folder / collaboration tool in My Maps
  6. Organise the Places folder
  7. Use layers to add information to the map e.g roads / Wikipedia / Panoramio / 3d buildings / real-time data e.g weather / earthquakes
  8. Be able to turn terrain on and off and adjust exaggeration
  9. Take a photo with a phone / digital camera and upload to Flickr (issues in some schools – need for parent’s permission?)
  10. Add photos to a place mark (from Flickr  etc) using img tag (from Flickr)  <img src=” replace this text with the link to the photo “>  and use You Tube embed code to add video
  11. Create multimedia tours / be able to adjust tour settings
  12. Add polygons to represent land use / data etc. Be able to adjust colour and opacity
  13. Be able to import data from GPS (optional)
  14. Create simple geo-located graphs using Google Spreadsheets or even easier, Rich Chart Live (see this post)
  15. Complete a decision-making exercise using multiple data sources e.g my San Francisco lesson
  16. Understand relative advantages / disadvantages of different mapping systems for example by using Where’s The Path?
  17. Create a Google account (with parent’s permission) and be familiar with My Maps
  18. Create an original map as a final assignment. More able students could create Sketch Up models / use GE Graph / create overlays to demonstrate advanced neo-geography skills.

The core geographical concepts are based on location, scale and place. Students should be able to collect field data and create a map for a real audience. The learning sequence offers the opportunity for some highly personalised, participatory geography. The best outcomes would see students sharing their work on a blog or some other public community. Any thoughts?