Glaciology in Greenland

“Sharyn Alfonsi goes to the top of the world to report on scientists trying to get to the bottom of climate change and sea level rise by studying one of the largest glaciers in the Arctic Circle.”


The 13 minute video clip from the show “60 Minutes” is a good introduction to the importance and difficulty of studying glacial melt, climate change, and the impacts of a receding ice sheet.  


Tags: physical, erosion, climate change, Greenland.

Historical Figures, Campus Controversies

Around the world, student activists are demanding that building and statutes commemorating historically figures whose legacies are now seen as morally dubious.


A new wave of international student activism has targeted names, mascots, statues and other symbols of historical figures at colleges and universities. Activists argue that the symbols should be removed as offensive reminders of hatred and violence. Many school officials acknowledge the historical complexities, but they argue that a better approach would be to teach students about the morally questionable acts of the past. Still others defend the symbols as harmless traditions.


Everyone who was been on a road trip with me knows I love monuments and statues.  As markers of memory, history, and place, monuments both reflect regional identity and are simultaneouly used to reshape how we think about communal identities.  Consequently, they can be hotly contested or be seen as a great unifying symbol.  This article has some great examples from the news about how identity and heritage are being recontructed with some controversial monuments. 

  • Jefferson Davis at UTexas
  • Brown U and Slave Trade
  • Harvard and ‘Veritas’
  • Amherst and its namesake
  • John Calhoun and Clemson/Yale
  • Cecil Rhodes at Oxford and Cape Town

Tags: historical, monuments, landscape.

iScore5 now ready for Android devices

Game while you learn. It’s FUN!

•  100s and 100s of AP-style Questions from easy to hard.
•  A leaderboard to rank your scores against students around the world.
•  You can iScore5 anywhere – much easier to carry around than a book!
•  Tell your parents you ARE STUDYING when they see you on your phone!


iScore5, everyone’s favorite app for AP Human Geography used to be only available through the Apple Store.  They now have explanations for answers since many many previous users requested that addition and have made their app open to be used on Android devices (available in the Google Play Store -$4.99). With five levels of questions at increasing difficulty, bonus and double bonus rounds and a study mode with extensive vocabulary, APHG students and teachers alike will find this a great test prep resource that is both fun and an intellectually stimulating way to get that score that they are looking for.   Closer to the APHG exam there will be a free trial related to FRQ practice which looks to be an exciting new addition to this great (and growing) product.

Tags: APHG, teacher training, edtech.

‘Sedated by software’: No one knows how to read maps anymore, experts say

The Royal Institute of Navigation are concerned about the nation’s cartographical know-how and have suggested schools start teaching basic navigation.


Today, many are unable to navigate without GPS devices, but they still need to learn map reading skills. They are convinced that their apps can do all the work and that an old fashioned paper map is outdated technology, but their spatial thinking skills become atrophied. Spatial skills are crucial for understanding the world as a global citizen, to understand your local environs and for making scientific discoveries.  So teach a kid how to read a map…the sooner the better. 


Tagsmapping, K12, location.

Pope Francis, Russian Orthodox patriarch to meet in Cuba

“After a split of more than 1,000 years, the persecution of Christian by extremists in the Middle East and Africa have brought the two churches closer.”


Pope Francis and the leader of the Russian Orthodox Church will meet in Cuba next week in a first-ever encounter between the heads of the Catholic and Russian Orthodox churches since the Great Schism of 1054.


Tags: religionChristianity.


Israel to create a new egalitarian prayer plaza at Western Wall

The government approved a plan to allow pluralistic, and mixed-gender prayer, at Judaism’s holy site.


In the past, Israeli policewomen have detained members of the religious group Women of the Wall for breaching orthodox rules governing prayers at the site. This is Judaism’s most holy site and orthodox traditions have legally prevailed here, defining who could be there and who could perform which religious rites (often on gender lines).  This fight represents a struggle to redefine the meaning and usage of public space in Jerusalem (among other complex issues).  The article states that “this marks an unprecedented move by the Israeli government to officially recognize the rights of Conservative, Reform and other Jewish denominations to hold organized prayer at the site.”


Tags: Israel, culture, genderspace, religion, Judaism,
Middle East.

There’s a Philly Sign Language Accent

“Speech with a drawl, twang, clipped consonants, broad vowels, slurred words or extra diphthongs might give away that the speaker is from the American South, Boston, the Midwest or elsewhere. The spice that a certain region may lend to spoken language can even be strong enough to flavor non-audible language as well. Indeed, American Sign Language (ASL) has its own accents. And like its audible counterpart, one of the strongest regional accents in ASL is that of Philadelphia residents, reports Nina Porzucki for PRI.”



Romania’s lost generation: inside the Iron Curtain’s orphanages

Romania’s Soviet-era approach to child rearing led to one of history’s most comprehensive studies on the effects of institutionalisation on young children.


In the past I have highlighted pro-natalist government policies (and private encouragement) such as Singapore’s National Night and Denmark’s “Do it for Denmark!” Those programs and policies are designed to slow down declining populations; agency, choice and the well-being of the next generation are deeply embedded into the fabric of those plans.  This horrific, historical example shows everything that could go wrong with enforced pro-natalists policies in an authoritarian government.  


TagsRomania, declining populations, historicalgovernance.