“As all of us are hunkering down, universities and high schools are adopting some online teaching strategies. Many people are streaming entertainment content to pass the time with family or roommates as our lifeline to the outside world. While these might not be top on your streaming list of videos, podcasts, or online content, all of these are solid content that teach us plenty about the cultural landscape or about the world around us. This list will continue to be updated as I haven’t watched/listened to everything here as of yet (I’ll be glad to take your suggestions @ProfessorDixon).” SOURCE: Geography Education
I’ll try to organize these by platform accessibility: NETFLIX, AMAZON PRIME, PBS, PODCASTS, SHORT VIDEOS, Teacher-produced videos, explorable websites, and other movies. Check out the full list.
“This image of GPS tracking of multiple wolves in six different packs around Voyageurs National Park was created in the framework of the Voyageurs Wolf Project. It is an excellent illustration of how much wolf packs in general avoid each other’s range.” SOURCE: Earthly Mission
Maps are powerful tools to demonstrate spatial ideas and concepts. Wolves are territorial, and using GPS trackers to understand this really drives home the point. Here is a similarly fantastic map of an eagle’s flight paths shows the patterns amid noise.
With these tools at my disposal I stumbled on the decision to learn about my city by running every single street, exploring the cultural landscape, and make the training miles a part of a bigger goal. With this newfound understanding of my city, I’ve mapped over 100 changes on OpenStreetMap (OSM) to give my newfound knowledge a bit of public utility. The light blue line in the image below is the Cranston (RI) city boundary; As of March 12, I’ve officially run #EverySingleStreet, 100% of Cranston roads. It was a quixotic goal, but an absolutely thrilling way to comibne my love of running, cartography, Cranston, and exploring the cultural landscape.
TOOLS: Using GPS data in mapping tools such as ArcGIS.com or Google Earth doesn’t require a lot of expertise, but gathering the data out in the field can usually be done with an app that can create a .GPX file (search your app store for GPX). You can use GPS Visualizer to convert files, create GPX files or convert files to other formats. Look at the screengrab below to see some of the options, especially the ‘sandbox’ tool which lets you create a GPX file.
“For thousands of years, when farmers in mountainous regions have expanded their farms to grow crops on the steep slopes, they have carved massive steps into the terrain, forming terraces of many small platforms. Following the contours of the mountains, the edges of the terraces create sinuous patterns in the landscape, presenting picturesque images. Gathered here are photos from China, Switzerland, Vietnam, Peru, the Philippines, and Japan.” SOURCE: The Atlantic
This gallery of 27 terraced rice fields is absolutely fabulous. I find these to be some of the more beautiful cultural landscapes; I’m drawn to the great extent of agricultural modifications of the environment, coupled with the rugged physical landscape.
In many geography classes, teachers will assign students a country to help them gain some depth about one particular country as a way to explore economic, demographic, cultural, political, and environmental issues. These are some data visualization tools that deals with big data; the listed tools are some of my favorite in part because they can easily to incorporated to an ArcGIS StoryMap (especially in the Map Journal template).
The best comparison and the most relatable thing for students to see in other countries is real people, leading regular lives. Dollar Street brings the economic realities of other places without some of the of the negative stereotypes or romanticizing far-away places.
Gapminder is a tremendous resource that I’ve shared in the past and total fertility rates is an ideal metric to see in this data visualization tool. This is one of the best ways to visualize global statistics. The world is changing–see how.
Today I’m teaching the my first class on “the Geography of Europe” since the UK has officially withdrawn from the European Union. As I went looking for any updated map of the EU, I found this excellent article along with the map and thought it was worth sharing. Since Brexit has finally been formalized, these snarky tweets were fun:
My Irish passport is so technologically advanced it allows me to live, work and study in 27 other countries 🤭 https://t.co/1y81wDIx3o
“The deadliest violence in India’s capital for decades leaves 23 people dead and scores injured.” SOURCE: BBC
It is so disheartening to see the news that India is undergoing a wave of religious unrest. As citizen and immigration laws have been enacted that have a religious component to it, many feel that this is unfairly targeting Muslim migrants and refugees. Some see this as the beginning of a delegitimization of Muslim citizenship within India. As people are protesting these laws, there are groups that are also a violently clashing with protesters in the streets. Some are targeting Mosques, and the police have been unable to keep the peace. This is some nasty business that I hate to see anywhere, but if you need an example of how religion can be a centrifugal force in a country, this is a perfect example Here is an NPR podcast (and article) that also nicely covers the topic.
“We are tracking the COVID-19 spread in real-time on our interactive dashboard with data available for download. We are also modeling the spread of the virus.” SOURCE: GIS and DATA at Johns Hopkins University
“Emil is a social media-obsessed entrepreneur in one of the most remote places on earth: An abandoned Soviet mining village in Kyrgyzstan. Emil has returned to put his village on the map as an international tourist destination.” SOURCE: MailChimp
This delightful video shows the former Soviet mining town of Jyrgalan and a local entrepreneur that wants to revitalize the village economy, bring in the outside world, and make is home a tourist destination. It serves several purposes for a geography teacher. One, it’s a great portal into a Central Asian country where most of my students don’t have any real reference points. Two, the video highlights important geographic concepts such as tourism’s impact on indigenous cultures and globalization’s impact on previously isolated locations. Three, this is a great case study for a cultural landscape analysis. The video has some incredible juxtapositions; nomads wearing traditional clothes encountering adventure tourists outfitted in Patagonia gear, people in town cutting grass with scythes as well as gas lawn mowers, and traditional architectural styles intermixed with signs of modernity such as satellite antennas. The physical and cultural landscapes in this are absolutely stunning and worth the twelve minutes of your time.
“Way Back Home is the incredible new riding clip from Danny MacAskill, it follows him on a journey from Edinburgh back to his hometown Dunvegan, in the Isle of Skye.”
I love Danny Macaskill’s video that puts Scotland’s cultural and physical landscapes on display. This extreme sports clip is in many ways more about the places that are being shown that infused with gorgeous physical landscapes. The architecture, the historic sites, the everyday towns, and transportation infrastructure all speak to the importance of landscape in creating a place that is beloved by its people.
Not surprisingly, I’m also a fan of this other video, The Ridge. The Ridge is far more about the physical landscapes of Scotland than the cultural landscapes, but both are stunning.
“#TheRidge is the brand new film from Danny Macaskill… For the first time in one of his films Danny climbs aboard a mountain bike and returns to his native home of the Isle of Skye in Scotland to take on a death-defying ride along the notorious Cuillin Ridgeline.“