No.. this is not about neo – paleo geography..
Like you is have been both funny and down right scary to watch this years collection of ‘Stupid People who know nothing about the world” videos, the two most popular I include below.
Where is my Map
Europe – is that a Country ?
Although both these examples are American, this is not just a problem in the United States, similar levels of ignorance are reported on this side of the Atlantic also..
What can be done, should we worry, well on one level the “Capes and Bays” fact based Geography which taught you the major rivers of each country and their capital cities has not been taught since the days of flip-top desks and ink bottles, and perhaps we should not worry too much about this. Although underlying the funny videos is a general lack of this type of knowledge.
The bigger concern is that Geography and the understanding and explaining the patterns in the world around us is just not seen as cool.. and this is a time when the change to the environment around us is seen as our biggest threat to continued happiness.
The Geography teacher is always the butt of jokes about corduroy jackets with leather elbow patches..
Perhaps technology can help here, can using GPS, Mobile phones that know your location and tools like Google Earth make Geography a cool subject.. well maybe at least they can help. Google in the UK this week announced a set of resources for use by teachers and many of them make use of Maps and Google Earth. These resources include lesson plans and links to additional resources which are really useful for Teachers, and potentially something you as a geospatial professional could offer to help out with at your children’s school.
Last year I spent a happy lunchtime helping my Daughters class map their playground in Google Earth using a few GPS devices.. if your worry about the state of Geography Teaching and Knowledge, get out there and help change things…
Written and Submitted from the La Palma Hotel, Stresa, Italy, using its wifi network.