Interactive (“clickable”) maps are a tool to focus student attention on just one or two selected topics at a time. Reducing distracting clutter can make it easier for students to acquire and use specific skills of spatial reasoning. Careful selection of topics can promote thoughtful inquiry in primary school and at the same time provide a strong factual foundation for more complex studies in later grades. Participants in this webinar will explore examples of clickable maps designed to support K-8 learning progressions in geography, U.S. and world history, economics, and earth science.
About the Presenter:
Phil Gersmehl is emeritus professor at the University of Minnesota. One of the third generation of “Teacher Gersmehls,” he received a BA in Education from Concordia Teachers College, River Forest, Illinois, and a PhD in Geography from the University of Georgia, then taught at Concordia for five years before moving to the University of Minnesota. There, he helped develop several distance-learning courses and large-enrollment classes, including an innovative general-education course on the Language of Maps, which led to an Annenberg Public-TV project and a course manual that is now distributed by the National Council for Geographic Education. In 1990, the Association of American Geographers asked Phil to serve as Director of ARGUS (Activities and Readings in the Geography of the United States), ARGWorld (Activities and Resources in the Geography of the World), and the Teaching Geography Project. During 12 years of funded projects, Phil authored a number of interactive computer simulations and made presentations in summer institutes and other teacher workshops in 34 states, Canada, Japan, Korea, and Russia. Meanwhile, his research about erosion control, soil productivity, GIS applications, and the neuropsychology of spatial cognition has resulted in four healed gullies, some kindergarten and first-grade teaching units, a package of curricular scaffolds and interactive maps, and his election as a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. A third edition of his book, Teaching Geography, was published by Guilford Press in 2014. Recently, he has been working with teams of Michigan teachers to develop and test lessons to meet the new social-studies standards in that state.
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