Friday, August 7, 2009

Don't know much about geography...

...but maybe I can change that!

I've just spent the last 15 minutes or so simultaneously educating and humiliating myself by playing the map games on our new database A to Z Maps Online. It definitely hurt my pride to see that I embody some of the worst stereotypes of Americans' grasp of world geography. That said, it was interesting to see which areas I knew better than others. When I played the Africa game, I found myself reasonably well-educated about the northern part of the continent. I could identify the countries based on a lifetime of watching news coverage of the Middle East. I could make some educated guesses about the extreme southern region from my knowledge of The No.1 Ladies Detective Agency series. That only left, well, most of the continent a blank. Fortunately, the more I played the games, the more answers I got right, and I think I improved my geographical knowledge considerably in a short period of time. Yes, all in the name of research, folks. (It was also fun).

The games alone would make this site a useful means of study, but the games represent only a small area of the database. There are maps here you can use in almost any subject of study: antique maps, plant and animal maps, fishing maps, climate change maps, current event maps, geology maps, environmental maps, holy land maps, weather maps, NASA maps and others. There are teaching tools such as lesson plans and puzzle handouts for you Education majors.

There's also a database of flags from all over the world, including state and provincial flags, national flags and flags of international organizations. I think you may be interested in using maps for your reports, and flags could be good illustrations for your PowerPoint presentations. There is just a wealth of information available, and I highly recommend you make use of this site during the upcoming school year.

The first day of classes is just 18 days from now! I can't believe it!

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