Today is a travel day so Day 4 of the Geography standards will be Thursday, but I did want to point out the efforts of various organizations such as the AAG who are calling on their membership and others to support recognition of Geography as No Child Left Behind is before congress for reauthorization. To learn more head over to the AAG website.
It never rains but it pours, so while I wait for ArcMap to finish export yet another map, I wanted to let you fellow grad students out there know about the 2008-2009 Yahoo! PhD Student Fellowships. They are looking for people in a number of areas of research related to developing/programming, but check out the announcement, as there may be some creative ways to play up your work. The benefits include full tuition and fees for 2 years, $1000 gift to your academic department, and invitations to research events. The deadline for applications is December 14, 2007, and you can find the full details here.
The New Media panel for the AAG in Boston (April 08) is turning out nicely and we are going with an education theme. I would like to get one more person on the panel so that I can just moderate (yup, I am that lazy) so if you are going to be at the AAG and you are interested in New Media in Geography Education (formal and informal) send me an email. Also, I will be in the Geography Education student paper competition with a paper on basically the same topic as the panel if you are interested in my spiel.
Over in the UK a new movement has popped up…Guerrilla Geography. So far there has only been one activity so far where they have taken Geography education to the streets in Birmingham. The next event is planned for London in mid-October and future events already planned including a food fight event that I am waiting to hear details about. We hope to talk to Daniel Raven-Ellison about Guerilla Geography and Give Geography its Place. Hopefully we can extend Guerrilla Geography to the US around AAG or Where 2.0.
The BBC reported on a new teaching system in Singapore that utilizes ‘mixed reality’ technologies, a combination of real world information supported through visualization using head mounted displays. They use the HMDs to interact with planets, plants, and other objects. While I think this is a great idea, I am a little confused when it comes to k-12 education as it seems to have a significant tech trend that reaches from neat toys in the classroom to entire curriculum being taught online. Either way, kudos to the folks who are rolling out this technology. I hope to see better implementations of augmented reality find their way into consumer hands in the not too distant future.
This is a incredible display by a 2 year old of geographic knowledge! The video runs rather long at 8 minutes or so, but it’s impressive to watch. This girl gets an impressive number of countries correct, some of which, sadly, I’m not sure I could find without a little work!
The creators of the kids’ show Zula Patrol, which airs on PBS stations, are partnering with IBM to create an online immersive virtual world. Called Zulaworld, it will be targeted toward 4-8 year olds, and will be aimed at both home users and schools. According to the press release: “The large site will have multiple points of entry and layered content to correspond with the needs of kids at different stages of development. At the same time, educators and teachers will have access to a virtual world that supports lesson planning and global communication, while parents can access a host of different website controls.”
Not much detail is available right now, but it will be interesting to see how the IBM partnership helps shape the development of Zulaworld and whether it sees significant use in the classroom.
On Sunday in San Diego, CA, teams of students from 18 countries will meet in the National Geographic World Championship. Each country’s 3-person team consists of winners in national geography bee competitions, and will have to get through a preliminary round that includes a written portion and an outdoor activity, to get to the finals at SeaWorld’s Shamu Stadium on August 9th. The finals will be moderated by Alex Trebek, host of TV’s “Jeopardy.”
The US is the defending champion, and will be facing teams from Argentina, Australia, Bulgaria, Canada, Chinese Taipei, France, Germany, Ghana, Hungary, India, Mexico, Nigeria, Poland, Romania, Russia, Singapore and the UK. Good luck to all the teams, and if you’re in San Diego next week, maybe you can head over to Shamu Stadium and cheer the kids on!
So, the day has finally arrived. We have begun the process of moving WVU’s Dept of Geology and Geography, including the GIS labs where we work, to our newly-renovated building which the university spent something like $28 million dollars on. It is a little bittersweet to leave White Hall, and a lot of great pioneering GIS academic work went on here for the last 15 years or so, and some pretty big names in GIS have visited or served as faculty in this building.
Our shiny new building and labs are great, though, and we’ll be settling in as soon as they get the door locks programmed, the Internet and LAN up and running, the furniture moved…….
As you might imagine, we may be a little light on the blogging again this week, but then we’ll be settled in our new lab and won’t have to travel again for at least a month, and maybe we can finally catch up!
While we were at the ESRI UC, we had a chance to talk with Drew Stephens, who is the founder of a great program called Service at Sea. The idea is to sail around the world with a group of GIS technology professionals, teachers and students, making various stops along the way to provide GIS support and training to local community organizations involved in conservation and other initiatives. The staff on board the Service at Sea sailboat will be volunteers and a small paid crew. I think there may still be opportunities for people to volunteer as well.
Service at Sea’s boat is called the Copper Sky, and the program had a symbolic launch last Friday morning in San Diego at the end of the ESRI UC. The actual program begins in July and focuses on helping organizations along the Pacific Coast up to Valdez in Alaska. After a short break for the holidays, the second segment is planned to focus on Mexico and Central America.
It’s really a great idea, a great way for members of the GIS community to help get their expertise out to local communities who really need it, and Drew has a lot of passion and energy for the project, so I think it will be an amazing experience. They have already lined up some sponsors as well, including ESRI, National Geographic Society, AAG, and Soul Fabric Films and others. The project has also been getting some good press, including a short article at SailWorld’s website.