Size matters

One of the things about having part of your life open to others is they start to feed you the good stuff.

It happened yesterday when my friend Alfred Thompson shared this image.

His friends joined into the discussion and soon, two URL were shared that kept me busy for a while.  Remember me and maps?  Alfred was good enough to tag me so that I didn’t miss these two.

I say this a lot and I won’t apologize – this is addictive.

The True Size of…

Upon visiting, you’re plunked in the middle of an example.  In the dialogue box, top left, clear the map and start exploring.  In the search box, you have the opportunity to enter either a country or a state and then drag/drop it anywhere on a world map to look at the relative sizes.  So, to answer Alfred’s question about Alaska and Europe…

And I was off.  How does Canada compare with Australia?  Clear the map, select Canada and drag it to the southern hemisphere.

That was fun.  There were a couple of observations in doing so.

We know that the world map we’re accustomed to seeing on classroom walls is flat and distorted to compensate for a rounded earth.  As you drag big ol’ Canada near the equator, you see it shrink and then expand again as you move further south.  Whether or not the level of resizing is accurate can’t be proven; you just have to accept that the resource does it correctly.  Even if not, it’s a good visual of what should happen.

The other thing that’s of real interest is, once you’ve selected your state or country, mousing over the image generates a popup that provides the data about the land size selected.  That can be very helpful.

Map fanatics will enjoy this.  Formula 1 fans will really have to zoom in to pick up Monaco.

Not to stop there but another link was shared in our discussion.

My Life Elsewhere

This takes the option of comparing countries beyond the visible. 

Visitors to the site are invited to compare one country to another.  In my case, it was off to Denmark.

Salary is but one way to compare the two countries.  Look for data like life span, environment, etc.  It’s a great comparison and, of course, you’ll want to compare the two in size.

The mapping tool is interesting although not as flexible as The True Size.  The worldwide etiquette is interesting, to say the least.  I now know about tipping in Australia.

Thank you, Alfred, for opening the door to this exploration.  I had a wonderful time exploring.   The classroom applications are many and I could see the crafted educator using these tools in a discussion of world events.


OTR Links 03/31/2016

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Who is responsible?

This story should get your blood moving/boiling this morning.

Students struggle with digital skills because their teachers lack confidence

It’s an interesting article from Australia, references are made to the Information and Communications Technology Capacity and, of course, the results of testing students.

So, who’s to blame?

If you stick to the title, it’s obviously the teachers. 

But let’s step back and cut a little slack here.  How many of today’s teachers grew up using technology appropriately in their own learning?  How many of today’s teachers are self-taught which typically means learning a skill set to satisfy their needs?  How much of the technology that is infused into schools is actually supported other than making sure that it actually works?

I think that the success numbers for reading, writing, and numeracy help build the argument.  For years, professional learning growth and opportunities have centred around these skills.  They’re seen as necessary for success.  Into the fray comes digital literacy. 

Isn’t it time that it has the same importance for staff development? 

It’s not an easy target to hit.  The examples of digital literacy skills in the article are wide open to interpretation as to just what they exactly mean.  And, the skill to do it varies from computer to computer, software to software, operating system to operating system.

At present, we’re all over the map.  I just took a look at my Hootsuite columns for my groups and I see discussions ranging from coding in the classroom to looking for a simple program to support reading on an iPad.

Given all this, you could hardly blame teachers for a “lack of confidence”.

Does the responsibility lie there?  Do we force things to get better by testing teachers as suggested in the article?

Or does the responsibility lie equally with the school, the school district, the Education Services, Teacher Training Universities, or a collaborative of all?

I’d be very interested in your thoughts and reflections on this topic.  Please comment below.

OTR Links 03/30/2016

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Visualising population

Give me a good map and I’m occupied for hours.

Such was the case with the World Population Map.

This resource maps population growth and much more.

Check out the bottom of the screen for a scrubber bar that lets you visualise the growth of population from the past to the present.

The coloured lines point to various themes along the way.  Mouse over any of the white triangles to get a description of a specific event.

So often, in History and Social Studies, we may focus on the topic and location, forgetting that there’s a whole rest of the world that may be affected or is affecting the topic at hand.

My first exploration was of Canadian milestones.

1812 (Mandatory if you live in a War of 1812 community
1867  Confederation and Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Quebec, and Ontario join
1870  Manitoba joins
1871  British Columbia joins
1873  Prince Edward Island joins
1905  Saskatchewan and Alberta join
1949  Newfoundland and Labrador join
1870  Northwest Territories joins
1898  Yukon Territory joins
1999 Welcome Nunavut
1967 100 Years old already
1914 World War I
1939 World War II

Use this resource to see the changing landscape – Historical Maps of Canada

And that’s just a start.  Check out the world population for your favourite historical event. 

Or just play with the scrubber bar to visualise how the population grew along the timeline.  It’s fascinating.

What would a resource like this be without educational support?  There is indeed a section devoted to Teacher Resources.

This is definitely something to bookmark and pull out to use at the appropriate time.