I just read the article "Study: Geography Greek to young Americans" on CNN.com and was even more disturbed than I usually am when I read about the failings of the American educational system. I spend my time on this blog rambling on about how we need to use technology as a tool, how much technology can help us teach, etc., but then I read the following statistics:
- 1/3 of Americans aged 18-24 can't find Louisiana on a map
- 2/3 of Americans in this age group can't find Iraq on a map
- Almost half cannot find India!
Yet we have incredible tools available to us to help teach basic geography. Google Earth is quite possibly one of the coolest tools on the planet, runs on my piece of junk donated computers, and does a fantastic job of visualizing just about any place you might want to find. Mapquest, Yahoo maps, AAA, and countless other sites all have great mapping tools that run on virtually any computer. Kids never even have to break out a dreaded book or (gasp!) a globe.
The tools are available to even miserably-funded public schools. Use them! Please!
Short post, I know, but I'm off to make sure my kids know where mapquest is.