Friday, October 21, 2011

TGTA - Using Web 2.0 in the Geography Classroom

Today I have 90 minutes to show you some great tools that will enhance your teaching of Geography. These are all internet based and free. Some are focused on making your life easier in when searching for resources, the others are for use in the classroom.

Firstly, some inspiration...

What is Web 2.0?
View more presentations from Rebecca Nicholas.


Twitter can be used as both a search tool and also a tool in the classroom. An educational and more secure version of Twitter in the classroom is called Edmodo.

Twitter can also be used as a teaching tool in the classroom. Some examples on how to do this are found in the following slideshare presentation - Tweeting Geography.

Google Maps

Google Maps
is a great tool in the Geography classroom. Below is a video that will explain how to create a 'Google Map' in the classroom.

Other Useful Videos on Google Maps

Google Maps Introduction

Get the Weather with Google Maps

I have used Google Maps with students in class for both class activities and assessment tasks. Here are two examples below:

Year 11 Geography Field Trip - Mornington Peninsula

Year 9 Geography - Natural Disasters

Other Resources

Google For Educators

Google Lat Long Blog


Gapminder is one of the best tools available to analyse demographic data and population statistics. This workshop will show you what Gapminder can do and provide you with some ideas on how to use this great website in your Geography classroom.

Hans Rosling stated that 'There is no such thing as a western world or a developing world’. He followed on to say that:

Geography teachers and pupils are familiar with the concepts of 'less' and 'more' developed countries (LEDCs and MEDCs), of 'developed' and 'developing' countries and a global 'North-South Divide'.

For many years these concepts have helped students learn about inequality, however in recent decades there has been significant global convergence between these 'developed' and 'developing worlds', so much so that these concepts and terms no longer fit. In fact, they are wrong and if we use them we risk leaving students with a flawed view of the world that ignores recent economic and social change that has affected billions of people.

There is a need for geography teachers to challenge our assumptions, to change mindset and use a different vocabulary to describe the world. Young people need modern understanding of their diverse and changing world that is drawn from the reliable data that actually exists; they need this to understand the real change that is happening in their places and lives, and in the lives of others.

Geography has a powerful role to play in allowing students to build a current and knowledge-based world view, and to develop their understanding of meaningful data that is distinct from political discourse and personal opinion.

To read the rest of this article go to the following link - Geographical Association - Gapminder and World Mapper.

Gapminder was founded in February 2005 with the aim of providing facts and statistics to debunk myths people had about the difference between developed and developing countries. Hans Rosling, one of the founding members spoke for the first time at a TED conference in 2006.

There are also links to a number of teaching resources. These include a lesson overview of 200 Years that changed the World, a great powerpoint presentation explaining Life Expectancy and various other resources.

I have used Gapminder with my classes in a number of ways.

Introducing Analysis of Statistics
When introducing scattergraphs, I use it to explain how a scattergraph is created and why we use it to look for relationships. I then also look for anomolies in the data.

Explaining Relationships Between Data
If you are in a 1:1 environment, ask the students to create a 'Hans' video of a set of data that they have chosen. They can use various programs to record a voice-over whilst playing the data, including Jing, or Adobe Screen Capture. Once you have captured this video, you could upload it to a website and create a collaborative Google Map of Levels of Development.

This really is one of the best Geography resources I have used. It is incredibly engaging for the students and they love to discuss, watch and ask questions of the data.....

Other Gapminder Resources

Gapminder for Teachers
Gapminder and 21st Century Teaching

An Entire School Course Designed on Gapminder

50 Sites Like Gapminder

The OECD Factbook in Gapminder Graphs

The Gapminder Blog

Some Other Web 2.0 Tools

Poll Everywhere

This tool allows you to create polls and post them on blogs, wikis or in learning spaces. The results can also be texted in via mobile phone. Great for quizzes, pre-tests on topics and when looking for opinions in the classroom.Link
A poll for today:

Create your own sms poll at Poll Everywhere

And the results...


This is a Web2.0 tool that enables the user to create an online, interactive poster. So, next time you have a class activity to create a poster, consider this online alternative.

Web2.0 Glogster

Wordle is a tool to brainstorm or create an image of the main concepts in a text. Just for fun, I have created a wordle of the newly released rationale of the Australian Geography Curriculum.

Is this Geography?

Wordle: Australian Geography Curriculum Rational

GTAQ Facebook Page - Another interesting resource that you may find resources on (for those on Facebook).