On 26 April 2017, K-State Education students were asked the following question: Which country do you believe will be the world leader in 2050? The map below shows their answers.
As a representative of the Kansas Geographic Alliance (KGA), I visited a social studies methods class in April 2017 to talk about how pre-service educators can incorporate maps and geographic perspectives into their lesson plans. The power to the building went out for the first half of the three-hour workshop. Forced back to the "Dark Ages," we postponed the technological portion of the workshop for later in the training session. Instead, we addressed the concept of place by drawing and discussing mental maps of our local communities. We then critically analyzed a National Geographic map depicting the "Cradle of Western Civilization," which included Egypt, Syria, Israel, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, among other relevant places. We addressed topics such as population density, mobility, climate, resources (i.e., oil in the Gulf of Suez), and contested places (i.e., Cyprus). After the electricity returned to the building, we considered how to use web mapping within the classroom. The students obtained introductory skills in making web maps while using the ArcGIS platform by Esri. I would like to thank Dr. Michelle Adler for allowing me the opportunity to conduct this workshop in her class.
The Kansas Social Studies Conference in Abilene, KS was a fantastic time! Social studies teachers from all over the state and elsewhere (Colorado and Missouri) congregated here to share insights and ideas. Dr. Phil Gersmehl gave an excellent presentation on the neuroscience of geographic thinking and how to optimize geography education in the social studies classroom. Erika Nelson of the Kansas Humanities Council spoke about protest art in Kansas.
I presented today with Rhonda Lefferd and Dr. Lisa Tabor Millsaps, covering topics ranging from Kansas cultural ecology to guerrilla social studies. Rhonda and I discussed maps and the multidimensional geographies of Kansas. Lisa, the audience, and I created countries from objects within our surroundings at the visitor center of the Eisenhower Presidential Library and Museum. It was a fun, informative, and unconventional day of workshops.
Below are some PDF links to the presentations we gave. Special thanks to all of our sources of inspiration, including (but not limited to) the Kansas Geographic Alliance, Dr. John Harrington, Jr., The Geography Collective, Daniel Raven-Ellison, and others.
Larsen, T. and R. Lefferd. 2016. P4 Cultural Ecology Workshop: Plants, People, Places, Patterns. 2016 Kansas Council for Social Studies Conference. Abilene, KS.
Larsen, T., and L.K. Tabor Millsaps. 2016. Guerrilla Social Studies. 2016 Kansas Council for Social Studies Conference. Abilene, KS.
Harrington, J.A., Jr., and T. Larsen. 2016. Geography in History and Social Studies Education. Kansas Geographic Alliance Preservice Workshop at Kansas State University, Manhattan, Kansas, 19 October.
Larsen, T. 2016. How Can All Teachers Increase Geoliteracy? Kansas Geographic Alliance Preservice Workshop at Mid-America Nazarene University, Olathe, Kansas, 6 October.