The January K12News newsletter from Education Market Research noted that in a recent survey “Maps, time lines, charts and graphs” were the second most liked feature of teachers’ current Social Studies textbooks at 47.3%, virtually unchanged from the previous sample in 2010. These figures confirm that maps are an integral part of the Social Studies curriculum and a ‘must-have’ for teachers. However, the fact that less than half the respondents indicated that they were satisfied with the current offering points to a need to improve what is being offered to them.
This also correlates with problems that teachers pointed to with their current curricula: “not enough digital resources” (42.6%) and “information not up to date” (37.2%).These figures aren’t surprising given the average age of textbooks in the classroom, which has reached a recent high in recent memory of over 5 years.
Teachers love and use maps because they are engaging teaching objects that are not only beautiful, but tell stories, convey information, and provide teaching and learning opportunities not only in Social Studies, but across disciplines. But they have to be relevant, accurate and current. No longer can maps be thought of as images or even disconnected objects – even when they do have interactivity added.
The world is an ever-changing place and the next generation of mapping platforms are able to reflect those changes quickly and easily as changes occur in the real world. They will allow students to explore the world in much more detail and to apply critical thinking skills to the data that they can see and manipulate. Not only will these new mapping platforms provide publishers with content that is highly valued by teachers in a highly interactive digital format and which can be updated and kept current on the fly, but it will also increase the efficiency of implementation.
These new mapping platforms can also be leveraged across disciplines so that teachers can provide engaging learning opportunities that support and enhance Common Core standards and/ or state standards to all students, regardless of their course of study. Sharing of resources like maps across titles has long been standard practice. New generations of mapping platforms will allow the platform to be leveraged not only “New generations of mapping platforms will allow the platform to be leveraged not only across titles, but across disciplines, allowing teachers to provide standards-based learning that leverages geospatial concepts across titles, but across disciplines, allowing teachers to provide standards-based learning that leverages geospatial concepts, investigation and analytic thinking.
Maps.com has rolled out a new interactive map series call Field Trip Library that takes students on journeys around the world without ever having to leave their desk. We are doing this with a mapping platform that is responsive, interactive and highly adaptive. This is just the beginning of the future of mapping in education. Come along with us to see what’s next.