Take a look at this image. Which waterfall is shown in this image? What clues exist on the landscape to help you choose among the three options listed?
Where is this glaciated terrain located?
Examining maps and imagery seems to be an engaging activity for many people, young and old, all around the world. Consider the number of maps and images delivered daily by web GIS servers. I contend that the number requested for people who simply enjoy looking at the Earth compares favorably to the number served for wayfinding and research purposes. This interest can be effectively taken advantage in education by engaging students in a series of images or maps as a quiz or a contest. At the Esri User Conference each year, the “Where in the World” sets of imagery on display always attract a crowd.
For nearly 20 years, I have frequently used map and image quizzes in classes I have taught and presentations I have conducted for geography, environmental studies, earth science, and other classes. These quizzes can be easily created and effectively used through the use of ArcGIS Online. Using ArcGIS Online’s presentation mode, for example, I created a 20-question Earth quiz. This quiz includes the images shown above as well as waterfalls, glaciers, deserts, rainforests, volcanoes, cities, and much more.
You can view the quiz in presentation mode.
More importantly, you can also run it inside ArcGIS Explorer Online so that you will be able to change the scale and basemaps, posing and answering questions, and fostering deeper inquiry into places and the processes at work behind those places.
For example, when you engage your students in discussing glaciation using the above slide, you can zoom in to examine south versus north facing slopes and the amount of snow cover on each. You can zoom out until someone recognizes the location. Then you can discuss the effect of latitude and altitude on glaciation. You can change the basemap to topographic to determine the height of the mountains and the depth of the valleys and determine slopes. You can add land cover, climate, and population map layers and discuss how each is affected by the presence of these glaciated mountains along the west coast of this country. Thus, these are by no means static “slides” and calling them slides is really a misnomer.
Even better, instructors can create their own quizzes focused on other processes, specific themes, specific regions, or their own community. Consider a quiz-based presentation focused on a community issue such as an area proposed for rezoning, or a process such as river meanders, erosion, and sedimentation.
Well, how did you score on the 20-question Earth Quiz? How might you use the idea of an Earth Quiz in your own instruction? How might you use ArcGIS Online in your own instruction?
- Joseph Kerski, Esri Education Manager