Teaching Demography and Population Change using Web GIS Tools and Data

04-03-2019 07:36 AM
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Esri Frequent Contributor
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Effective teaching and learning about demography and population change is enriched through the use of web mapping tools and spatial data.  These tools and data sets foster critical thinking and spatial thinking, learning about content, scale, change, and systems. In the attached document, I describe 8 short activities: Comparison of urban areas around the world, exploring population change at multiple scales, and investigating community demographic characteristics using a variety of spatial analytical tools and interactive online maps and charts.  Feel free to use these tools in your own instruction from secondary to university level. These activities and a thorough description of each will soon be published in a special issues about the 2020 Census in The Geography Teacher journal.

These activities have 6 common themes:  They all use interactive maps; freely accessible with no log in via the web.  They all focus on real-world investigations, inquiry and problem solving, use a variety of themes and scales, highlight change over space and time, and foster learning about interconnected systems (the carbon cycle, weather and climate, population dynamics, commerce).  

--Joseph Kerski

About the Author
I believe that spatial thinking can transform education and society through the application of Geographic Information Systems for instruction, research, administration, and policy. I hold 3 degrees in Geography, have served at NOAA, the US Census Bureau, and USGS as a cartographer and geographer, and teach a variety of F2F (Face to Face) (including T3G) and online courses. I have authored a variety of books and textbooks about the environment, STEM, GIS, and education. These include "Interpreting Our World", "Essentials of the Environment", "Tribal GIS", "The GIS Guide to Public Domain Data", "International Perspectives on Teaching and Learning with GIS In Secondary Education", "Spatial Mathematics" and others. I write for 2 blogs, 2 monthly podcasts, and a variety of journals, and have created over 5,000 videos on the Our Earth YouTube channel. Yet, as time passes, the more I realize my own limitations and that this is a lifelong learning endeavor and thus I actively seek mentors and collaborators.