Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Using GIS to Teach History

Yesterday, I had the privilege to speak at the Albemarle County, Virginia Public Schools district-wide professional development day. One of the sessions I ran in the afternoon was about using Google Maps and Google Earth in the classroom. After the session a gentleman (whose name eludes me now) introduced me to a nice project website built around using ArcGIS.

The Hands On History Library contains eleven U.S. History lesson plans in which students use GIS data and ArcGIS tools to recognize patterns and investigate causes of events in history. The lesson that I was shown yesterday featured data about Jim Crow laws and asked students to investigate the impact of those laws on American history.

Applications for Education
Not all ArcGIS tools are free, but you can use the ArcGIS Explorer for free (read more about it here). Even if you don't have access to all of the ArcGIS tools, the lessons in the The Hands On History Library can still provide you with a good framework for developing your own lesson plans using other mapping tools like Google Earth.