Thursday, March 23, 2023

Projection Wizard - See How Maps Distort the World

Projection Wizard is an interesting tool developed by Bojan Šavrič at Oregon State University. The purpose of Projection Wizard is to help cartographers select the best map projections for their projects.

To use the Projection Wizard select a distortion property from a menu appearing to the left of the map. Then use the highlighting tool to select the portion of the map that your project focuses on. After you make your map and menu choices you'll be shown a list of the projections that are appropriate for your project.

Applications for Education
Projection Wizard is a more advanced tool than most high school geography courses would need. That said, I would use the Projection Wizard to have students discuss the flaws of  various map projections. We'd also talk about why a particular type of projection is better than another for different types of projects.

Hello History - An AI App for Chatting With Historical Figures

Hello History is a new iPhone and Android app that lets you chat with historical figures. The list of characters with whom you can chat ranges from pop culture icons to artists, politicians, and civil rights activists. 

Hello History uses AI in a manner similar to that found when using AI tools like ChatGPT. You start a chat by selecting a person from the list of names. That person will then show a brief message about themselves. You can reply to that message with a question and through the use of AI the person will respond to you. 

You can keep your Hello History conversation with a historical figure going for as long as you like, provided it stays on topic and within the realm of the AI's reach. For example, when I was chatting with George Washington I asked him a question about his relationship with John Adams and Thomas Jefferson. I didn't get a response to that. But I did get responses to my questions about Adams and Jefferson individually. 

The list of historical figures available in Hello History is rather extensive at more than 400 people. The list of names ranges from pop culture icons like David Bowie and Elvis Presley to artists like Da Vinci to politicians like George Washington to civil rights activists like Martin Luther King, Jr. 

Applications for Education
Hello History does give a bunch of disclaimers before you use the app including a reminder to fact-check the accuracy of any claims made in the chat. 
The app could provide an interesting way for students to learn about the lives of a wide range of historical figures. Before having students use the app, I would ask them to think about what they think a chosen character will say in response to their questions.

H/T to Nik Peachey for sharing Hello History on LinkedIn.

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