Yesterday I gave my students index cards and asked them for feedback about my class. These were anonymous comments, so they could say anything they liked, good or bad. But I specifically asked them to tell me if there was a destination or topic they wanted me to cover. I figured if I asked them for feedback now there was enough time in the semester for me to work these areas into my class. Apparently I need to talk more about Australia. Mention of tourism in Area 51 would also be appreciated (by someONE). That’s the first time I ever got that request. I just hope that area 51 person is present the day we talk about it.
There is a little bit of concern over the impending map quiz they will receive. At the beginning of the semester I asked my students to draw a map of the world and name whatever they could. Some were quite impressive. Others were…. Creative. According to a recent poll by the Washington Post one in six Americans can locate Ukraine on a map. Granted, that’s a weird one. After all, until the recent argument with Russia over Crimea, and then the Malaysian airlines crash in Ukraine, what would make Ukraine stand out? Ok, bad example. Let’s talk Iraq. We should know Iraq, right? We’ve only been AT WAR with/in that country for over a decade. Apparently our geographic literacy is even worse than we think. Six in ten Americans canNOT find Iraq on a map. That makes me sad. One more shot…. CHINA! The Olympics, they are taking over the world with their ever-growing population, they are responsible for more pollution that anywhere else and most importantly ALL THINGS ARE MADE IN CHINA! Survey says, 70% of Americans can point out China. Ok, that’s better.
I’m not worried though. I am confident my students will ace their map quiz in a few weeks. In the meantime, here are a few maps we discussed in class:
There is one thing we know. That is where Ebola comes from. Of course, Ebola is only in five countries in Africa. The other 49 are chugging along just fine. So, the spread of Ebola seems to be overstated here. Then again, the Panama Canal is also overstated here as it is HUGE!:
Now, we do have some Americans at the opposite end of the spectrum. This is probably similar to how my map would look if I was asked to draw it, smart-ass comments and all:
In case you were curious how Europeans view the U.S. here you go:
I’m pretty sure this is exactly how Texans view America as well. I will give them one thing. More than half my class identified the U.S. on their maps, and then specifically added Texas to demonstrate they knew exactly where it was. Apparently, no other states are all that important.