Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Don't Get All Sharpie on Sudan

If you return to your classroom for the new school year with Sharpie in hand and simply draw a line across all your maps and globes to divide what was once Sudan into what is now Sudan and Southern Sudan, you're missing a world of learning that could happen in your classroom - whatever age or subject area you teach. 

In the last few weeks I've been exploring Southern Ocean and how scientists classify such things, and now I am learning more about how and why a new country emerges. There's conflict that can last years, then decisions to be made within the new country, communication with other countries in the region and elsewhere, and planning that involves world organizations. The new country needs leaders and those who believe in the changes being made. You don't just draw a line on a map and call it "done."

Some of you may have seen this map of the world by Simon Rogers and Jenny Ridley.  (First time using Prezi?  Click the play button under the image and then use the magnification tools to the right of the image. If you don't see the tools, mouse over the right side of screen and they will appear. Takes a bit of practice, and it's not the best way to view a map actually.)  It's helpful in seeing the borders of countries and some stats about the world.  But, even more fascinating to me are the comments posted below the map.  While you can't tell the expertise, country of original, etc. of all those postings (meaning some additional investigation would be needed), the fact that these debates can and are happening in the world is an important thing to share with the learners in your classroom.  It's unfortunate that comments have been closed on the page, possibly because they were becoming a bit heated? 

THIS is what teachers should be taking back to the classrooms and sharing with students--that even a map is open to debate, and I think all maps should come with a debate. What a way to learn, to spark interest, to generate the desire to investigate a topic, and to make those places on the map actually mean something!

Random Add-On...
By the way, I was checking the spelling of Sharpie and ran across the Sharpie web site - it's totally awesome and worth checking out! Apparently, there's an entire Sharpie World I've been missing...time to update my maps again!!  Sharpie Web Site

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