A Social Media Lesson in Geography

2009 November 4
by velvet

teaching geographyI received a tweet last week from a very good friend alerting me to a school in Texas that had organised a friendly competition among teachers to see whose blog would attract the most comments. As visitors left their comments, the teacher and the students stuck pins onto a large map to track where the comments were coming from. As the message about this competition spread into the Twitterverse, comments from around the world poured in. Initial comments from family members such as “I’m Emma Rust’s great uncle. Salem, Virginia” soon evolved into “Hello from Durban South Africa – saw your tweet. Kids: listen and respect your teachers & parents and always do your 100% best at whatever you do, big or small! Hope you win!” and “Kia-Ora and G’day from Auckland, New Zealand. Spring is here and native birds like Tui are singing in the trees. It will be summer soon and the pohutakawa, or NZ Christmas tree, will be flowering along the coast.” There was even a comment from National Geographic in Washington D.C.!

This is a classic example of the power of social media and how it can be employed as an educational resource. By sticking pins into a large map and reading the comments, the students soon learned about those places around the world, and had a whale of a time doing it. This project is a brilliant, fun idea that can easily be replicated by schools around the world.

PS/ The competition runs till the end of November. Please visit Mrs. Allen, leave your name and place of residence as well as an interesting/educative comment.

6 Responses leave one →
  1. November 4, 2009

    Hi Keith,

    Thanks so much for writing this post about my son’s class blog project; the kids are really having fun with it (my son went in with some Norway Show-and-Tell items just this week.)

    I’ve sent an email to Mrs. Allen to let her know that you’ve written this, so she can share it with the class.

  2. velvet permalink*
    November 4, 2009

    Hi Sheila,
    I didn’t realise it was your son’s class until Stephanie re-tweeted this article to you. You’re most welcome. I think it’s a brilliant idea! I’ve always been a geographile. Creating interest in geography, and about our world in general, this way is just awesome! This is a fantastic initiative which I hope will be replicated in classrooms around the world.

    Best regards,
    Keith

  3. November 4, 2009

    Hi Keith, nice article. I saw the tweet myself and entered. But your article puts it even more in the spotlight :) I’m still amazed with how fast something gets picked up on Twitter and reaches people from all over the world. This is a perfect example of it!

  4. velvet permalink*
    November 4, 2009

    Thank you Isabelle. I’m truly convinced that social media platforms like blogs, Twitter and Facebook can play an increasingly important role in education and this is a prime example indeed.

    Cheers,
    Keith

  5. Susan permalink
    November 6, 2009

    My daughter is Emma! She’ll be delighted that a comment about her made your blog :) She’s having a ball with this contest. We spent time this week learning about Nice, France. Mrs. Allen has gotten one excited class for sure!

  6. velvet permalink*
    November 6, 2009

    Hi Susan,
    Thanks for your comment. This is a really cool initiative. Being a big fan of geography, I certainly applaud it. Really happy to know the kids are having a ball with this contest and learning new things about places around the world. :-)

    Cheers,
    Keith

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