Using Digital Mapping Programs to Augment Student Learning in Social Studies

October 14, 2007

Thomas Chandler and Heejung An describe how digital mapping technology can be incorporated into community-based K-12 social studies projects. According to Chandler and An, digital mapping can add value to the social studies curriculum by enabling students to better understand the interdependence between the lives of individuals and their communities, as well as larger trends and public policy decisions. Students can use digital mapping to observe the local environment and then analyze a digital representation of their community on the computer for further insights into relationships across local, national, and international boundaries. The process of creating a personalized map that includes personal interpretations of the environment can result in a more robust understanding of how policy issues resonate within a particular community and, subsequently, within other areas of the world. Chandler and An review the theoretical and practical implications of using digital mapping in this way and compile available resources and curricula for their readers.

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