The Effectiveness of Interactive Maps in Secondary Historical Geography Education

Whitney Taylor, Brandon Plewe

http://dx.doi.org/10.14714/CP55.325

Abstract


Social Studies, including history and geography, is a core part of most state curriculum standards for K-12 education, and for the most part is in need of improvement. Among the technological solutions that have been developed, interactive maps show promise in making the complexities of the social sciences (especially historical geography) more interesting to students, and easier to visualize and understand, without demanding significant investments by schools. A two-group experiment examined this potential for the 7th Grade Utah Studies curriculum. After completing an exercise to analyze possible historical and geographical causes of settlement patterns in Utah, students using interactive maps showed significantly better improvement between a pretest and posttest than students using paper maps. Although some of the test results were inconclusive and highlighted technological and resource obstacles to the widespread adoption of interactive mapping in the classroom, it has been shown to help students learn social studies in a deeper, more engaging manner.

Keywords


interactive cartography; web cartography; maps in education; social studies education; Utah history

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