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GIS Enhanced Lessons for the History Classroom Chris Bunin Director of Teaching Fellows Program The “Virginia Experiment” TAH Grant
The Virginia Experiment Teaching American History Grant • School Divisions – Albemarle Co., Charlottesville, Greene Co., Madison Co. and Orange Co. • Partners – The Virginia Center for Digital History, The Polis Center (IUPUI), American Civil War Center, Virginia Council on Indians, Miller Center for Public Affairs, Library of Congress, James Madison’s Montpelier, Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello, Virginia Geographic Alliance, and many others
DEMO #1 Querying the Reach of Jim Crow Scott MaceCharlottesville City Schools
Every event has both a temporal and spatial tag. In history, we usually know when something happened with a high degree of certainty. We may have less precise knowledge of where it happened.
In American history: • When does location matter? • Distance? Direction? • Neighborhood? Region? Territory? • Scale?
Digital Mapping and History An Historical Geographic Information System (GIS) is a computer-based tool and set of methods designed to examine spatial influence as it relates to the past. It combines history and geography.
Strengths of GIS • Integrates data by location, regardless of format • Visualizes information, most often in the form of a map • Allows analysis of spatial data and associated attributes
Supports the analysis of spatial concepts 10 Miles Connectivity Distance X,Y Adjacency Location X,Y Direction
Classroom Strengths • Interactive and Dynamic (It is not, “what you see is what you get”) • “Democratizes” Maps/Supports the SOL • Supports Differentiation • Facilitates Higher Order Thinking • Helps students “understand” maps • Facilitates the visualization of past events and episodes
You can integrate other information into your GIS • Photography • Scanned Images • Voice • Video
Limitations and challenges • Limited by data sets. • Does not necessarily “prove” anything • Initial learning curve
Data set limitations • Vast amounts of GIS data have been developed over the last few years. Much of this data is free or very inexpensive. • But… very little historical data exists compared to other types of GIS data.
From Jamestowne to the Fall Line and Beyond:America’s First Counties