The differences between “spatial” and “geography” are interesting to me, and not trivial, usually. I’ve definitely noticed the expansion of the use of the word “spatial” overall. When it was part of my dissertation title in 1996, I know it wasn’t nearly as wide-spread as it is now. Here’s a graph that the Spatial Information Management blog created for spatial vs. geographic terms in books, an Ngram. Interesting, for sure. I recreated it for American English (1800-2008) and British English (1800-2008). Not sure why just “English” has a downturn starting at the year 2000.
Capitalizing the words makes a big difference (here’s British English for Spatial and Geography), so does that mean that titles are involved? I also like the spikes for the early 20th century American English, when academic Geography in the US was at its peak too.
One project (for my next pocket of spare time, hah) is to scan the titles and abstracts of journal articles from many disciplines over the last 150+ years and see when this “spatial turn” really began, in an academic sense.
I’ve just completed Day 1 of a SPACIT meeting, the semi-annual gathering of partners working on this Comenius funded project. Very interesting ideas coupled with very ambitious plans! Combining GIS&T, geography, philosophy, politics, the act of “participating” – or engagement, pedagogy and teacher professional development, communication, and other technology, especially via geomedia. Here’s a recent paper, GI and Spatial Citizenship (pdf) authored by 3 of the lead partners, Inga Gryl, Thomas Jekel, and Karl Donert.
I’m contributing on behalf of NCGE, and I have much to learn from these discussions. And did I mention we’ve gathered in Salzburg, Austria, at the university where the GI Forum and AGIT is about to happen? Geo everywhere.
The California Geographic Alliance (CGA) has released its April newsletter, and in it I wrote an item about spatial reasoning. CGA has been active on Facebook too. Their old website still has other resources up, as they transition to the new one. Geographic Alliances are organizations that exist in every state, though some are more actives than others. Originally launched by National Geography and still strongly associated with them, they’re frequently a great source of professional development for geography teachers. So is our online program in spatial literacy at the University of Redlands!
I *love* kaleidoscopes. I remember spending hours lying on my back and twisting them over my head, towards a sunny window. Here is an awesome “human” version, done by some clever French folks, definitely thinking spatially! I’d not have called it an arabesque, thinking only of the ballet position, but seems the word is much broader in its design sense. Learn something new every day!
Un, deux, trois, quatre, cinq, six, sept, huit.
h/t to Geography Education.
For scanning spatial scales from atomic to astronomical, check out this new Magnifying the Universe. The scrolling exponential bar in the lower right is helpful too.
h/t to Neatorama, where I always find good things.
Slowly but surely, the ideas and understanding about spatial thinking (cognition, intelligence, abilities, skills, literacy, habits of mind, etc.; You name it, it’s relevant and connected) are making their way out of the academic file cabinets and into circles of more common knowledge. Earlier this week a colleague of mine from Esri (Tom Baker, @trbaker) forwarded this around, a Psychology Today article about our undervaluing of spatial intelligence. It was written by Jonathan Wai (@JonathanLWai), a psychologist whose work I first became familiar with through a National Science Board publication (2010) on Preparing the Next Generation of STEM Innovators.
These documents identify the need to seek out under-recognized spatial talent in order to avoid missing the top fraction of those who would otherwise excel. But I firmly believe that it’s an overlooked component of all education, for all students.
I want to send a shout out to all of my EDUC 616 students this weekend. I’m grading recent assignments and I am SO PROUD of what you’ve learned over the last two months! You guys rock! I just need to step out of the way and let you emerging educators take over. Really nice work.
The original teachspatial.org site has been updated with new resources and ideas for teaching content that has a spatial focus. In particular, check out the spatial filter for the National Science Digital Library (NSDL) resource content and the (US, K-12) standards browser.
Only over an open bottle might one want to start debating what’s a spatial “concept” and what’s not…
Nice work, Karl.