Friday, October 09, 2015

Using Maps as Visual Aids in the Classroom

Picture This:  Using Maps as Visual Aids in the Classroom

Using visual aids and graphics is one of the essential ingredients for developing an effective paper or presentation.  Visual aids and graphics illustrate and emphasize your ideas more effectively than words alone.  They also add credibility and clarity to point of discussion.  Unique visual aids like maps can create excitement and interest and add impact to your message.

Maps are an excellent visual aid because they are a basic visual representation of geography and a unique method for conveying a great deal of information.  Maps can easily display information about an issue in a succinct way.

Atlases are also excellent resources because many include charts and other graphics in addition to maps that can add visual impact to papers and presentations.  Atlases usually offer a smaller size than maps, which allows for convenient scanning.

The Ball State University Libraries’ GIS Research and Map Collection (GRMC) on the second floor of Bracken Library includes thousands of maps and atlases that may related to a relevant research project.  The Atlas Collection includes over 3,000 volumes with maps depicting a variety of social topics and current issues.

For example, October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and Domestic Violence Awareness Month.  Students writing research papers about these two topics could use maps and charts available from just one atlas in the GRMC and Atlas Collection, The Penguin State of the World Atlas by Dan Smith published in 2012.

The map above from the atlas shows countries with incidences of breast cancer greater than 50 per 100,000 women and includes statistics about the disease.  The chart from the same atlas shows the percentage of physically abused women in selected countries who never reported domestic abuse.  The atlas includes other topics ranging from women’s issues, war, religion, education, and economic development.

For more information about using maps in research and learning, please contact the GRMC at 765-285-1097.

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