Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Fall 2017 Ball State University Culture Exchange Program

Around the World with the Ball State University Culture Exchange Program

The Ball State University Rinker Center for International Programs will be presenting international speakers for the Culture Exchange program. Presenters from around the world (mostly students) will highlight the culture and lifestyles of their home countries every Wednesday at noon in the L.A. Pittenger Student Center Phyllis Yuhas Room (Student Center 102, unless otherwise noted).

The Ball State University Libraries GIS Research and Map Collection (GRMC) provides maps and photographs from atlases to create exhibits for the program. Some of the poster exhibits from past speakers are available for use in other displays or classroom exhibits.

This year the program begins with Kris Molloy discussing New Zealand on September 27.  The complete program schedule:

·        October 4: Martina Schiavo, Italy
·        October 11: Daniel Tuyisenge, Rwanda (Room 303)
·        October 18: Ekaterina Romanova, Russia
·        October 25: Ramona Whittaker, Bolivia
·        November 1: Max Blakeley, England
·        November 8: Svitlana Dorda, Ukraine
·        November 15, Esau Martinez, Mexico
·        November 29: TBA
·        December 6: TBA

Attendees are invited to bring their lunch to the program.

New York Times Country of the Week Builds Geography Skills

Building Geography Skills with The New York Times

Yesterday, September 18, The New York Times published its first “Country of the Week,” South Africa.  This new feature will make use of the paper’s 30 international news bureaus around the world with activities and quizzes to build students’ geography skills.

The quiz for South Africa first asks responders to find the country on a map of Africa. Then responders are asked about the country’s three capital cities, the two oceans along its coasts. IsiZulu is the most widely spoken home language in South Africa, and a video features the unique language.  Users can also watch a 360 video “to catch a glimpse of life in South Africa.” And The Times will publish a new “Country of the Week” quiz every Monday throughout the school year.

This new urgency to teach geography skills is the result of a New York Times Upshot article reporting about an experiment where researchers asked Americans to locate North Korea on the map. Only 36% of respondents could correctly identify the country, but the interesting part was the second question asking opinions regarding foreign policy: Those who could correctly identify North Korea favored diplomatic and nonmilitary strategies and were opposed to direct military engagement. Those who could not correctly identify North Korea on a map actually favored direct military engagement with the country.

The article continued: Harm de Blij in “Why Geography Matters” wrote that “geography is a superb antidote to isolationism and provincialism.”  Geographic literacy of a country’s citizens provides an excellent “check and balances” review for foreign policy actions of their government.

The Ball State University Libraries GIS Research and Map Collection (GRMC) provides access to online educational resources that can be used in the classroom—or at home—to promote geographic literacy.  The GRMC creates custom maps, tutorials, games, lessons, and exhibits for use in educational research and learning. Teachers and other users can download the files for use in the classroom or other learning.

For more information about using cartographic resources from the GRMC, please call 765-285-1097 Monday through Friday from 8:00 to 5:00 pm.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Program Provides Biographical Histories Via Maps

People and Their Places: Biography Maps Class from the Ball State University Libraries

The Ball State University Libraries GIS Research and Map Collection (GRMC) will provide a workshop featuring biographical maps on Wednesday, September 20 from 6:30 to 7:30 at the Cornerstone Center for the Arts in downtown Muncie. Geography Biographies: Mapping Historic Lives will include custom maps created by the GRMC that identify important places in the lives of historic figures from around the world.

The maps include well known subjects like President John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Jr., Amelia Earhart, Princess Diana, and famed Indiana outlaw John Dillinger.  Compilation maps include Indiana Governors, Indiana Vice Presidents, and Indiana authors that feature interesting stories about some of the persons.

But many of the maps were created to commemorate lesser known heroes of history:  A map about Margaret Hamilton tells the story of the Indiana-born NASA Apollo space program software engineer. Ann Cole Lowe, the first African American haute couture fashion designer, is featured on a custom map. Gus Grissom, one of the pioneering Mercury astronauts, is also the subject of a special commemorative map. And many of the compilation maps include interesting figures from Negro League Baseball, Suffragettes, World War II correspondents, and activists from the civil rights movement. And maps about local Muncie figures will also be featured.

A new map about the life of Billie Jean King will be included in the program and is the “Map of the Month” for September on display in the front windows of the GRMC on the second floor of Bracken Library. This map identifies the locations of her hometown and university, the Grand Slam and Virginia Slims tennis tournaments won by King, and the locations of organizations honoring King. The map also includes the location of the epic “Battle of the Sexes” tennis match—the Houston Astrodome—that is depicted in the upcoming movie of the same name.

The program will be presented in the Colonnade Room at the Center (520 East Main Street), and free parking is available. The program is free of charge and open to the public.

For more information, please contact the GRMC at 765-285-1097.