I received positive feedback from many readers as well as questions as to why National Geographic does not do something similar. Well, apparently National Geographic is involved with something incredibly useful (though none of my teacher contacts knew about it). GeoThentic is a joint project between the University of Minnesota and National Geographic which uses real world-like scenarios to introduce geographic thinking and geosptial tools. The program is free for teachers to register and use.
From a description of the online software:
Currently, the software offers five modules: Build a Hospital, Global Climate Change, Avian Flu, Build a Stadium and Population Density. Within these modules, students play the role of a geographer, taking advantage of various digital resources and data to determine, for instance, where the best place is in San Francisco to build a hospital, or which U.S. states will be most impacted by population growth and decline by the year 2100.
This is the type of examples the public wants to see on why geography matters. Now if only National Geographic would tell people about it.
Do you have a geography project idea which the public would also find informative and useful? Be sure to register for the Geographic Travels Geo-Literacy Outreach Awards!