Some Places in History
I know that it’s not Thursday yet, but I want to talk about teaching anyway. I was perhaps one of the last people on earth to use overhead projectors. I loved the packets of maps that textbook publishers used to circulate with their “instructor issues”. I put them carefully into three-ring binders and carried them around with me for years after I stopped using the textbooks. I finally stopped using them when our local teaching technology folks removed (mercifully) the last of the clunk overhead projectors from our classroom and replaced them with ELMO document camera projectors. The shiny, plastic overheads did not appear very effectively on the ELMO’s camera and I had to find alternatives.
In class, I usually call up Google Maps, and there is usually the embarrassing moment where I search for the location of some well-known historical site. For example, I can never find the Rubicon river quickly. I end up fumbling around and pointing to the Po or some other eastern Italian river until figuring out my mistake.
In any event, to help manage my geographic lapses, I started to put together .kmz files of the sites that I am going to refer to in each lecture. When I open this file in Google Earth, bring yellow pushpins appear at the site that I plan to talk about in lecture. This is not a revolution.
As I moved my class online, I preferred to use Wikipedia for basic geographic information and provided the students with indexes of major names, events, and places and, generally, link them to Wikipedia entries, which I have found are as good anyplace (and generally as good as any textbook). For some reason I didn’t include my little .kmz files.
But now I have, and here are the first three; I’ll add more as I find them and tweak them to fit the newest iterations of my lectures. All these files should open in Google Earth.