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Mapping the pandemic: teaching critical map literacy with interactive COVID-19 maps

Alan S. Marcus (Curriculum and Instruction, University of Connecticut, Storrs, Connecticut, USA)
Thomas H. Levine (Curriculum and Instruction, University of Connecticut, Storrs, Connecticut, USA)

Social Studies Research and Practice

ISSN: 1933-5415

Article publication date: 17 September 2021

Issue publication date: 8 October 2021

71

Abstract

Purpose

This article helps secondary teachers use online maps about the COVID-19 pandemic to develop students' critical map literacy and digital geographic information literacy while helping students analyze the pandemic and its impact on society. The purpose of this paper is to discuss unique features of online maps, suggest six questions to bring to online maps, and provide an activity and resources to develop students' skill in using these maps.

Design/methodology/approach

For social studies teachers, online interactive maps create opportunities as well as challenges. They can be more engaging and interesting than static maps. They also show the relevance of key themes in geography as well as the power of maps to convey information. Maps about COVID-19 are used to explore themes in geography.

Findings

Interpreting COVID-19 online maps can help students learn about the pandemic, evaluate the decisions of health officials and elected leaders, and thus develop tools to participate in society as active citizens.

Originality/value

Young people and adults are often more engaged by interactive online sources; however, online maps require teachers to develop new approaches to teaching basic and critical map literacy that include elements of digital geographic information literacy. Students can learn to ask questions of maps while learning about COVID-19.

Keywords

Citation

Marcus, A.S. and Levine, T.H. (2021), "Mapping the pandemic: teaching critical map literacy with interactive COVID-19 maps", Social Studies Research and Practice, Vol. 16 No. 2, pp. 115-125. https://doi.org/10.1108/SSRP-08-2021-0021

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2021, Emerald Publishing Limited

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