Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Where Did Geography Class Go? (Nightside with Dan Rea)

On February 16, members of Massachusetts Geographic Alliance were pleased to return to the airwaves as guests on Dan Rea's program Nightside on CBS affiliate WBZ-AM1030. Broadcast veteran Rea is, as he says, a "huge fan of geography" and has been supporting our efforts to promote geographic literacy and education for several years now.

For the latest conversation, Dr. Kathy Babini, Social Studies Coordinator for Plymouth Schools, joined Dan and Bridgewater State University professor James Hayes-Bohanan in the studio.

Early in this evening's program, the Nightside producer played the audio of a very fun geography video -- Yakko's World,

This has inspired many to attempt their own renditions -- mistakes and all -- including a reverse-karaoke version by the blogger known as snolygoster. Notice at 0:42, 1:06, and 1:50 in his video that he divides his arrow in two -- very clever!

Stewart Clamen has posted Yakko's lyrics and corrections to the lyrics, including corrected names, countries that were omitted in the original, and countries that have been created. Note that these pages include a link from each name in the lyrics to the country or territory's profile in the CIA Factbook, but those links have expired. Since Clamen's update, two additional countries have been created: Timor-Leste (East Timor) and South Sudan.

Our appearance was on President's Day.
Nightside is a call-in show with an audience spanning 34 states (by AM radio) and beyond (by streaming audio). One of the first calls was from very close to home, though, from the director of the Spellman Museum of Stamps and Postal History. A partner of Massachusetts Geographic Alliance, the Spellman Museum is a great place for people of all ages to learn geography through stamps. In addition to the second-largest collection of stamps in the United States, the museum provides an ever-changing series of educational exhibits that can be organized around any theme.

Our conversation touched on the kinds of work that are available to those who pursue geography as a college major. We mentioned just a few; the Career Services office at the University of Tennessee lists many more geography careers, along with ideas about how to prepare for each.

At the end of the program, we briefly mentioned our most recent legislative effort. Once again a variety of Massachusetts legislators -- from both houses and both parties -- are supporting A Bill Relative to Geography Education. If passed, it would establish a commission to study ways to improve geography education in the Commonwealth. MGA is grateful to Sen. Gobi and Rep. Smola for re-introducing this legislation. At the time of this writing, it appears as docket items, rather than bills. The Senate version is SD 1066 and the House is HD 259. There is still time for friends of geography to encourage their legislators to support both versions of the bill.