Thinking globally: combating geographic illiteracy in the U.S.

Small worldSusan Jacoby, the author of The Age of American Unreason, a polemic on anti-intellectualism in the U.S., has accused Americans of a lack of global awareness. There is indeed evidence to support her views: a geographic literacy study conducted by National Geographic in 2006 found that six in 10 Americans ages 18 to 24 cannot locate Iraq on a map of the Middle East.

Even more depressing is the news that “fewer than three in 10 of those surveyed think it is absolutely necessary to know where countries in the news are located. Only 14 percent believe speaking another language fluently is a necessary skill.”

In an effort to build global knowledge and increase geographic literacy among American youths, National Geographic has created My Wonderful World, with tools and resources for parents, educators, and students.

Interested in more sites and online tools for increasing global knowledge or improving your ability to interact with those of other cultures and countries? Check out these posts from the Mediation Channel vaults:

New world (view) order: Web site promotes culturosity and intercultural awareness

“Online game tests knowledge of world geography”

“Geography has made us neighbors: the importance of geographic literacy in the 21st century”

“Internet as mediator: web sites provide online resources for building community and conversation”

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