Lie to me once, shame on you

Lie to me twice, shame on me. But what if you lie to me with maps? No idea what happens then. But our class is prepared for that contingency now.

This spring, we read parts of How to Lie with Maps by Mark Monmonier (thanks to the recommendation of my friend and professor at AUM, Terry Winemiller, geography guru).

We talked about visual rhetoric this semester (which Pulitzer Prize winner Jon Meacham said was a cool thing when he visited our school earlier this spring!). We talked about ethos, pathos, logos this semester, too. We talked about ways we persuade… even when we aren’t thinking about it, even when it’s only with an image.

As the spring term winds down, students are creating, or have created, their final projects: 1) an analysis of several maps using How to Lie with Maps, and 2) thoughts on the map of Montgomery they recreated for our partner writers at Oklahoma City University (we just exchanged maps at a symposium hosted by OCU on April 18).

Below are the blog pages where students from this Honors Composition II class created their map/research/writing projects.

I’m dazzled.

Aha! moments: So important to who we are

In this TED talk, Tom Wujec talks about how the brain works and really focuses in three parts of the brain.

  • Ventral stream–what something is–the what detector–when you give a word to something.
  • Dorsal stream–locates the object in physical body space–mental map.
  • Limbic system–deep in the brain, very old–the part that feels–reactions to what is being seen.

All of these things (and many more) help us make meaning in various ways.

How does this relate to visual rhetoric? We make meaning by seeing.

  • Use images to clarify.
  • Make images interactive.
  • Augment memory by using visual persistence.

Shared mental models, maps, knowledge, and experience–matters. How do we share through our blogs?

What memories are we making through our writing? How is memory made in a community?

National GIS Day! 16 November 2011

November 16 is National GIS Day… be there!

On this particular Wed., Nov. 16, please “attend” class by going to the Geographic Information Systems (GIS) conference proceedings in the Taylor Center (the big rooms down from the Theatre entrance). We will not have a regularly scheduled class that day, so you can attend a session/exhibit hall.

You are not in a Geography class, but GIS isn’t about geography only–it’s about a way of thinking, a way of understanding the world. Yes, it’s a system for making maps and for disseminating information graphically according to the actual world we live on/in–and you can make pretty maps–but it’s much more than pretty map making. It’s about intellectually vibrant query; it’s about creating knowledge from many pieces of a puzzle; it’s about interdisciplinary quests–the kind heroes undertake, ala Joseph Campbell, in order to fix what’s wrong with the world and save the universe (okay, that’s a bit much, but you get what I mean now!).

Attend one presentation, please, and also visit the exhibitors to pick up some information and learn a bit about GIS. We’ll be looking at GIS and applications to writing and humanities in the spring–it’s a way of thinking, a way to map thinking… and that’s part of what we’ll do in spring, mapping our own intellectual growth. But we’ll also be learning about where we are in the world (Montgomery) and what that means both visually and textually, through maps and thinking. Patterns. We’ll be exploring patterns. What’s happened in Montgomery? What texts exist? What can be mapped? How should it be mapped? What can we do about sharing what we learn? Can we share our projects from this fall and spring through maps online? How might that look?

We’ll be looking at visual rhetoric and visual arguments (through images and maps). We’ll be making maps and playing with maps. We’ll be having some interesting times in spring… You won’t need to learn GIS, just be aware of it–Nov. 16 is the perfect time. (We’ll watch a video about a 19th map soon to contextualize what mapping and learning can do for the world–you’ll love it. Fascinating stuff.)

You’ll need to blog about the GIS presentation you attend (300 words) and also about the information you gather from an exhibitor (300 words)–both by Nov. 18, please. Thanks.

I present at 3:30–I would love to have you there, if you can do it. I’ll be talking about Writing Spaces and GIS.

And enjoy this exploration… if you like, use one of Keri Smith’s exploration prompts to approach what you experience at the GIS Fest. Fun.