My name is Devyn H. I am a 9th grader. I was born in Austin, Texas and have lived here my whole life. I love the diverse culture of Austin! I have traveled to California, New York, Florida, the Caribbean, Hawaii, and Mexico. I like to travel although fear flying. I am fluent in English and know basic Spanish, but I would like to be able to speak fluent Spanish. I would like to visit many other places and learn about their cultures.
In the third chapter of Ken Jennings Map head, Jennings talks in depth about how bad students’ understanding of geography is. In the beginning of the chapter David Helgren gave a geography pop quiz to his University of Miami introductory geography class and was extremely surprised to find out how little they all knew about geography. “Eleven of his Miami students had even misplaced Miami!” P33. David was interviewed on many talk shows about his findings and opinions on map illiteracy. His instant fame and shocking results pointed out to our nation the growing problem of national ignorance towards geography. The rest of the chapter gives examples as to why Americans in particular are so bad at finding things on a map. Things such as curriculum, isolation from other countries, technology, and even the way parents are raising and restricting their children are all contributing factors. The chapter also goes over how vast and important geography is. “Maybe that’s why old-school geography failed: it was just lists of names and places” P52. Since map illiteracy has taken the spotlight, thanks to David Helgren, many people have seen the importance of geography, but it is safe to say that our nation could still get a lot better. Today all 50 states have geoliteracy standards, but it is up to everyone to care enough and take the time to learn more about geography.
I personally think it is upsetting how little America knows. We are the richest country in the world, but we cannot even locate our competing countries on a map. We require free education, but we don’t show children where basic countries are like India, China, Kenya, Brazil, and France. Though I am appalled by our countries lack of knowledge in this particular area, I am just as guilty as anyone. I see now the true importance of knowing these locations and places. When I was in elementary school I didn’t know where Alaska was. I just learned where Iran Iraq and Afghanistan were the first week of school. I just discovered where Ireland was two days ago! But at least I am making an effort. I will continue to make an effort to learn these things because I now understand how truly important they are. All my friends ask me why I bother with AP geography, “geography isn’t important, who cares where Indonesia is? Why would you put yourself through all that work?” I just smile and say I don’t know. But they are the ones who don’t know, and that is the problem in the first place.