Map Technology Helps Sociology Students Visualize Ethnic Divisions

A sociology professor at California State University at San Marcos turned to advanced mapping technology to help her students learn about themselves and their communities, according to Inside Higher Ed.

Hoping to prod her students into reflecting on how racial and ethnic identities shape their lives, associate professor Theresa Suarez taught them to superimpose demographic data about race and ethnicity onto maps of their local communities. Using digital pushpins, they then marked the places where they shopped, worked, went to school and hung out – and where they didn’t.

In a survey at the end of the semester, 86 percent of her students said the exercise helped them view social research in a new way.

The experience was educational for teacher as well as students. Despite having taught classes partially online for years, Suarez herself, speaking at an online learning conference, said she was not that tech-savvy.

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