JUST WHAT, EXACTLY, IS YOUR COMMUNITY? AND IS COMMUNICATIONS TECHNOLOGY CHANGING THAT?

  • The activity below is adapted from the 1999 Teacher's Handbook prepared by the Society for Geography Awareness Week. What do you consider to be your community? Is it the homes right around yours? Is it your neighborhood? Your town? Your city? Your state? Try to define "community." See what a dictionary says. Do dictionary definitions jibe with yours?

  • What criteria did you use in defining your community (Physical, cultural, emotional, familial?) For example, is a relative who lives far away a member of your community? Has any development in communications technology in recent years changed how often you communicate with a relative?

  • Is it important to be amember of a community? If so, in what ways? (Answers might include safety, security, companionship, cultural richness, quality of life, availabilty of public services.)

  • How does modern communications technology (e.g., mail, the Internet, cellular phones, faxes) in general affect the extent of your community?

  • Do you use e-mail? If so, how far awy are your e-mail correspondents? Do you find yourself communicating with people with whom you formerly were out of touch? Do you now use e-mail to communicate with people you used to contact by telephone? If so, why? When might the telephone be more appropriate than e-mail, and vice versa?



While technologies such as cell phones and pagers may be old hat to youngsters, adults in 1999 recognize these devices as relatively new from a historical perspective, and that they have changed the way we operate in an extremely short time. Ask children to interview several of the adults in their lives, asking questions such as: How recently have you started using cell phones or e-mail? What was your reaction to them when they first became available? How quickly-if at all-did you start using them routinely? What technologies existed for communication when you were younger? How has each of these forms of technology affected how you communicate and transact business? Do you see any disadvantages to the new technologies? Discuss with the children what they find out.

 


This is a product of the Florida Geographic Alliance and is part of the National Geographic Society's Geography Awareness Week.
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