ArcGIS Story Map Review and Classroom Potential

In my undergraduate history education classes, I did not use digital mapping tools due to my experience of being hopelessly confused by the one that was recommended to me by my professor. The map itself was difficult to manipulate and I felt that it was more trouble than it was worth to incorporate the program into one of my lessons. Unfortunately, I was not exposed to more options until recently. My exploration of ArcGIS Story Maps reopened my understanding of how useful and accessible digital map tools can be in history education to visualize data and to gain more geography knowledge.

In ArcGIS StoryMaps, there are several choices of how to present your narrative. In the provided block palette, the map is the most interactive. Users are able to add points on the map that allow them to add an image and a description. The StoryMaps provide an option to number these points so that viewers can navigate through them in a particular order. A line can be drawn between the points on a map, and it can be titled and given a description as well. This function is ideal for a project that focuses on a physical path in history, such as a migration pattern or a campaign trail. Numbering the data on a map can also follow an event chronologically, as seen with this Battle of Gettysburg map (which was created using the same mapmaker found in ArcGis). It is more difficult to save the drawn line compared to individual points, and the save feature is not automatic. The site does provide a number of examples of how other creators used the maps, as well as a comprehensive tutorial to navigate the offered tools. One of the best features of this digital map tool is how the map legend automatically reflects the map itself without further manipulation. One of the best examples of ArcGIS’ legend capabilities can be seen through Jim Herries’s map of redistricting counties in the Exploring the 2020 U.S. Census Data project.

This census data map showcases the capabilities of ArcGIS StoryMaps

The map feature of ArcGis Story Maps provides an avenue of project creation for students in the history classroom while also furthering their understanding of geography via map manipulation. Andrew Wiseman’s article When Maps Lie notes the lack of practice people have analyzing maps as a source that can be distorted and manipulated, associating it with how geography has been excluded from school curriculums for decades. Students have more experience with analyzing articles and written sources for bias and misinformation. There is almost an unspoken authority about maps, which can be addressed by teaching students how they support data. Digital maps such as the one found in ArcGIS StoryMaps can also further facilitate student research. By looking at their data on a map, students will find answers to their questions while identifying patterns to research. Within the StoryMap, students can add more blocks of text for their own analysis as well as link other media and primary sources related to their research. ArcGIS’s map function is versatile enough to be incorporated into multiple units and provides a tool of analysis that has been used by historians and geographers. History students benefit from practicing the methods and tools used by professionals in the field.

Lost Cause Revisionism in NC Public Education and Public History

I presented my research findings to the History Education department at Appalachian State University in February 2022. This was the

In Fall 2021, I undertook an independent study to explore the history of Lost Cause Revisionism in North Carolina through memorials and history classrooms. I wanted to explore the connections between these two fields in order to better understand how public history and public education can work against the continued Confederate arguments that have been dismissed from academia.

My interest in investigating historical revisionism began with a World War II memorial in Budapest, Hungary, however, my exposure to this concept revisionism occurred earlier than I realized. Confederate history is imbued throughout public spaces in the southern United States, including the United States history classroom where I learned the Confederate perspective of the American Civil War being fought for “states rights.”. Even at my alma mater, two dormitories were recently renamed as they were originally named for figures who represented Confederate and segregationist history respectively.

In addition to researching the role of groups such as the United Daughters of the Confederacy in vindicating the Confederate cause in public spaces and the classroom, I communicated with museums and public sites as well as American History teachers in North Carolina to learn more about the external pressure they received to teach history a particular way, and how they responded to it. Both fields have an overlap in audience within K-12 students, as well as how their parents’ previous education influences their preconceived notion of the Civil War.

“Looking Up”: A Digital Mixtape

Spotify is my go-to platform for music, especially because of how accessible it makes sharing music. My good friends and I often trade playlists of what we are currently listening to or curated moods just for each other. Sharing and creating playlists is intuitive on this platform. Most of the playlists I create for myself are nostalgic nonsense, composed of songs from childhood, from my loved ones, and the ones that charmed me unexpectedly.

“Looking Up” is a playlist of songs that help me get lost in the daily routine, and have marked time for me through the pandemic. The cover picture is from my travels in Europe, where my life seemed to be at its peak. Time kept moving, and I pray the best is yet to come. These songs give me energy for the day and for an escape. “Blue Vacation” and “Easy Thing” represent my moods before the pandemic and before gaining a sense of what they meant, switching from a strong melancholy to simple and easy. “Bored” was for the early pandemic, once the panic subsided and the walls were closing in. “Curses” is a song I enjoy but often zone out for, and it connects to the brain fog that sedates me through many life changes. “Moon Beach” took me back to better times while understanding time continues to move around me while I have stopped, which is more literal since my brother-in-law wrote this song and he was only a fifth-grader when I first met him. I am incredibly proud of his talent and skill. “Can’t Take My Eyes off You” and “11:11” allow me to daydream about romance, and were heavily repeated leading up to my wedding. For the days where I don’t feel like I am on top of the world but I am going to get there, “Don’t Shut Me Down” gets me moving.