The site serves to give a general orientation of four major geographic areas in Mexico. These are the North with the urban setting of the border city, Tijuana; a central colonial town in the heartland of the country; Mexico City, and Chiapas, a rural and indigenous state in the south. The study section helps build skills in understanding and interpreting demographics. While it is more informational than educational, it is a good starting point and offers interesting venues for activities like web scavenger hunts or web quests for lower level grades.
Type of Material:
Recommended Use(s): This site is ideal for geography classes. The learning module is also ideal for FL expository language programs at the middle school. Through analysis of the population projections for Mexico and their effects on the US, older students can discuss the possible ramifications of that future on the issues of trade, migration, and urban development.
Identify Major Learning Goals:
The module creates authentic exposure through sound and photographs, making information relevant for tasks and/or research on Mexico. For example, the use of the "Classroom Ideas" section helps students to see relations between people, places, and environments; to use geographic skills; and to apply spatial and ecological perspectives to life situations.
Target Student Population:
The intended learners are elementary, middle and secondary students, and even postsecondary students in geography and culture classes.
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills:
Since the site is in English, no proficiency skills in Spanish are required.
This multimedia environment has rich photo images and audio that combined create an experiental "learning lab." For example, the homepage is stunning; the colors and design reflect ancient and modern Mexico. The image captures the essence of the culture ? the values of family and religion. The content allows learners to see the "real Mexico" through the eyes of photographers and writers who present vivid and personal accounts of their impressions. These personal glimpses create interesting interactivity. Reading the printed e-mails that were exchanged between the NG readers and the NG team at the time of production (1996), support the curiosity sparked and the exchange of dialogues on the topics presented.
Minimal presentation is given to Tijuana, the state of Chiapas, and central Mexico. Perhaps greater detail similar to information on Mexico City would create a better balance. The instructor may need to add additional online components to create this balance. Since this site is more of a travel diary than a current events page, there are some facets which should be updated on a regular basis, e.g., the census data.
Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool
The guided learning in the "Classroom Ideas" page presents activities for different age levels. The activities help students to become more geographically-informed and to develop critical thinking skills using geography, math skills, and multi-cultural sensitivity. For example, for grades 5-8, learners construct and interpret a population pyramid, then make comparisons between Mexico and the U.S. At the 9-12 or postsecondary levels, focus is on population projections. The students can develop oral reports or develop descriptive and expository writing on the issues of trade,
migration, and urban development, e.g., NAFTA and illegal immigration. The site can be used for exploratory or introductory Spanish courses in middle school or high school.
The site can stand alone as a course or be integrated into an independent study. For example, the links to bibliographic sources, major webpages about Mexico, and additional National Geographic resources, support independent study, e.g., web quests.
The ?Daily Dispatches? with the photos and audio components are a nice addition as a hypertext that personalizes the journey through Mexico. The use of photos enhances the descriptions of parks, street scenes, and cultural and historic sites. In addition, the audio is used to capture the sounds of the environment that is being described. Creative teachers can develop projects using this engaging model. While the content of the materials is in English, Spanish language instructors can develop materials in Spanish, and learners can research using content in the target language (Spanish). The "classroom Ideas" are excellent for developing activities that can be easily be modeled by Spanish instructors.
The instructor needs to provide for activities in which the student is interacting and actively involved with the materials.
Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty
The site has a clear outline and each section is similar in design to the others. There is a well balanced use of multimedia which is effective while not overpowering. The use of the real audio and the outstanding images creates an excellent multimedia presentation.
Some sites have so many layers and links that you have problems finding your way in and out. While many experienced online users can navigate comfortably within the site,
some may have difficulty. The use of navigation bars on each page with a more current use design would eliminate this problem.
Other Issues and Comments:
The site would be of great benefit if the written content were also in Spanish.
Search by ISBN?
It looks like you have entered an ISBN number. Would you like to search using what you have
entered as an ISBN number?
Searching for Members?
You entered an email address. Would you like to search for members? Click Yes to continue. If no, materials will be displayed first. You can refine your search with the options on the left of the results page.