This project seeks to use the ArcGIS StoryMaps platform to introduce students to the great cultural and linguistic diversity that exists within the French-speaking world, moving beyond the borders of France. French textbooks and classroom instruction are so often complicit in reinforcing the cultural and linguistic hegemony of France, while sidelining other francophone countries as less significant. This project seeks to provide one strategy for redressing this imbalance. The project works to engage all language-learning skills (listening, speaking, reading, writing) and the three ACTFL modes of communication (interpretive, interpersonal, presentational). This project is also intended by nature to be malleable enough to suit the needs of any particular instructor and language classroom context. Although an outline of all steps that comprise it is included, these are meant to be suggestions and not definitive. The project can not only be modified to suit nearly any level of instruction, but, moreover, the basic principles involved could be applied to other languages as well.
The project covers approximately 1-2 weeks of class and consists of two phases. In the first phase, lasting 1-2 class sessions, students are introduced to the topic through both classroom discussion and through using an ArcGIS map of the francophone world (linked to on this page). The instructor gauges students' prior background knowledge about the French language and francophone cultures around the world, then allows them to interact with the map to learn more. This phase includes group discussions and students reporting on findings to the rest of the class. In the second phase students engage further with the topic by using the ArcGIS StoryMaps platform to create their own interactive map of a particular French-speaking country or region. The instructor can assign countries or regions either by breaking the class up into groups (for a more collaborative approach) or on an individual basis. Each group or individual is tasked with developing a map of the country or region assigned to them, pinpointing significant locations, creating a narrative sequence (hence the "Story" in StoryMaps), and embedding it with multimedia content that represents that country or region's unique cultural and linguistic heritage. An example StoryMap of this type is linked to on this page. Students present their maps in class, and then provide links to them for other classmates to view and navigate. In the final portion of the project students use an online discussion forum to comment on each others' maps.
A complete detailed outline of all proposed steps is also attached to this page.