Recently I was subbing a class where students had to find latitude and longitude on a map. They were looking for cities on the map and then then had to write the coordinates or vice versa. In certain instances, they had to estimate how far a point was between two points. I was surprised at how many of them either could not estimate or were simply frustrated by the endeavor.
It was then I realized that I had never used latitude or longitude in my life. Why not, you ask? Because google has eliminated the need for latitude and longitude in our lives. Some might argue that if a person is lost and does not have access to a computer, one might still have to use latitude and longitude to find their way on a map, but smartphones and GPS systems have also done away with the need to read a map for most young people today. Thus, we have an important question in the social science departments: How do we teach geography in a way that is relevant to students?