For the Teacher

1. Preview of Main Ideas

We live in an unequal world where inequality exists between and within countries. Needs such as shelter, land, food and clean water, sustainable livelihoods, technology, and information are not equally distributed at the international or national scales. In these lessons students will explore two examples of inequality caused by economic globalization: technology’s Digital Divide and the concept of Fair Trade.

2. Connections with the Curriculum

  • These activities can be used in geography, social studies, and technology applications classes.
  • These lessons are designed for upper-level high school, community college, and first and second-year undergraduate students.

3. Time Required

One to two sixty minute class periods for each Geographic Investigation lesson.

4. Materials

  • Computer with Internet access.

5. Preparation

These lessons use select web sources to investigate examples of inequality resulting from economic globalization. Each lesson explores inequality through the display and analysis of geospatial data. The lessons are intended to illustrate how the geographer’s unique perspective - the “geographic advantage” – contributes to the understanding and analysis of globalization and the inequalities that often result from this phenomenon.  Before leading students through the Geographic Investigation lessons, teachers should visit each website to 1) ensure that they are permitted (not blocked) by the school and 2) familiarize yourself with the information on each site.

Lesson 1: How is Economic Globalization Affecting Inequality?

Objectives

By the end of the lesson students will be able to:

1. Define the “digital divide” as it exists on a global scale and identify factors which contribute to this phenomenon.
2. Describe spatial patterns of global access to technology.

Opening the Lesson

Introduce the lesson by asking students to list all the ways they have used various ICT (Information and Communications Technology) tools (e.g., cell phone, smart phone, computer, digital reader, etc.) in the past 24 hours. Quickly generate a list that represents the class as a whole (The list will include such things as communicating with others, buying products or services, reading or watching the news, posting to a social network, etc.). Ask students to consider and discuss how different their lives would be without these technology-based activities.

Explain that in this lesson they will explore the concept of the “digital divide” – the idea that access to technologies like the ones they were just talking about is not distributed equally around the world. The module’s first page displays maps of world internet connectivity in 2007 and 2011. Give students a few minutes to compare these two maps and briefly discuss the questions beneath. Ask students to describe any evidence of inequalities revealed by these images.

Developing the Lesson 

Explain to students that in this activity they will explore three different measures, or indicators, to analyze spatial patterns of global inequality in the access to and use of ICT.

1. Students may work individually or in pairs for this activity. Give students some time to explore the first two maps (Mapping the digital world and The Global Digital Divide) and to answer the interpretation questions beneath each. Discuss student responses as a class being sure they understand the difference between the spatial data displayed on each one. Ask students to suggest changes that would need to take place in underserved areas of the world to increase either the number of internet users per 1,000 people or the number of computers per 100 people. Is there any cause/effect relationship between these two measures?

2. Demonstrate the features, tools, and functions available on the Global Map of Digital Inclusion Risk (DIRI) before giving students time to consider the map interpretation questions. Challenge students to write 3 observations about global ICT access that they learned from the DIRI map and – based on the exploration of overlay maps - 3 hypotheses about factors related to low global ICT access. After allowing time for individual exploration, invite students to share their observations and hypotheses.

Optional: After students have explored the DIRI map and answered the map interpretation questions, divide them into groups of three or four. Assign each group one region of the world (South Asia, Mexico and the Caribbean, Sub-Saharan Africa, etc) and ask them to take five minutes to prepare an overview of that region to share with the rest of the class. 

3. Conclude the lesson by discussing the Student Response questions at the end of the activity.

Activity: Analyze the “Digital Divide”

Opening the Lesson

Explain to students that in this activity they will explore three different measures, or indicators, to analyze spatial patterns of global inequality in the access to and use of ICT.

Developing the Lesson

1. Students may work individually or in pairs for this activity. Give students some time to explore the first two maps (Mapping the digital world and The Global Digital Divide) and to answer the interpretation questions beneath each. Discuss student responses as a class being sure they understand the difference between the spatial data displayed on each one. Ask students to suggest changes that would need to take place in underserved areas of the world to increase either the number of internet users per 1,000 people or the number of computers per 100 people. Is there any cause/effect relationship between these two measures?

2. Demonstrate the features, tools, and functions available on the Global Map of Digital Inclusion Risk (DIRI) before giving students time to consider the map interpretation questions. Challenge students to write 3 observations about global ICT access that they learned from the DIRI map and – based on the exploration of overlay maps - 3 hypotheses about factors related to low global ICT access. After allowing time for individual exploration, invite students to share their observations and hypotheses.

Optional: After students have explored the DIRI map and answered the map interpretation questions, divide them into groups of three or four. Assign each group one region of the world (South Asia, Mexico and the Caribbean, Sub-Saharan Africa, etc) and ask them to take five minutes to prepare an overview of that region to share with the rest of the class. 

3. Conclude the lesson by discussing the Student Response questions at the end of the activity.

Assessing Student Learning

Create a document or media presentation that defines the “digital divide,” reveals spatial patterns of global ICT access, and identifies economic and social factors that influence ICT access. 

Lesson 2: Fair Trade = Trading Fairly

Objectives

By the end of the lesson students will be able to:

1. Define the concept of “Fair Trade” in the global market.
2. Identify and explain factors which contribute to the low – unfair – prices that many global farmers and producers are paid for their goods.

Opening the Lesson

Open the lesson by polling students on their consumption of items listed in the beginning of the activity. Provide students with a price list for these items based on current prices in the grocery store. Ask students to speculate on the portion of that price that each grower receives. What portion of that price would they consider to be a “fair” amount?

Explain that in this lesson, students will explore a concept called “Fair Trade” as it applies to two products: coffee and cotton.

Activity 1: Inequality of coffee production and consumption

Developing the Lesson

1.  Ask students to compare the cartograms of world coffee production with the cartogram of world coffee consumption. Note: you may need to review the concept of a cartogram. In a cartogram, the size of a political unit is determined by some data value such as total population or per capita GNP.  You may also want to direct them to the Worldmapper Territories Index Map (http://www.worldmapper.org/index_map.html) so they can identify countries shown in the cartogram.

2. Working individually or in small groups, ask student to discuss the map interpretation questions which refer back to the Population Living Below US$2 per Day map on this module’s home page. Briefly share student observations.

3. Ask students to read the article "How can Ethiopia’s coffee farmers get more from your $3 latte?" to identify factors that contribute to low (un-“fair”) prices that local farmers are often paid for their coffee crop. After students share factors that they have identified, discuss some of the ways that Ethiopian coffee growers (with Oxfam’s help) are attempting to mitigate those factors and increase the amount of money that farmers actually receive for their crop.

Activity 2: Trading fairly

Opening the Lesson

Explain that in this activity, students will explore the “Fair Trade” concept further with an exploration of cotton production in India and West Africa under a Fair Trade plan implemented by the British retailer, Marks & Spencer.

Developing the Lesson

1. Watch the video Fair Trade Journey. View the video as a class to enable students to focus on its content without the distraction of videos running on multiple computers at a time. As they watch, ask students to identify components of the Fair trade program (Plan A) implemented by Marks & Spenser.

2. What are the wider benefits, both locally and globally, of agricultural production based on a Fair Trade plan such as the one shown in the video? How does Marks & Spenser benefit from the plan?

3. Are you more likely to purchase Fair Trade products now that you know what this implies? Optional: Students should identify Fair Trade items available in local stores.

Assessing Student Learning

Create a document or media presentation that 1) defines “Fair Trade,” 2) identifies factors contributing to the discrepancy between prices paid by consumers and prices paid to producers for the same product, and 3) provides examples of potential Fair Trade strategies.

Concluding the Lesson

Discuss as a class the reasons for global inequality as seen in this module.
Discuss as a class the impact of Fair Trade for farmers and consumers at the national and international scales.

Credits and References

  • Castells, M. (2000). The Rise of the Network Society. Second Edition. Oxford: Blackwell.

    Devriendt, L., Derudder, B., & Witlox, F. (2008). Cyberplace and cyberspace: Two approaches to analyzing digital intercity linkages, Journal of Urban Technology, 15(2): 5-32.

    Dicken, P. (2011). Global Shift: Mapping the Changing Contours of the World Economy. 6th  Edition. London: Sage.

    Dyer, G., Serratos-Hernandez, J.A., Perales, H., Gepts, P., Pineyro-Nelson, A., Chavez, A., Salinas-Arreortua, N., Yunez-Naude, A., Taylor, J.E., & Alvarez-Vuylla, E. (2009). Dispersal of transgenes through maize seed systems in Mexico, PLos One, Open Access Journal, 4(5):1-9., Retrieved July 23 from http:www.ploone.org

    Lagendijk, A., & Cornford, J. (2000). Regional institutions and knowledge – tracking new forms of regional development policy, Geoforum, 31: 209-218.

    NSTApress. (2007). Genetically Modified Crops. Resources for Environmental Literacy. Environmental Literacy Council. National Science Teachers Association

    Pain, K. (2010). Cities and sustainability: Reflections on a decade of world development, GaWC Research Bulletin 354, Retrieved July 7 from http://www.lboro.ac.uk/gawc/rb/rb308.html.

    Sassen, S. (1991). The Global City: New York, London, Tokyo. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

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