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Archive for the ‘Provinces Edition’ Category

Teaching World Cultures: Three ProQuest Resources

Why Study Culture?

“In today’s world, understanding both our similarities and our diversity becomes increasingly important. Through an understanding and appreciation of cultural difference, children will be better prepared to live in an ever-shrinking global community. And increasingly, our classrooms are becoming miniature models of the global community itself.”—Nancy Jervis, Ph.D., China Institute

The quote above shows just how vital it is for students to study culture.

Students need to be prepared for our increasingly interdependent, globalized and networked world. Migration and immigration are causing societies to become more culturally and linguistically diverse.  The nature of the workforce is changing as globalization continues to level the playing field for workers worldwide.  And many of today’s issues—ranging from climate change to public health to terrorism–have a global dimension, requiring people to work with others from different cultures and nations to solve such problems.

In the introduction to the Common Core State Standards (CCSS), the authors identify the understanding of other perspectives and cultures as an essential feature for college and career readiness. Common Core Standards require students to read a variety of literature and informational texts and encourage a focus on deep research by asking students to gather information from multiple resources.

Below, I highlight three ProQuest resources to help meet CCSS literacy requirements and to develop increased cultural awareness in your students so that they are equipped for college and career.

Three ProQuest Resources:

1. CultureGrams contains primary and secondary source cultural content for more than 160 countries. There are four editions: the World Edition (for students in middle school and up) and the Kids, States, and Canadian Provinces editions (for students in upper elementary school).  Each country contains up-to-date information on the people and their customs and courtesies as well as facts on lifestyle (housing, diet, recreation, etc.) and society (government, economy, education, etc.).  Students can access interviews, videos, recipes, graphs, maps and more. The Curriculum Standards PDF shows all the of the national standards met or developed by each CultureGrams product.

Argentina

Screenshot of Argentina in CultureGrams

2. SIRS Issues Researcher contains a World Cultures Leading Issue with articles on multiple perspectives to help students with their research. The World Cultures Leading Issues, along with the hundreds of other Leading Issues, are crafted to help students analyze and synthesize a wide variety of resources and present a cogent argument.  Perfect for debates or papers covering more than one side to an issue, each sub issue contains an essential question with supporting pro/con articles.

World Cultures Leading Issue

Screenshot of World Cultures Leading Issue, SIRS Issues Researcher.

3. eLibrary has hundreds of culturally-relevant Research Topic pages, including ones on indigenous peoples, religious groups, ethnic foods, as well as many on literature and the arts, such as haiku and folk dance. These pages contain links to editorially-selected articles and websites as well as a trove of primary source documents, videos and images.  Here is a sampling of the type of eLibrary Research Topic pages relevant to the study of culture:

eLibrary Research Topic Pages

Collage of screenshots of three eLibrary Research Topic pages

How to Find Research Topic Pages:

Students can find these pages via keyword search or by clicking on the following link on the search page in eLibrary:

Research Topics link on the Basic Search page

Screenshot of eLibrary link to list of Research Topics

Tell Us What You’re Doing!

Are you using ProQuest to help your students learn about different cultures? Did you create a lesson plan using one of our products? If so, we’d love to here about it! Let us know in the comment box below.

 

CultureGrams: Looking Back on 2014

Our  CultureGrams editors were very busy last year, making the product better than ever with lots of new and updated content. Below is a list of what we added in 2014 and a preview of what to expect in 2015.

  • We added 24 new Kids Edition country reports.
  • We expanded 14 World Edition country reports, which means that the cultural content in these reports increased by at least 50%.
  • We added 30 new interviews to the Faces of the World Interview collection.
  • We updated all of our data tables.
  • We’re continuing with our regular and ongoing process of major updates and review of all CultureGrams reports by native and in-country experts.
  • We expanded our multimedia offerings by adding over 300 new photos and 36 new slideshows to CultureGrams.
  • We are well into the process of adding internal links to the World Edition country reports, which will link out directly to supplementary photos, recipes, and definitions.
Kids Edition Landing Page

Kids Edition Screencap via ProQuest CultureGrams

And for 2015, here is what we have planned.

  • More Kids Edition country reports (we’ve already added 6 new country reports so far in 2015)
  • More interviews
  • More multimedia (we’ve already added 174 new videos in 2015)
  • A brand new Average Person infographic feature that will depict the demographic characteristics of a hypothetical person in each country, highlighting factors such as income level, family size, language, and religion
  • Ongoing reviews, weekly and annual updates
  • And more

Making Sure CultureGrams Reports Are Accurate & Up-to-Date

India Country Report

India Country Report in CultureGrams

CultureGrams editors put forth a lot of effort in making sure that the content in our country, state, and province reports is both accurate and up-to-date. And, unlike some of our competitors, our commitment to providing reliable cultural content doesn’t end once our reports are created initially. We continually update, review, and expand our reports for the benefit of our customers. Below is an explanation of some of our content revision processes.

  1. Weekly updates–When we say that CultureGrams reports are  “updated” weekly, we mean that our editors follow the news and incorporate any major news events into the history sections of the World reports and the timelines of the Kids, States, and Provinces reports. Where there are changes in the head of state and/or government, those are included as well. As the editors do their weekly updates, they may update other sections of the texts as well, but the focus is on history and government.
  2. Statistical updates–The statistical information in all of our reports is updated by the editors once or twice a year, as new stats are available.
  3. Major updates–Each report is given a thorough going over  by the editors once a year to make sure that all of the content is up-to-date. It also includes reviewing the photo galleries and other content. In the Kids, States, and Provinces editions, the major update may also include expanding the most recent history section in a report or adding a new history section, but not always.
  4. Reviews–Reviews usually occur on a five-year cycle. And they involve getting feedback from native or long-term residents rather than just the work of the editors. These reviews from insiders help us know that the information in the reports is accurate and up-to-date. When revisions are warranted, we make them. Because of the expansion process, which include reviews, we’ve been doing reviews on a faster cycle than we normally do. Once the expansions are complete or mostly complete, we’ll revert to the five year cycle.
  5. Expansions–For the past several years now, we’ve been working hard to expand the cultural content of our existing World Edition reports by at least 50%. The expansion process involves the contributions of a native or long-term resident for each country, who writes new content for us. Then that content is reviewed by another native or long-term resident. We are also in the process of expanding the Kids Edition reports by between 40% and 50%. The focus of these latter expansions is primarily on history.

If you have any questions about these processes, please let us know.

CultureGrams–Population Distribution

US County Population Map2

Using Census data, Walter Hickey and Joe Weisenthal of Business Insider created this map to show that half of the population of the United States is concentrated in just 146 of more than 3,000 counties. Are you surprised that so much of the population lives in such a small portion of the country? Why do people live where they do? Why are they concentrated in some areas of a state, country, or province rather than others? And it isn’t just the U.S. Why are the populations of Australia or Norway concentrated much more heavily along the coast than in the interior parts of these countries? Why are the majority of places in the world with high population density found in the northern hemisphere?

Population distribution can be affected by a variety of factors, including climate, topography, economic forces, access to natural resources, proximity to major transportation routes, historical events, etc. And sorting out which factors have contributed to a region’s population distribution is a useful exercise. It’s also important to consider the impact population distribution has on the politics, economics, or other aspects of daily life in a particular country or state.

CultureGrams can be a valuable starting point to help you answer these and other questions. CultureGrams likely won’t provide you with all of the answers you need, but you’ll find helpful information about population, topography, natural resources, economic development, major historical events, etc. You also have access to data tables and maps that may prove useful in thinking about why people live where they do. So get started. Look at where the citizens of your country or state live and think about how culture and geography are intertwined.

February and March Webinars are Posted!

Person at ComputerNeed to get up-to-date on your ProQuest K-12 resources? The ProQuest K-12 Training and Consulting Partners have posted our February and March 30-minute FREE webinars. CLICK HERE to register and join us in class. We’ll provide you with an attendance certificate upon request.

If you want to go more in-depth, look at a resource that’s not listed on the schedule, or make arrangements for a FREE custom-tailored training for your faculty or staff, CLICK HERE to contact us — we’ll be happy to work with you!

CultureGrams: Looking Back on 2013

The CultureGrams editorial team is working hard to create a product that meets the needs of students, teachers, librarians, travelers, and many others. We know that you expect concise, reliable, and up-to-date country information. But we also know that you expect to see a product that is growing, changing, and getting better each year. So below is a list of some of the things we did in 2013 to improve CultureGrams.

CG Photos

  • We instituted a system of weekly updates for all CultureGrams editions. So our country, state, and province reports are now updated on a weekly basis, as warranted by major news events.
  • 22 World Edition country reports were expanded in 2013, which means that the cultural content in those reports increased by at least 50%. We are now 68% of the way through expanding all World Edition reports.
  • We added 23 new interviews to the Faces of the World Interview collection.
  • We added 10 new Kids Edition country reports, bringing the total to 131 country reports, with more to come.
  • We continued with our regular and ongoing process of major updates and reviews of all CultureGrams content by native and long-term residents.
  • We increased the amount of country data in our data tables by more than 230%
  • We significantly expanded our multimedia offerings by adding hundreds of new photos and dozens of new slideshows and videos to CultureGrams.
  • We added text-to-speech functionality to the product and a new photo download tool.

And you can look forward to many new improvements in 2014!

CultureGrams Did You Knows

CG Home Page

 

  • CultureGrams has been working to foster understanding and appreciation of the world’s countries and peoples since 1974.
  • In response to customer requests, we added text-to-speech functionality to CultureGrams in 2013.
  • So far this year, we’ve added 6 new country reports to the Kids Edition and 21 new interviews of adults and children to the Faces of the World Interviews collection.
  • CultureGrams subscribers may (and are encouraged to) use photos, videos, and other media for educational purposes, such as reports, class presentations, and other assignments. These may be posted on secure, password-protected school intranets but not on the open web. All CultureGrams content should be appropriately cited.
  • For those who don’t subscribe to CultureGrams, it is possible to purchase individual country and state reports by visiting our Yahoo! Store: http://culturegram.stores.yahoo.net/
  • You can search the photo gallery using terms of your choice. Such searches make cross-cultural comparisons easier and can be used to create customized presentations.
  • We doubled the amount of content available in the Graphs and Tables area of the World and Kids editions in 2013.
  • Each World Edition country report focuses on 25 cultural categories—language, personal appearance, greetings, diet, housing, and more. The same categories are consistent across all countries.
  • In addition to maps for the individual states, the States Edition includes links to a political, physical, and outline map of the entire United States. These maps can be accessed from the States Edition landing page and are valuable for classroom use.
  • CultureGrams includes a link to a Teaching Activities PDF at the bottom of each page of the product. The PDF contains 79 teaching activities that correlate to Common Core and national curriculum standards. These terrific activities are indexed by grade level as well as by activity type.

New CultureGrams Widgets

CultureGrams has new widgets, available here! With separate widgets for World, Kids, States, and Provinces edition, you can now customize your website to give your users quick access to the CultureGrams edition they use the most.

CGKidsWidget

Simply click on the widget you’re interested in, then copy the code that appears into your site. From the new widget, your users will be able to navigate directly to the World or Kids continent they’re looking for or the States or Provinces navigational maps. Increase use of CultureGrams at your institution through widgets today!

CultureGrams–New Expanded Texts

At CultureGrams, editors continuously verify and update the content in our World, Kids, States, and Provinces reports during several different processes.  One process is an Expansion, which involves working with several natives or long-term residents in a country to increase the length and breadth of perspective of each reports’ cultural content. Recently,  I added two new expanded World texts: Israel and Oman. Sections like Family, Housing, Dating and Marriage, Life Cycle, Diet, Recreation, Holidays, and Education underwent the most change. Just see for yourself.

Before:

online

After:

online2

During Expansions, we also update and add to our Recipes, Famous People, and Photo collections. Over the weekend, I decided to try out one of our newest recipes from Israel, cholent! Cholent (also known as dafina in North Africa) is a traditional Jewish stew that is prepared before the Jewish Sabbath on Friday evening and is kept heated on a warm stove top, oven, or crockpot until a Saturday afternoon or evening meal. I made my cholent in a crockpot on Saturday and ate it for Sunday dinner. It was absolutely delicious!

cholentedit

Check out the recipe for cholent and more here.

Have you noticed CultureGrams’ country reports getting bigger? What new recipes, famous people, and photos do you enjoy? Leave us a comment and let us know what you think.

-Jenni Boyle

Text-to-Speech Functionality in CultureGrams

We are thrilled to announce that text-to-speech functionality is now available in CultureGrams! It’s something that customers have asked for, and we have listened. Through a partnership with ReadSpeaker, CultureGrams content is now more accessible then ever. Hearing text read aloud can help users improve reading comprehension and assist those with visual impairments or reading difficulties. And some customers may simply prefer to listen to the audio rather than reading the text.

LaosGraphic (5)

The text-to-speech functionality is very easy to use. Simply click on the “Listen” link on whatever page you are on and the audio will start. Or you can highlight a portion of text, click on the button that pops up, and that highlighted portion will be read aloud. Whether you listen to the entire text or just a selection, you have the option to play, pause, adjust the volume, control the speed at which the text is read, regulate the highlighting, etc. You can even download MP3 audio files of the text.

OregonGraphic

Text-to-speech functionality is available across all CultureGrams editions. You can see it on country, state, and province landing pages as well as individual category pages. It’s also available with our accessible reports and features such as Interviews, Famous People, and Recipes.

Give it a try. And keep the great suggestions coming!

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