Infuse Spatial Thinking in Your Curriculum


  • Kate Carlson University of Minnesota - Twin Cities
  • Shana Crosson University of Minnesota - Twin Cities


GIS, Story Maps, Spatial Thinking, Maps


What do maps have to do with storytelling? Everything! Come learn how Story Maps, a powerful digital platform, integrate spatial thinking with storytelling to present information in a compelling, interactive and easy to understand format. Story Maps are multidisciplinary applications that require students and instructors to move past a basic text-based project with an instructor as the only audience, to one that requires exploration of multiple means of demonstrating their knowledge, incorporating visuals, spatial information and relationships and digital delivery. Creating a Story Map requires students to think in multiple dimensions of pursuing creative storytelling, combined with innovative use of geospatial technology. Students are given the opportunity to not only apply spatial thinking to their course content, but also by creating Story Maps, they demonstrate their knowledge and understanding in an innovative media that moves students into 21st century learning technologies. These geospatial technologies are accessible at many levels of learning; from K-12 to higher education, to novice and expert, and can be applied to all subject areas.

Author Biographies

Kate Carlson, University of Minnesota - Twin Cities

Kate Carlson is a Spatial Technology Consultant at U-Spatial, a university-wide center that supports spatial research. She has considerable experience in higher education as faculty and research associate, leading students through geospatial curriculum in the class and abroad.

Shana Crosson, University of Minnesota - Twin Cities

Shana Crosson is a former teacher and museum professional, she now works as an Academic Technologist at the University of Minnesota. Shana led the Minnesota Historical Society’s efforts of digital delivery of historical content for the K-12 audience for 10 years. At the University of Minnesota, Shana works with faculty to explore and integrate digital content and tools into classes and academic work. Shana has presented on 21st century learners, website development and digital curriculum to museum conferences, and on primary sources, GIS and digital curriculum to educator conferences.