This thesis introduces map interactivity as a new learning resource for historical geography subjects. The purpose of the research is to examine the ability of interactive maps to improve the learning process in social studies classrooms in Utah's public schools. An interactive map and paper maps focused on Utah settlement and hypothetical geographical attractors were created for this research. A two-group experiment was conducted in six classes of Utah Studies; the experimental group used an interactive map, and the control group used a series of paper maps and corresponding tables. Students' conceptual knowledge was tested before and after they used the maps via a pre- and posttest. In addition, at the conclusion of the unit, students rated their feelings about the unit and their assigned maps on a bipolar adjective (semantic differential) scale. Students using the interactive map showed significantly better improvement on two sections of the test: matching and multiple choice. The cognitive processes and the types of knowledge the questions tested likely contributed to this result. Although a significant difference was not found for the attitude assessment, the slow speed of the computers may have increased students' frustration with the interactive map and, consequently, negatively impacted their attitudes about the unit. Integrating interactive maps in social studies classrooms can enhance learning, as these maps can promote an environment in which students learn more effectively and are more interested in the subject matter. As schools update their technology with faster computers, educators should implement more technological mapping resources that may enhance students' learning and attitudes about social studies.



College and Department

Family, Home, and Social Sciences; Geography



Date Submitted


Document Type





interactive cartography, geography education, social studies, utah history, interactive maps, svg



Included in

Geography Commons