I placed a large 4'x3' map of the U.S. in my kids room. They're too young yet to have a concept of a map (computer or otherwise), but I want them to be able to say look at Calfornia, where we live, and take the time to look at each and every state in between to say the State of Maine. With a very large map you get much more of a feel for the position of states relative to one another (or countries for that matter) and then you can also zoom in (get closer) and see what lies within.
Yes, it is very cool in particular to do that on an iPad. But the entire feel is lost. If one looks at the whole US at once, most of the details are lost. Then as soon as you zoom in it is difficult to appreciate the spatial relationship between states as one "journeys" across the country.
That reminds me, I also need to buy a globe. Or is that to be replaced with an animated 3d monitor representation as well?
I used to love the globe my parents gave me as a kid. It had raised surfaces to indicate mountains. I remember tracing mountain ranges and wondering about how tall Mount Everest really was.
When a teacher showed our class a flat map and tried to explain how this Mercator projection wasn't truly accurate because the world is a sphere, I remember a bunch of students being confused. I was more fortunate. I imagined the globe back home and got it right away.
I love digital maps for the efficiency in performing the task of getting from point A to point B, and I love globes for helping to visualize the physical world as a whole.