Research in Geographic Education

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The journal, Research in Geographic Education, publishes significant research-based manuscripts and other important contributions in geographic education. As a field of research, geographic education covers a wide range of topics, including spatial cognition, perception, applications of learning theory, applications of instructional methodology, and assessment of student achievement, to name just a few. Therefore, the editors of the Journal evaluate a wide range of manuscripts reporting scholarly research and practice completed by faculty members, classroom teachers, independent scholars, and senior level graduate students. The Journal represents all segments of the research community in geographic education, including senior, mid-career, and new researchers and teachers and graduate student researchers, who are engaged in active research about learning and teaching. In order to achieve those goals, we encourage and welcome submissions of papers. We review papers within the editorial staff initially, followed by a peer review by topical specialists in geography education. The editorial staff will work with you to publish a manuscript that contributes significantly to geographic education.

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Recent Submissions

Now showing 1 - 20 of 67
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    [Book Review] Learning Through Enquiry: Making Sense of Geography in the Key Stage 3 Classroom
    (The Grosvenor Center for Geographic Education, 2002-05) Walker, Scott L.
    Inquiry, in terms of education, has multiple meanings. Inquiry in one sense is a natural learning process of discovering how the world works. Inquiry in another sense is an educational strategy of discovery guided by a teacher. From a cognitive learning perspective, inquiry is an element of interpretivist epistemological learning theories which assert that a student tacitly constructs his or her own reality. To varying degrees, well known instructional theorists Jerome Bruner, Jean Piaget, and Lev Vygotsky have incorporated the natural process of inquiry learning into their educational theories. More recently, geography educators apply the use of “geographic inquiry” processes to a variety of classroom settings (e.g. Halvorson & Wescoat, 2002; Hurley, Proctor, & Ford, 1999; Klein, 1995; Malone, Palmer, & Voigt, 2002). Learning through Enquiry takes the theoretical concept of inquiry and places it squarely in the hands of middle-grade geographic educators, who can now use strategies of inquiry as an interdisciplinary tool adaptable to a variety of learning situations.
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    Introductory Physical Geography’s Place in General Education Science and Scientific Literacy
    (The Grosvenor Center for Geographic Education, 2002-05) McGlinn, Lawrence
    Introductory Physical Geography is a unique course, a natural science course that is usually housed in geography departments which are dominated by social science offerings. More important, Introductory Physical Geography fits the three fundamental goals of scientific literacy: 1) science should be for a broad population; 2) science should be cross-disciplinary; and 3) science should be integrated with society. Introductory Physical Geography’s qualitative methodology, synthetic focus, and close ties to human geography make it an appropriate vehicle for scientific literacy, but it is still too often taught as a collection of loosely connected concepts. It must be taught with an emphasis on synthesis to be effective. Introductory Physical Geography is a cornerstone of most Geography Departments, which means it is offered frequently with many seats available for registration. Nevertheless, its role is not clearly defined across all departments that offer it. For instance, most consider it a natural science, but some call it a social science. For some, it is a laboratory course, but not for others. Regardless of its differing meanings, Introductory Physical Geography is a strong entry in general education, and it should be advocated by geographers, not as a broad combination of concepts from climatology, geology, and biology, but as a unique, synthetic geography course.
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    Geography in the K-12 Curriculum in Colorado: Results of a Survey of Social Studies Coordinators, 2001-2002
    (The Grosvenor Center for Geographic Education, 2002-05) Klein, Phil; Kerski, Joseph
    A survey of social studies coordinators in Colorado revealed that state-mandated model content standards have diffused into district curricula. Based on the sample, it is apparent that Colorado’s geography standards, patterned closely after the national standards, have been widely adopted across the state since 1995. However, the lack of mandated testing in social studies disciplines has resulted in uneven implementation of standards-based instruction and assessment in Colorado. Particularly in elementary schools, geography’s place in the curriculum is at some risk in Colorado, although prospects are brighter in middle and high schools.
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    The Status of GIS Education in Departments of Geography at 4-Year Colleges and Universities in the United States
    (The Grosvenor Center for Geographic Education, 2002-05) Tas, Halil I.; Finchum, Allen
    This paper provides a brief overview of past research on GIS education programs and how Departments of Geography and higher education institutions have developed such programs over the past two decades. The paper also presents information from a survey of departments offering GIS programs and courses taken in 2001 and 2002. These results provide a description of the types of institutions that provide GIS education programs as well as the general regional patterns of these programs. Other information provided from the survey includes enrollment and job placement patterns, and the impact of GIS programs on geography departments responding to the survey.
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    Are Sex Differences Important for Complex Spatial Tasks?
    (The Grosvenor Center for Geographic Education, 2002-05) Bunch, Rick; Lloyd, Robert
    This study investigates sex-related differences on a cognitive task that required the recall and comparison of states. Reaction time, accuracy, and efficiency were considered in a computer game where participants uncovered two states in a spatial array and determined whether they matched. The preliminary task results suggested males were more familiar with state shapes and locations than females. This increased familiarity with the locations of states on maps, however, did not translate to an advantage on the main experiment where the results appeared to be more related to the nature of the task than the cognitive processing differences between sexes.
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    Geography Education Online: A Formative Evaluation
    (The Grosvenor Center for Geographic Education, 2002-05) Kent, Ashley
    In 2001, an online version of the well-established Masters Geography in Education course at the Institute of Education, University of London, became available to the English-speaking world. This paper outlines the principles underlying the course, its curriculum, and assessment approaches used. It is a formative evaluation of that course. The evaluation is described and implications drawn.
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    A Comparative Analysis of Geographical Education in Japan and Myanmar
    (The Grosvenor Center for Geographic Education, 2002-05) Win, Hla Hla
    To assess the current status of geographical education in Myanmar’s junior high school curriculum, the geographical education of Japan was used as a comparative reference. The standards measured in the Survey on the State of Geographical Education around the World, conducted by the International Geographical Union in 1999-2000, provided the criteria for comparison. A small survey was also carried out to confirm the comparative assessments made by this researcher for both of the countries. The current geographical education of Japan was found to be more adequate for preparing active twenty-first century citizens. The current geographical education of Myanmar needs to be developed to meet international standards and the policy of the country.
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    Reflections on Teaching and Research in Russian Geographical Education: Pedagogical Technologies
    (The Grosvenor Center for Geographic Education, 2002-05) Dushina, Iraida V.
    Research on pedagogy in teaching geography in Russia has focused on the modern principle of individual-oriented teaching. The approach requires taking into account the psycho-physiological nature of students and employing a research design that is aligned with classroom practices. Such an approach permits the researcher to investigate the roles of teachers and students relative to achievement based on clearly stated outcomes. The pedagogical research agendas are actively developed using the latest advancements in psychology, information science, cognitive theory and activity control. Control of the student learning activities is closely connected with the psychology of development and has resulted in the introduction of new pedagogical technologies into teaching and learning. It is widely accepted in Russia today that pedagogical practices must extend well beyond the explanatory, demonstrative and reproductive elements of knowledge that was the mainstay of schooling just a few years earlier. However, introduction of teaching technologies does not mean that they replace the traditional methods. The more modern technologies in the individual oriented teaching are not used instead of traditional teaching methods, but simultaneously integrated when they are essential to the subject methods. Teaching technology depends to a large extent on the controllability of the educational process. Under the “teaching technology” the teachers are introduced to ways of increasing pedagogical effectiveness and designing educational processes that have clearly prescribed outcomes. The term “technology” is sometimes used instead of teaching method, but they are generally interchanged and reflect the degree to which modem instruments are used in the classroom. In the research reported here, the conceptions are different: a) teaching technology that means development of optimal teaching methods, and b) technology in technical tutorials (computer programs including multimedia textbooks on geography). While using a computer in teaching provides opportunities to include special documents such as rare maps and satellite photos, they are considered teaching technologies within pedagogy. However in both cases it is assumed that using technologies is aimed to perfect student engagement in the topic while solving the didactic problem introduced by the teacher.
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    A Message from the Editors: Geography Education Research and Research Funding
    (The Grosvenor Center for Geographic Education, 2002-05) Stoltman, Joseph P.; DeChano, Lisa M.
    Research that is of high quality and that presents meaningful results requires resources. Requests for Proposals (RFPs), invitations to participate in innovative programs, and floating an interesting research idea past a private or governmental funding agency are the means that we normally consider. On this side of the editors' desks, it is apparent to us that the resources required for quality research in geographic education come from a range of sources. The most common source of funding that moves a research project to completion is human capital. Yes, most research that is submitted is completed by a scholar or scholarly team. The researchers have used their own time in completing the research. There are few citations, such as “This research was funded by a major grant from ...” on the title page indicating that external resources were used. One could argue whether or not research should rely on the personal capital of the researcher in terms of time and skill. However, in geographic education the reality is that personal capital is what gets a research project underway, sees it to completion, and presents it as a manuscript. It seems that the personal/professional resources for research in geography education are going to be dominant in the foreseeable future. (The equation: total personal/professional capital in terms of time and necessary resources is greater than those procured by research funding).
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    Research in Geographic Education, Volume 4, Issue 1, Spring 2002
    (The Grosvenor Center for Geographic Education, 2002-05) Boehm, Richard G.; Stoltman, Joseph P.; DeChano, Lisa M.; Behrens, Judy
    The Research in Geographic Education journal publishes significant research-based manuscripts and other important contributions in geographic education.
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    [Book Review]. Community Geography: GIS in Action
    (The Grosvenor Center for Geographic Education, 2001-05) Walker, Scott L.
    No abstract prepared.
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    [Book Review] GIS in the Classroom: Using Geographic Information Systems in Social Studies and Environmental Science
    (The Grosvenor Center for Geographic Education, 2001-05) Doering, Aaron H.
    No abstract prepared.
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    Surveying Teachers: Do Geographic Alliances Meet the Needs of A Key Market?
    (The Grosvenor Center for Geographic Education, 2001-05) Oldakowski, Raymond; Molina, Laurie
    K-12 teachers represent an important component and focus of geographic alliance activities. This paper examines the results of a survey of 416 K-12 teachers in Florida to determine their familiarity with the state Geographic Alliance and their evaluation of its effectiveness. We found that approximately 25% of the respondents were familiar with the Alliance. Most respondents were familiar with the Alliance because of the materials they distribute. Respondents also found those instructional materials to be the most important service the Alliance provides. These and other findings are important to geographic alliances in planning future activities and services for K-12 teachers.
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    The Role of Geographic Education in Career Development and Worker Satisfaction among Geography Graduates
    (The Grosvenor Center for Geographic Education, 2001-05) Ringer, Enid Lotstein
    In an exploratory survey of performed at Hunter College, City University of New York, 13 (29%) of the Geography Department’s graduates (N = 50), reported “ending up” in their professions because of specialized experience related to the geography degree or other specific experience. Fifty-two percent reported that spatial analysis was the most useful skill they brought to their profession. Respondents reported that “Making a Difference” (21%), “Bringing Geography to Education ” (16%), “Spatial Data Management” (11%) and the “Usefulness of the Work to Community and Agencies” (11%) were the most satisfying work characteristics. All respondents who saw spatial data management as satisfying work also viewed themselves as having geographical careers. Sixty-nine percent of respondents reported being dissatisfied with the “work world” in general.
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    Geographic Education and Elementary Geography Texts, 1850-1900
    (The Grosvenor Center for Geographic Education, 2001-05) Trifonoff, Karen
    Geographic education in the first half of the nineteenth century in the United States was dominated by a memorization pedagogy, and the content contained in geography textbooks was well suited to this approach. In the second half of the nineteenth century, the textbook content changed to include more detailed descriptions of the human and physical world, an emphasis on commercial geography, and an expanded use of maps. This manuscript analyzes elementary geography textbooks from 1850-1900 in order to determine the nature of the changes that occurred in geographic education and textbooks in the nineteenth century, the format of textbooks specifically for elementary grades, and the implications of these changes for geography education today.
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    Geography Education: Episodes In Building Its Intellectual and Political Capital
    (The Grosvenor Center for Geographic Education, 2001-05) Hill, A. David
    On May 24, 2003, Dr. A. David Hill presented the Keynote Address, “Geography Education: Episodes in Building its Intellectual and Political Capital”, as part of Geo-Nexus: Conference on Research in Geographic and Environmental Education, hosted by the Gilbert M. Grosvenor Center for Geographic Education, Department of Geography, Texas State University-San Marcos.
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    [Book Review] The Cognition of Geographic Space
    (The Grosvenor Center for Geographic Education, 2001-05) Bell, Scott
    No abstract prepared.
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    [Book Review] The Complete Idiot's Guide to Geography. Geography for Dummies
    (The Grosvenor Center for Geographic Education, 2001-05) Jones, Mark C.
    No abstract prepared.
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    The Influence of Sex, Spatial Activity, Geographic Setting and Geographic Landscape on Adolescent Spatial Abilities
    (The Grosvenor Center for Geographic Education, 2001-05) Smith, Janet S.
    Maps are central to the discipline of geography, but more importantly, maps are integral to daily life. We determine directions, locations, and distances from general purpose maps, we gauge the weather from meteorological maps, and we make countless daily decisions based on maps that we unfold only in our minds. Our spatial ability guides our map reading, enhances our understanding of local and global events, and assists us in mentally and physically navigating our daily journeys. However, not all individuals possess the same spatial ability to read and interpret maps or to mentally conceptualize space. These individual differences in cartographic and cognitive mapping abilities are the focus of this project. Specifically, this research examines two aspects of spatial ability differences: 1) the relationship between map skill ability (determining direction, estimating distance, interpreting map symbols, making map comparisons, and route planning) and cognitive mapping ability (creating a two-dimensional map of an explored three-dimensional environment); and 2) the hypothesized influences of sex, spatial activity, geographic setting and geographic landscape on spatial ability differences. To date, there is no widely accepted theory on differences in human spatial ability. This deficit can be attributed to two factors. First, spatial ability is a complex concept. Researchers have documented the difficulties encountered when trying to enumerate a specific set of knowledge and skills involved in a person’s interpretation, conception, and understanding of space. Second, several distinct academic disciplines have, independently, explored human spatial abilities. This fragmented approach, coupled with the breadth of the construct, has understandably led to a lack of consensus supporting a common theory to explain differences in human spatial ability. It has also been hypothesized that numerous social, biological, and cultural factors influence a person’s spatial ability, including sex, spatial activity/experience, geographic setting and geographic landscape. However, no known research examines these factors within a single model. The purpose of this research is to use a modeling approach to simultaneously assess the relative strength of factors theoretically influencing spatial ability within the framework of a single model. A second purpose of this research is to specifically focus on adolescent cartographic and cognitive abilities. This goal is important because, while psychologists and geographers have largely overlooked adolescent spatial abilities (Goldberg and Kirman 1990), research demonstrates a strong link between these abilities and skills in cartography, remote sensing, air photo interpretation, and geographic information systems. These topics are of critical importance in geographic education at all levels, therefore understanding differences in adolescent spatial abilities may well influence the direction of geography curriculum in the future.
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    Changing Communities, Changing Childhoods: Playing, Living and Learning in New York City from the 1940s - 2000s
    (The Grosvenor Center for Geographic Education, 2001-05) Wridt, Pamela
    Over the last century enormous changes have occurred within the social, economic and cultural fabric of urban communities in the United States. For instance, changes in the economy and family structure have lead to a dramatic increase in the demand for after-school programs, particularly for low-income children. The invention of television and other digital mediums of entertainment have lured many children off the streets and into their homes for playtime activities, contributing to the absence of children in public space. In New York City, social and economic challenges such as the race riots of the 1960s, increased drug trafficking in neighborhood parks in the 1980s, globalization and the polarization of rich and poor in the 1990s, and an increasing degree of police surveillance resulting from terrorism in the 2000s have all created different contexts for living and learning. However, these changes are not well documented in terms of their impact on the meaning and spatial experience of childhood. The goal of this research is to describe and analyze the differing social and environmental contexts of child development in New York City from the 1940s to the present. More specifically, this research will compare the childhood experiences of individuals who grew up in and around a public housing development amid the communities of Yorkville and East Harlem. The focus of the investigation is the period of middle childhood (roughly the period of childhood between ages 11 and 13), a time when most children are able to actively and autonomously explore their communities. The emphasis of the research is on changes in children’s geographies, or how children use, think about, and make sense of space in their everyday life. Such knowledge will help educators understand more broadly the context of child development and informal geographic learning, and will help facilitate planning and community development to address children’s unique environmental and social needs.