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Volume 6

Implementing Pedagogical Geographical Information Systems Applications in Pre-Service Teacher Training
Tino Johansson and Taina Kaivola Volume 6 (2004), Pages 5-18

Geographical Information Systems (GIS) were incorporated into a new national core curriculm for upper secondary schools in Finland in autumn 2005. This places GIS relatively high on teachers’ agendas and requires a revision of traditional pre-and in-service teacher training courses. The Department of Geography at the University of Helsinki, Finland introduced a special GIS training course for per-service teachers in 2001 and the course has, to date, been taught four times. This paper presents the content and structure of the course, describes the proficiencies of the participants in critical computer software at the beginning of the course, and assesses the attainment targets for students on the basis of the feedback forms returned after each course.

Keywords: geographical information systems, per-service teacher training, course planning, student feedback

Using the Internet to Develop Geographical Knowledges
Clare Brooks Volume 6 (2004), Pages 19-36

The internet has become an increasingly important part of a geography teacher’s resource base. But what sort of geographical learning can occur when using the internet? This paper reports on a critical evaluation of an internet-based learning experience designed to further students’ understanding of place. This evaluation considers the extent to which children learn more about place by using the internet and the sorts of geographical knowledge they develop through their use of ICT. The findings suggest that caution should be exercised when using the internet as the outcomes are not always what were initially anticipated.

Keywords: internet, virtual learning environments, geographical knowledges, communication, constructivism

New Geography Curriculum Reform of Middle Schools in China
Wang Min Volume 6 (2004), Pages 37-44

China began new curriculum reforms in 2000. The reform changed the focus of geography from its traditional subject centered curriculum to permit the adoption of an integrated curriculum. The changes also emphasize elementary innovative spirits, practical capability, scientific and cultural accomplishment, and environmental awareness. Basic knowledge, skills and methods suitable for lifelong learning are the general goals of the reform in middle schools and have influenced Chinese education deeply. The purpose of this paper is to report on three facets of the reform movement: 1) how it affected the curriculum in general; 2) the plan for implementation; and 3) the influences on textbooks.

Keywords: Geography Curricula reform, Middle schools, China

Learning Geography by Visually-Impaired Students
Christopher Murr and Denise Blanchard Volume 6 (2004), Pages 45-61

An important consideration for understanding and removing barriers to the transmission of geographic information to the visually-impaired student, is knowing how the student perceives his/herself relative to the socially constructed label of “deviant.” According to “Labeling Theory,” as applied to the study and understanding of disability, “deviant” refers to a physical or mental state that differs from what society considers “normal.” This study investigates whether society’s labeling of such students as deviant affects this population’s perception of their ability to complete a course or degree in geography, a discipline generally regarded as requiring visual skills. Data were collected via internet questionnaires from a sample of 81 visually-impaired students attending four-year colleges and universities at which geography departments were located. Our findings suggest that the degree of perceived success of a visually-impaired student in undertaking a course, or a program of geography, is strongly associated with one’s level of “disability acceptance,” and with one’s perceived success in completing courses and degrees in other disciplines, whether “visual,” or “non-visual,” as well.

Keywords: Labeling Theory, Visually-Impaired Student, Spatial Learning, Spatial Cognition, Learning Geography