Thursday, April 21, 2011

Everything you wanted to know about Geography but too afraid to ask!

Left image: Rural landscape near Clare, South Australia.
Right image: Aroona Valley, Flinders Ranges, South Australia.

Related sites to the Spatialworlds project
Spatialworlds website
21st Century Geography Google Group
Australian Geography Teachers' Association website
'Towards a National Geography Curriculum' project website
Geography Teachers' Association of South Australia website
Email contact

Where am I??
Adelaide, Australia: S: 34º 55' E: 138º 36'

10 ideas to get started teaching geography

"It is really important that all students study Geography at school. Geography not only gives better spatial awareness so we know where things are but deals with the big issues - the only subject that gives the full picture on sustainable living, fair trade, poverty, renewable energy, migration, urban regeneration, food miles, floods, droughts, hurricanes and hazard management."

What will we offer when a teacher says:
"I am teaching Australian Curriculum: geography next semester/year and I need some help. I did geography at school but geography seems to be different today! What can I look at and work on to prepare to teach geography next semester/year."

Here are some ideas to get started. It certainly is not a finite list but is the basis of some professional learning materials I am putting together for South Australian teachers when I get the question in coming months;

"How do I teach geography? I can learn the content OK but what does geographical thinking involve?"

Idea 1: Read the papers prepared for and by the Australian Curriculum body
• Shape Paper for the Australian Curriculum: geography. The paper able to be downloaded at provides broad direction on the purpose, structure and organisation of the geography curriculum and is designed to be read in conjunction with The Shape of the Australian Curriculum v2.0. It is intended to guide the writing of the geography curriculum from Foundation to Year 12.
• The Research Paper and Position Paper on geography produced by the Towards a National Geography Curriculum Project at
• Australia needs geography:
• The Australian Government commissioned 2008 Erebus International Report titled ‘Study into the Teaching of Geography in Years 3-10’.

Think about providing feedback to ACARA on the Australian Curriculum: geography as further papers are released. Geography teachers need to play an important role in providing feedback to ACARA to make sure we get the geography curriculum Australian students deserve.

Idea 2: Join the Geography Teachers Association (GTA) in your state or country.
Here are the relevant links to join up:
Geography Teachers Association of South Australia (GTASA)
Geography Teachers Association of Victoria (GTAV)
Geography Association of Western Australia (GAWA)
Geography Teachers Association of NSW (GTANSW)
Australian Capital Territory Geography Teachers (sub-branch of GTANSW)
Geography Teachers Association of Queensland (GTAQ)
Tasmanian Geography Teachers Association (TGTA)
• Australian teachers also think about joining the Geography Association (GA) in the UK as an overseas school
• or the GTA in your state/country.

Idea 3: Sign up!

Register on the GTASA site for newsletters, sign up on the “21st Century Geography in Australian classrooms” and follow the Spatialworlds blog.

Idea 4: View these sites:
Australian Teachers Association of Australia (AGTA) site.
GTAV site.
National Curriculum in the UK materials
Geography Association (GA) site.
In particular look at:
o (if primary)
o (if secondary)
• Juicy and Digital Geography, worthwhile “left field” geography blogs at and
Mind's Wonderings: The blog from Rebecca Nicholas (Queensland teacher) is a great resource to keep up to date with the latest developments in technology and the applications these have for education and teaching.

Idea 5: Think about attending the GTASA conference in Adelaide on May 27th 2011 and the 21-23 August GTAV conference in Melbourne.

Idea 6: Download the free AEJEE ArcGIS from Get started playing with GIS using this free ESRI program. Also view the previous Spatialworlds blog posting on free GIS software. There is also a free 14 day trial Webserver GIS available from eSpatial. The 14day trial gives instant access to all the standard functionality of a traditional desktop GIS.

Idea 7: To get inspired about what geography means to so many, watch the 2011 AGTA keynote presentations on the AGTA website.

Idea 8: Read the following articles
Primary school geography
Children Place and Environment (primary school): Simon Catling
Think Piece - Children's Worlds: Simon Catling

General articles on geographical thinking:
Geographic Inquiry: Thinking Geographically: ESRI
• Thinking Geographically: Peter Jackson and
• The edited pdf of the Spatialworlds blog focussing on geographical thinking.
The case for geography

Books to purchase

Idea 9: View the following geography Powerpoint presentations:

Idea 10: Watch the following You Tube Videos on Geography

• You Tube Videos on Geography

• You Tube Videos on National Curriculum for geography

You Tube videos on GIS

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