Geography Education

For many reasons, geography education is a national concern. There is a need to combat the often-documented geographic ignorance of US schoolchildren (and adults), to understand the geographies of a globalizing world, and now increasingly, to teach spatial thinking skills to make informed and ethical use of geospatial technologies (GPS, GIS, remote sensing, and geovisualization tools).

For this reason, geographers at Penn State engage both in scholarly research and practical implementation. Over the past few years, graduate students at Penn State have worked on a range of topics including: the spatial rationales for the locations of the land grant universities; the physical and virtual infrastructures that support home schooling; the spatial diffusion of colleges and universities across the US; the ease of learning to use different GIS software packages by middle school teachers; and the success of programs for place-based education.

The Department has two education-related programs. The first, in collaboration with the College of Earth and Mineral Science's Dutton e-Education Institute , has pioneered instructor-led distance education programs in Geographic Information Systems and in Geospatial Intelligence. The second, through the Gould Center for Geography Education and Outreach, designs maps and other information graphics for other parts of the University. The Department is also active in the Pennsylvania Geographic Alliance and is the home for the Pennsylvania Geographic Bee.

Faculty with interests in Geography Education:

Dr. Lorraine Dowler

Dr. Roger Downs

Staff with interests in Geography Education:

Jodi Vender