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Volume 8

Wanted: A Concise List of Neurologically Defensible and Assessable Spatial-Thinking Skills
Philip J. Gersmehl and Carol A. Gersmehl
Volume 8 (2006), Pages 5-38

Recent neuroscientific research seems to indicate that the human brain has several distinct “regions” that are structured to do particular kinds of spatial thinking. A review of more than 900 research studies provides the foundation for a list of eight distinct modes of spatial thinking at geographic (as opposed to personal or astronomical) scales. This article summarized the neuroscientific evidence for the analytical processes of comparing places, assessing spatial hierarchies, visualizing spatial transitions, identifying analogous locations (e.g., on other continents), and discerning spatial patterns and pattern associations. This concise list could serve as a neurologically defensible outline for a “taxonomy” of spatial thinking skills, which in turn could provide a more solid foundation for assessment (and thus help guide the development of better teaching materials and more effective training of teachers to use those materials).

Keywords: spatial, cognition, neuroscience, location, aura, buffer, region, hierarchy, transition, analogy, pattern, association, movement, diffusion, spatial model, assessment


Reforming Geography Education in Modern Russia
Vladimir A. Gorbanyov and Irina I. Barinova
Volume 8 (2006), Pages 39-58

In recent years the level of secondary geography education in Russia has diminished. Geographically awareness at both the cultural and educational levels is reaching new lows. Education authorities are attempting to reduce geography’s role in school curriculum. Since the 1980s, many geographic educators have developed new conceptions of geography education, several of which are reviewed in this article. However, the new conceptions of the discipline have not taken into account the radical changes both politically and educationally at the end of the 20th and beginning of the 21st centuries. The authors introduce two new conceptualizations of geography base don simplification and humanizing of the geography course. This requires the integration of physical and social geography. However, these conceptualizations are of little consequence unless the government radically changes the financial, organizational, and public relations support of the discipline.

Keywords: geography education, reforming of geography education in Russia, geography curriculum, teaching geography in Russia


Exploring Issues of Validity in a Study of Geography Teachers’ Subject Knowledge
Clare Brooks and Nick Hopwood
Volume 8 (2006), Pages 59-72

This paper explores aspects of validity in qualitative research relating to a study of geography teachers’ subject knowledge and how this relates to their practice. Participating teachers and an external researcher scrutinized raw data and commented on preliminary analyses. The outcomes of these processes are evaluated first with specific reference to understanding the case teachers’ subject knowledge and then in a broader discussion relating to engaging participants and other researchers in similar exercise. It is argues that even where discrepancies and conflicts between different interpretations of data emerge, such tensions may be explored as helpful rather than perceived as threats.

Keywords: analysis, interpretation, representation, case teachers


Improving Spatial Understanding of Historic Battle of Guildford Courthouse
Roy Stine, Elisabeth Nelson and Michael Swaim
Volume 8 (2006), Pages 73-89

Military battles typically are depicted using printed maps, yet understanding how the story of an engagement unfolds in inherently a dynamic process. With the explosion of technological improvements in GIS and graphic illustration software, it is now possible to seriously consider the design and implementation of animated versions of these battles, both for their attention-getting capabilities, as well as their potential to enhance understanding of these events. This research explores the process of creating an animated map of the Battle of Guildford Courthouse and addresses the cartographic challenges involved in producing an effective presentation.

Keywords: GIS, cartography, animation, education, history


An Assessment of GIS Education Using Marble’s Pyramid: Case Study in Ho Chi Minh City, Viet Nam
Huynh Niem Tu
Volume 8 (2006), Pages 90-116
Geographic Information Systems (GIS) as a teaching tool is well entrenched in the curriculum of higher education in North America and abroad. As such, GIS has become a powerful teaching tool in geography and related classrooms, in developing countries. Despite the acceptance of GIS in higher education in both the developed and developing countries, there is a lack of systematic methodology to identify benchmarks, to measure, and to assess the success of a burgeoning GIS education. The author proposes an assessment of GIS education and benchmarking scheme by applying Marble’s Pyramid to GIS education at three colleges in Viet Nam’s National University-Ho Chi Minh City (VNU_HCMC). This paper is organized into three sections with the first providing a background of each college’s implementation of GIS into the curricula. The second part assesses the GIs education at the colleges by measuring each against Marble’s Pyramid. The third section compares results from this study with those in a Canadian report for comparison, and determines the effectiveness of Marble’s Pyramid as an assessment methodology.

The Cartographic ImagiNation: Bilingual Geographies Among Welsh Secondary School Students
Bill Fleming
Volume 8 (2006), Pages 117-13
How do Welsh geography students cartographically depict the nation? What symbols and icons do they use in the demarcation of boundary and construction of distinctions between themselves and others? How is language implicated in the delimitation of territory, representations of place, projections of preferences, and narratives of “the Other?” These questions are at the heart of a study which explores the linkages between language, mapping, and identity. A cartographic survey, conducted among level 9 and 10 pupils in Aberystwyth’s two secondary schools in the fall of 2005, provides responses which are employed in the construction of a geographer’s data matrix, which, in turn, indicates both predictable and surprising relationships.

Keywords: cartography, matrix, boundary, identity, iconography, bi-lingual