Skip to Content

Volume 20 Number 2

Papers from the Powerful Geography Conference 2018

Conference Recap (PDF, 209 KB)

20/20 Vision on Implementation: Powerful Geography, Project Management, and the Scales of Educational Institutions

Thomas Barclay Larsen

It is not enough for national and international institutions to pledge support to advance geography in education. Transformation happens among the overlapping contexts of states, provinces, counties, cities, and school districts. Large-scale efforts in American geographic education have taken for granted the complexities of institutions at overlapping scales, with special attention to place-level contexts. Powerful Geography employs an empirical approach to tailor career-based geographic knowledge to the standards and curricula that classroom teachers use. To implement this initiative, geographers must think critically and pragmatically about project management in the local and regional settings of institutions that adopt and design curricula. A critical mindset reveals that institutions have limits to their effectiveness at different scales; those limits can result in uneven management across the educational landscape. A pragmatic mindset combines a humanistic appreciation of localities and practical decision-making to improve prospects for Powerful Geography’s implementation and impact on students’ career readiness in their communities and regions. Powerful Geography requires 20/20 vision to correct for the limitations of either top-down or bottom-up approaches to institutional implementation. This paper advocates for seeing more clearly the broader institutional mosaic and developing management strategies for diffusing capabilities-driven geography education.

Larsen (PDF, 316 KB)

A Powerful Geography Approach to the Curricular Transformation of the Undergraduate Geography Program at the Universidad de Costa Rica

Jose Alejandro Cascante Campos, Isabel Avendaño Flores & Victoria González García

The school of geography at the Universidad de Costa Rica started in 2015 a revision of the undergraduate geography program, ending in 2018 with the approval of a new and renewed curriculum. This process involved a “bottom-up” participatory method leaded by the “teaching committee”, where faculty members, administrative staff, students, potential employers, and international external reviewers offer their knowledge, opinions, and feedback. This approach ended up in the epistemological definition of the discipline, the challenges in which geographers are called to actively participate at different scales and contexts, the objectives of the geography’s undergraduate program, and the potential employment opportunities of future professionals. The committee ended up proposing the curricular structure and organization that will allow student’s knowledge acquisition, and the pedagogical approach that will guide geographic learning. The purpose of this article is to analyze how powerful geography concepts and ideas can contribute to understand the changes that the school implemented in this new curriculum. In this way, we discuss on how powerful geography arguments are useful to understand the nature of the changes made to the undergraduate geography program.

Cascante et al. (PDF, 433 KB)

El poder de la Geografía en la actualización de contenidos geográficos en la Escuela Nacional Preparatoria de la Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM)

Alejandro Ramos Trejo

Estados Unidos ha impulsado una iniciativa de investigación denominada Geografía Poderosa con apoyo del Centro Nacional para la Investigación en Educación Geográfica y el Centro Gilbert M. Grosvenor para la Educación Geográfica con el objetivo de fortalecer el papel de la geografía en la formación de profesores, estudiantes y ciudadanos; para ello, se han realizado proyectos de investigación que han sido difundidos en publicaciones, talleres y eventos académicos, en diversos países y Estados Unidos. Por su parte, en México también se han impulsado investigaciones y proyectos educativos. Así la Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM) llevó a cabo entre 2015 y 2018 la actualización de los programas de las asignaturas del mapa curricular de uno de sus subsistemas del bachillerato denominado Escuela Nacional Preparatoria (ENP). El presente trabajo vincula algunos aspectos que sustentan la iniciativa Geografia Poderosa con la actualización de los contenidos incluidos en los programas de las asignaturas geográficas que se han implementado recientemente en la ENP de la UNAM.

Ramos (PDF, 405 KB)