Wendy North and Ann Hamblen
The material on these pages is taken from a GA seminar given at the BETT Show 2006.
Visual Geography: Background
Wendy North and Ann Hamblen
By Wendy North
I work with teachers, sometimes in classrooms, though more frequently in a consultative role and on teacher professional development.
I believe that in our increasingly global & interdependent world our young people need a well developed understanding of the earth, her people and what is happening right here on their doorstep and in the wider world.
In other words they need geography ...
... but geography that is imaginative, active and creative – the kinds of geography that Ann promotes through her work as a writer in education and also the kind of visual geography that can be actively learnt through using ICT.
Geography is a very visual subject
Geography is a very visual subject and the use of images can help to make the subject much more accessible to young people. But we need to remember that children do not always see and interpret images as we do. As Margaret Mackintosh points out:
We tend to assume that pictures are easy to understand, requiring little skill, and we often take it for granted that children see what they are asked to look at and that they see what we see in pictures. But this is not so. The skill of looking at, understanding and interpreting pictures has to be taught through planned directed study.
(p.121, Primary Geography Handbook, Geographical Association 2005)
The activities that we will share with you in this session are focused on some simple ways in which teachers can use digital images to enrich children’s learning in geography
In recent years ICT has brought us enormous benefits.
For me personally the main ones have been:
- The internet (without which I could not have put together todays presentation)
- The ability to project in classrooms large images of people and places from around the globe
As a predominantly visual learner the ability to see and use projected images has made an enormous impact on me. In school my textbooks were very wordy and largely boring – my love of geography came from the places I was taken to as a child, which in turn led to my ability to visualise some of the physical environments that we were learning about in geography.
In our increasingly ICT rich classrooms where projection & interactive whiteboards are becoming common place all children can access this visual world.
Virtual journeys will always be better than books full of words.
Adopt, Adapt and Innovate
While developing the materials that I am going to share with you in this session my thinking was:
- How can I influence the least confident teachers in the classroom – for every teacher who can’t (use ICT) there are 30 children who don't
- How can I support the busy classroom teacher who can use ICT – but despite the government rhetoric that ICT will make teachers lives easier they rarely get the time to prepare resources other than for literacy, numeracy and perhaps science.
National strategies have helped to generate examples of resources that can be adopted and adapted to support teaching and learning using ICT.
We would like to make our contribution to redressing this imbalance and offer you ideas and pre-prepared resources for using ICT to support teaching and learning in geography.
We have chosen to build on the 'Adopt, Adapt & Innovate' model promoted within the National Strategies because the words seem to us to provide a clear and understandable shorthand for the enormous task we are trying to undertake.
We are seeking to encourage you as teachers or to encourage you as influencers of teachers to:
Adopt some of the examples that we show in this session
Adapt the ideas shown here to make them relevant to the geographical learning that is being undertaken by a particular class of pupils.
We hope that this in turn will lead to Innovation in the way that ICT is used to support geographical learning.
Comment on this page
Comments made by GA members appear instantly - make sure you're logged in! Guest comments will be sent to a moderator for approval.