Teacher resources and professional development across the curriculum

Teacher professional development and classroom resources across the curriculum

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Course Overview

The Power of Place: Geography for the 21st Century is a geography course consisting of twenty-six video programs. It is the result of collaboration by educational broadcasters and geographers from the United States, Australia, France, Japan, the Netherlands, and Sweden.

In a world that is increasingly defined as a "global village" by politicians, academicians, and businesspersons, the need to understand our physical and human environments is becoming vastly more important. The vision, as well as the goal of this course, is to provide participants the opportunity to think both independently and critically about the world around them. The study and tools of geography provide just this opportunity.

This course is integrated with the National Geography Standards found in the Geography Education Standards Project's publication, Geography for Life: National Geography Standards 1994. The National Geography Standards can be found here. The series coordinated text is Contemporary World Regional Geography by Michael Bradshaw, George White, and Joseph Dymond, published by McGraw-Hill.

The Power of Place: Geography for the 21st Century may be used by teachers of geography and environmental science at all levels for professional development in gaining familiarity with geographical issues and concepts. Teachers may also use the series as part of, and in developing, lesson plans for use in their classrooms.

Course Organization and Objectives

The Power of Place: Geography for the 21st Century is divided into ten units, one introductory unit, and nine units focusing on the following geographic regions: Europe, Russia and Neighboring Countries, East Asia, Southeast Asia and South Pacific, South Asia, Northern Africa and Southwestern Asia, Africa South of the Sahara, Latin America, and North America. Within each unit are the video programs that form the heart of this course. A listing of program titles and descriptions can be found here.

Each of the twenty-six programs features two, approximately 12-minute case studies that tell compelling stories about geographic issues, giving participants a feel for a place, an environment, and its people. The case studies are designed as counterpoints to each other; viewed together they allow exploration of regional and conceptual issues through geographic analysis.

This course has two main objectives. First, it introduces the field of geography, a discipline that links human societies to their natural environments. Second, the course investigates the great geographic regions of the modern world and examines their human and physical characteristics, assets and liabilities, connections and barriers, and potential and prospects for the future.

The course is designed to provide insight into how the world's major regions are knit together into a spatial framework. It introduces perspectives from physical, political, historical, economic, and cultural geography. The following are just a few of the questions that are raised when considering these different regions:

  • What are the physical and human patterns that can be found?
  • How and why are myriad phenomena -- people, vegetation, climates, mountains, cities -- arranged in particular ways on the earth's surface?
  • What factors are involved in creating or changing particular regions, places, environments, or landscapes?
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