ERIC Number: ED205441
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1981-Apr
The Role of Map Instruction for Geographic Learning.
Spring, John W.
This monograph discusses the importance of maps and mapping techniques for students in elementary and secondary school geography classes. Maps are interpreted to include plotter print outs, space and aerial photographs, plastic three-dimensional relief models, spatial images on cathode ray tubes, and holographs (images produced by laser beams). The author suggests that the geographic learning process should begin with skill-centered techniques rather than knowledge-centered techniques because, among other reasons, students can more easily understand a three dimensional world before they are able to interpret a more abstract representation of it. Also, because students generally enjoy the skill-related learning activities such as mapping, they are likely to be more highly motivated to study geography when these activities are stressed. Because maps are more abstract than most geographers and many educators realize, classroom teachers should first present maps to students on a horizontal plane (on the floor) rather than on a vertical plane (on the wall). Specifically, maps and map models should be set on the floor and oriented along the same lines of direction as the classroom. The students should be positioned along the southern periphery and should be facing the map. The importance of this positioning becomes evident later on when the vertical lines on a wall map will depict a north-south axis, and the horizontal lines will imply an east-west direction. After students have mastered maps, map models and symbols, and basic mapping techniques, teachers can use wall maps and projections. Teachers should, however, continue to review previous learning activities to assure students that the more abstract wall map on a vertical plane is actually representing the same phenomena which were demonstrated earlier on the horizontal plane. (DB)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Association of American Geographers (Los Angeles, CA, April 19-22, 1981).