#GeoEdChat 4 tonight: 8pm Sydney EDT (UTC+11)


Our chat tonight is about how we can assist students to progress their conceptual understandings. Please read the think piece and bring your thoughts on how you measure students’ conceptual progression and great strategies that you have used.

The chat will be moderated by Steve @GeoMouldey assisted by Stephen Matthews (@srmdrummer) who will be using the @GeoEdChat account.


#GeoEdChat 4: How do you ensure students conceptual progression? A think piece by Steve Mouldey

When looking to measure students’ conceptual progression I tend to use Building Conceptual Understandings in the Social Sciences (Ministry of Education, 2008). This publication stated five ways that teachers could identify learners’ conceptual progressions:

·         Level of their understanding and use of abstract concepts increases

·         They make connections between multiple concepts

·         They apply and transfer their understandings to more complex and distant contexts as well as to those that are familiar

·         They take responsible actions and make informed decisions that are based on their understandings

·         They begin to understand that concepts can have different interpretations

We often keep strong records of student achievement but how many of us keep data tracking students’ conceptual progress? The issue with measuring conceptual progression is that they are complex, abstract notions that are constantly shifting. So what data to collect to track this progress?

Ensuring conceptual progress may be too strong a word there is plenty that we can do to provoke this learning. Here’s a few things I have used to prompt students’ conceptual progression:

Explicitly using the concept terms in class Some students inherently understand many of the concepts we cover in class but they just don’t recognise it as that concept. By demonstrating their use in our language students will become more aware of the concept and start using it themselves. I have found this particularly with concepts such as patterns and interaction where they have an understanding of these without realising what that understanding is

Concept Mapping over a unit By getting the students to focus on the concepts in a unit of learning they can help each other grow their understanding. In the first week of a unit get the students to collaborate in small groups on producing a concept map for the topic/issue. This can be done on paper or online. Good websites for online versions are CMap, MindMeister and Bubbl.Us. Then get the students to revisit their concept maps 3 or 4 times. This exercise allows the students to focus on connections between the concepts, discuss their understandings with others (assisting each other to deepen their thinking), visualise their learning and also over the course of time see their progress.

Apply the concepts to current events/ movies/ movie trailers Get the students used to applying the concepts to various ideas. I regularly use current events for this but have also used movies and have friends who have used movie trailers. In this way the students start developing their ability to think like a Geographer and use the concepts as a way of viewing the world.

Concept reflection sheets When getting the students to write or discuss reflections on their learning add specific questions in that make the students focus on their developing conceptual understandings. I have used this in both individual and group reflections to great reward for the students.

I look forward to discussing all this with you on Wednesday!

#GeoEdChat 2 Tonight with @NormalGeo & @CanGeoEdu – How do you use social media and Web 2.0 resources to teach geography?

Today’s #GeoEdChat is at 8pm Eastern (UTC -5), or tomorrow if you’re the other side of the International Date Line. Focussing on the question “How do you use social media and Web 2.0 resources to teach about geography?” the chat be being moderated by Kevin Suess (@NormalGeo), a Geography Teacher & Department Chair,  National Geographic Grosvenor Fellow,  National Board Certified Teacher and the V.P. of Illinois Geographical Society.

Many thanks to Canadian Geographic Education (@CanGeoEdu) who will be looking after the @GeoEdChat Twitter handle today.


#GeoEdChat 2: How do you use social media and Web 2.0 resources to teach about geography? A think piece by Kevin Suess.

The second #GeoEdChat will be this Wednesday at 8 p.m. Eastern and the topic will be on how geography teachers are using Web 2.0 technology and the Internet to better their teaching. As the classroom becomes more digital and schools begin to offer 1:1 technology and Bring Your Own Device(BYOD) for students, the options for interacting and collaborating becomes limitless. Not only do students have a multitude of options regarding this technology but geography teachers do as well. As we approach the upcoming #geoedchat, here are some things to consider:

1. How are you using Facebook, Google Drive/Hangouts, Skype, Twitter, and other social media to interact with other professionals and content area experts around the world? How have you used these tools to bring the outside world into your classroom?

2. What websites/resources (Scoop.it, Diigo, Google Drive, Evernote etc.) have you found useful to curate and document the plethora of geography related resources for your professional development and for the enrichment of your students?

3. How have you used these tools within the classroom to help with geography related learning specifically with students?

3. Are there other tools online that you have discovered that help bring the outside world into your classroom?

Today’s #GeoEdChat: Putting geography at the centre of your school with David Rogers

The first ever #GeoEdChat is today and focuses on the important theme of “Putting geography at the centre of your school”. The chat is being moderated by David Rogers who has prepared a short ‘Think Piece’ on the topic which you can read and comment on here.

Taking place at 8pm (UK), 11pm (Iraq) and 3pm (Eastern USA) I hope that you can join us and help to turn #GeoEdChat into a rich and worthwhile meeting place of geography educators.  You can read more about how #GeoEdChat works and our plans for it here.

See you later!