Geographical education for/about/in the age of the Anthropocene
This session aims to highlight the variety of work that is being done in geographic education across Canada. Although school programs differ from one province and territory to another, the issues related to geographic learning overlap. What is the overview of this variety of practices across Canada? What are the particularities and challenges of teaching geography from preschool to university? How is the Anthropocene considered in teaching, learning and research in geography? Is it possible to identify a common thread? We encourage conceptual, empirical and methodological contributions that address geographic education in school, extracurricular or university contexts. We have three presentations scheduled within our session (please see the abstracts below).
1) Practicing Geography: The value of internships and resources for students
Dr. Niem Huynh, Department of Geography, Planning and Environment, Concordia University
Unless students need an internship that is required for credit / their program, there is usually little support within the department. What if students were led to related internships where they can practice geography? We know from the literature and studies that geography offers students with a range of hard and soft skills and knowledge to succeed in internships. This presentation first summarises the value of internships to geography students from career planning, graduation rates, and satisfaction with their program. Specific examples will be drawn from the literature and Master of Environmental Assessment program at Concordia University. This is followed by resources for students and staff/faculty in advising roles to search for placements within geography, funding opportunities, as well as tips from employers.
2) The State of Geography Education in Canada, Some Preliminary Findings
Dr. Chantal Déry, Université du Québec en Outaouais | campus St-Jérôme, Dr. Lynn Moorman, Mount Royal University, Dr. Carolyn DeLoyde, Queen's University, Dr. Kelley McClinchey, Wilfrid Laurier University
K-12 Geography curricula and course offerings vary throughout Canadian provinces and territories and there are no regular data captured to indicate the amount of geography teaching time, the resources used, and the formal preparation of, and the challenges experienced by, educators. In an ongoing effort to understand the state of geography teaching in Canada, an online survey of K-12 geography educators was conducted. In this paper, we will present some preliminary results of this survey, including a comparison with results obtained in 2015. We will also highlight some comparative elements between the Ontario situation (often used as the "Canadian example") and that of other provinces.
3) Accessibility and Inclusiveness in Spatial Data Science
Dr. Arthur Gill Green, Okanagan College, Shane Stonechild, Okanagan College
Accessibility to higher education courses in geography and environmental sciences may be limited by many variables including financial costs and physical, mobility, and mental challenges. In this presentation, we examine resources and pedagogical approaches for developing inclusive courses that increase accessibility. In particular, we focus on the experience of visually impaired students learning geographic data analysis (spatial statistics) using open education resources (OERs). Having a disability is not an exceptional condition; it is a predictable part of our lives. Rather than building courses only for able-bodied people, we should introduce principles of universal access. However, even principles of universal access become discipline, student level, and topic specific.