The Colorado Geographic Alliance at the University of Colorado Colorado Springs recently received an inaugural collaborative planning grant of $50,000 from the National Geographic Education Foundation, one of three such grants awarded to members of the Network of Alliances for Geographic Education. Using the grant, the Colorado Geographic Alliance, in partnership with The Library of Congress' Teaching with Primary Sources and the geographic alliances in Arizona, Nevada, and Oregon, will create a program to develop a workshop model for teachers. The workshop model will incorporate historical maps, primary source thematic maps, and other geographic representations. This information can be used to obtain, describe and compare spatial patterns and information about people, places, events, regions and environments as an essential resource for answering key questions. Teacher leaders in these four states will serve as the initial developers for this project, which has potential to affect how students think about maps across the country. For further information, please see this UCCS press release.
Network of Alliances for Geographic Education meets in Washington DC
Each year Alliance Coordinators from across the United States come together in Washington DC to hear about new programs and processes at National Geographic, develop new skills, share information, and visit our legislators on Capitol Hill to advocate for geography education. This year the Alliance Network incorporated a training for policy point people in our Alliance. Stan Hickory, member of the Leadership Council, seen in this photo with Colorado Representative Michael Bennett, agreed to take on that role. He accompanied the Coordinators to Washington DC, spent a day in meetings, visited the National Geographic museum, and talked about the importance of geography in schools. Stan notes that “One of the most fascinating and truly educational exercises was a legislative simulation. We were asked to take on the persona of a fictional legislator and put through a number of decision making processes that an actual legislator would be asked to do. The experience gave me a new perspective of the difficult job our legislators have. We were able to meet with every one of our Colorado representatives (or his aid). Washington rejuvenated my faith in our democratic process and lit in me a desire to actually become an elected part of the process. The take-away here is that we live in an amazing country and during an amazing time in history. Education is the biggest part of the puzzle that will help us continue to grow and take part in shaping what the world will look like in the future. Hopefully, our small bill is just one of many that will make it through Congress to help fund our tomorrow.”
The Colorado Geographic Alliance recently received a grant of $15,000 from the Gay & Lesbian Fund for Colorado as part of its focus on support for science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education. COGA will use the funds to provide stipends for teachers who are working to increase the use of geospatial technology in K-12 classrooms across the state. Geospatial technology includes geospatial information systems (GIS), global positioning systems (GPS), and readily available computer-based platforms such as Google Earth. Inservice and preservice teachers will participate in a five-day workshop in June on the UCCS campus. In addition, five teachers in rural and underserved areas, including Windsor and Arickaree, have identified needs in their schools that can be addressed to move geospatial technology into the classroom. COGA will undertake professional development in these districts, as well as provide funding for materials and resources. We are excited about this partnership to develop an effective framework to provide instruction in geospatial technology implementation in more secondary and elementary schools.
National Geographic Announces Geography Legislators of the Year
On February 28th 2013, the National Geographic Education Foundation awarded its Geography Legislator of the Year Awards to key congressional leaders for their commitment to making high-quality geography education available for all K-12 students, preparing young Americans for success. Among those recognized for their dedication to geography education was Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) For the full press release from National Geographic, follow this link.
The Importance of Geographic Literacy in the Denver Post
During the Teaching Geography is Fundamental campaign, the Denver Post published a letter from COGA Coordinators Steve Jennings and Rebecca Theobald reinforcing the need for geographic literacy. Check out the full article on the Denver Post website.
COGA hosts workshops, often in partnership with other organizations, designed to provide ongoing development to teachers and administrators to improve their geographic curriculum. For more information about past, present, and future workshops, please visit the COGA Workshops page.