Teaching with Geospatial Technology

Since 2017, the CGA has enjoyed an excellent partnership with Dr. Katsuhiko Oda of the Spatial Sciences Institute at University of Southern California.  Dr. Oda has been successful is securing funds to support research on the effectiveness of professional development focused on geospatial technology, and this creates opportunities to provide high quality professional development to California’s teachers.  CGA’s experience providing PD matches perfectly with Dr. Oda’s research and teaching interests.  Work carried out during the 2017-18 school year was presented at the GIS-Pro / CalGIS Conference in Fall 2018.  This year, a grant from Esri, the world’s leading provider of GIS software, provided support for further work. Continue reading Teaching with Geospatial Technology

Announcing the Winners of 2019 My California Student Mapping Competition

The California Geographic Alliance is pleased to announce the winners of the 3rd annual “My California GIS Mapping Showcase and Competition”. This exciting statewide opportunity encourages middle (4th-8th grade) and high school (9th-12th grade) students to harness the power of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and get connected with their state by producing an online map that focuseson stories, issues, or ideas that are important to them.

Continue reading Announcing the Winners of 2019 My California Student Mapping Competition

3 Fun Ways to Accelerate Geographic Learning for Your Students

The 2018-19 school year has barely started, yet here come the holidays, ready or not!  We hope it has a wonderful Fall of geographic learning and exploring for educators, students, and all residents of California.  The CGA continues to be the one organization in the state focused on promoting and supporting geography education in K-12 schools as well as in after school and informal learning settings.  This update is a quick orientation to opportunities for schools, students, and educator, and we have partnership news to share as well, so please read on.

Join 10,000 Schools and Participate in this Year’s National Geographic GeoBee!
Organizing a GeoBee at your school can be a fun way to promote geographic awareness and a global mindset.  Registration for the 2018-2019 school year is now open. Any paid school employee can register their school for the National Geographic GeoBee. The registration fee is $120. Schools needing financial support can complete a Registration Discount Request form. Read the full list of rules here. Continue reading 3 Fun Ways to Accelerate Geographic Learning for Your Students

Geography and the H-SS Framework

CGA is Participating in the Statewide Community of Practice for the Content, Literacy, Inquiry, and Citizenship (CLIC) Project (AKA H-SS Framework Rollout 2.0)

As part of the first day of the proceeding, CGA Director Tom Herman gave a short presentation on content knowledge in geography.  To access the slides used in the presentation, click here.  Please consider including geography and the CGA in Regional Communities of Practice and district Professional Development plans.

Sweetwater Union High School District Uses World Geography and Global Issues Course as Launching Pad for Civic Action

The CGA has an ongoing partnership with SUHSD and ISTEPCalifornia Global Education Project to support the district’s World Geography and Global Issues Course and use it to develop new and innovative ideas for inquiry-based instruction and student engagement.  The course has incorporated a year-ending action research project, and this year the work of students was showcased in the first ever Student Conference/Showcase on Issues of Personal, Local, & Global Significance.  The event was the brainchild of teachers Kelly Leon and Gina Vattuone, and both the CGA and CGEP stepped forward to help secure speakers, provide refreshments, and offer critical feedback to the students presenting their research.

Sign welcomes people to Sweetwater School District's First Student Conference on Issues of Personal, Local, & Global Significance at San Ysidro High School on May 12, 2018.
Event sign reflects district’s partnership with CGA and ISTEP/CGEP.

Continue reading Sweetwater Union High School District Uses World Geography and Global Issues Course as Launching Pad for Civic Action

Announcing the Winners of the My California GIS Mapping Showcase and Competition for 2018

For the second year, the CGA has coordinated a statewide GIS mapping competition for 4th through 12th grade students.  The state competition is part of the Esri ArcGIS Online Competition for US High Schools and Middle Schools.  Esri provides $1,000 in prize money for 10 student projects, and the competition in California is also generously supported by the California Geographic Information Association (CGIA).  The contest is ably and enthusiastically coordinated by Dr. Waverly Ray, Associate Professor of Geography at San Diego Mesa College.  CGA is very appreciative of Dr. Ray’s leadership on this effort, and we also thank Head Judge Dr. Ming-Hsiang Tsou and all of the volunteers who served as mentors and judges. 

Continue reading Announcing the Winners of the My California GIS Mapping Showcase and Competition for 2018

Perceptions & Knowledge of Geography on an American College Campus

As part of an upper-division Qualitative Research Methods in Geography class at San Diego State University in Fall 2017, students  under the guidance of Dr. Kate Swanson researched, surveyed and interviewed geography majors and future social studies teachers to measure students’ basic geographic knowledge and determine how they perceive geography’s value as a discipline.   In releasing the report Perceptions & Knowledge of Geography on an American College Campus, Dr. Swanson wrote the following:
“To our surprise, we discovered that interest in and enthusiasm for geography education is high. As stated by one of our interviewees, ‘I just wish that as a teacher, I would have more understanding of geography.’ In our report, we suggest that there may be a window of opportunity to expand geography education, particularly in K-12 schools.
In the report, we present our findings, along with a series of recommendations for incorporating more geography into our educational curriculum. Our main recommendations are as follows:
– Actively promote geography’s interdisciplinary approach as a strength;
– Promote more study abroad opportunities in geography;
– Host more geography awareness events;
– Create a university level ‘Geography for Educators’ course;
– Support moves to bring geography and geospatial technologies into K-12 schools;
– Rebrand geography by highlighting its relevance to today’s global problems;
– Promote tools and technologies that enhance geographic education and spatial learning;
Given our findings, we believe that teacher education in geography is especially important. American teachers recognize the value of our discipline, yet they have little experience with geography education.
Please feel free to share this report widely. I want to reiterate that this report was researched, written and designed by seniors at SDSU!”

California Geographic Information Association Again Sponsoring My California GIS Mapping Exhibition and Competition

The CGA is pleased to announce that the California Geographic Information Association (CGIA) is once again sponsoring our statewide GIS mapping competition for students in Grades 4-12.  The CGIA came forward to support our inaugural effort last year, and we are very pleased that they will continue to provide support for the contest by donating funds that help us to provide incentives and support for the schools that register for the contest.

CGIA is a non-profit, statewide association formed in 1994 to facilitate coordination, collaboration, and advocacy for California’s Geographic Information System (GIS) community. CGIA promotes the creation and maintenance of the best practices in the governance and application of geographic information within the State of California that can become a model for the nation.

Read more about this year’s My California GIS Mapping Exhibition and Competition here.

Bring Geography to Your School! Host a Geographic Bee at Your School or Get Your Students Involved in the My California GIS Mapping Competition

You can go beyond the classroom and the curriculum to help your students get excited about geography.  The CGA is encouraging schools to create a fun and competitive atmosphere for students by (1) hosting a school-level National Geographic Bee (Grades 4-8) or (2) creating a process to support students in entering the My California GIS Mapping Showcase and Competition (Grades 4-12).  Geography is fun, and your students can discover that for themselves in the course of developing their own knowledge, skills, and projects.