Aligning mapping skills with digitally connected childhoods to advance the development of spatial cognition and ways of thinking in primary school geography

Margaret Robertson, Alaric Maude, Jeana Kriewaldt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Abstract

New technologies are changing the ways that children navigate, find places, make and use maps, and explore the world. This is the geospatial revolution. Children live in a world of rapid technological innovation bringing new opportunities for cognitive development in school geography. Geography learning is an important component of primary school curriculum in Australia and internationally. However how young people’s mapping skills can be developed in a digitally connected realm has become an important question. These technologies require us to rethink the teaching of mapping skills in primary schools, both to take advantage of technology, and to connect with children who are growing up in a digital age. We argue that mapping in the curriculum is much more about developing spatial thinking skills by building spatial concepts. Given these purposes for learning about maps and mapping skills, teaching in primary schools can enhance students’ knowledge of geography and spatial skills through a focus on the spatial concepts and ways of thinking. This article synthesises what is known about the purposes of mapping skills, spatial cognition and geography education, and how children learn mapping. It argues that teachers can use the new technologies to do this as well as established approaches. It then applies these to proposing how established methods can be augmented by innovative approaches to building spatial thinking skills.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)15-25
Number of pages11
JournalGeographical Education
Volume32
Publication statusPublished - 2019

Keywords

  • Map skills
  • Mapping Skills
  • Digitally Connected Childhoods
  • Spatial Cognition
  • Primary School
  • Geography

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