GPS and Geography: Using Technology to Apply Geography with Middle Grade Students
University of North Carolina at Greensboro
Despite the emphasis on 21st century learning in our schools, the use of technology and the opportunity to think creatively is often lacking in our social studies curriculum. Specifically, opportunities for students to apply the five themes of geography to the world around them is hard to undertake when teaching is primarily conducted via a traditional textbook or supplemented with only audio and visual materials. In order to give students an authentic opportunity to apply the five themes of geography and to build their 21st century learning skills through the use of creative thinking tasks, handheld global positioning system (GPS) devices were introduced to a middle grades classroom. This manuscript documents the steps taken with these handheld GPS devices over the course of a two-week unit on the five themes of geography. Following a detailed explanation of each day’s activity, a discussion highlights how the infusion of technology and the opportunity to think creatively created a culture of learning within the classroom.