Teaching Geography with the Computer: possibilities and problems
IFAN D. H. SHEPHERD, Middlesex Polytechnic
The use of computers to improve teaching and learning in geography is beset by many problems, and surrounded by many misconceptions. Although computer hardware has penetrated most geography departments in recent years, its use as a mainline teaching resource remains at a low level. This paper argues that despite the difficulties, computers can make a real contribution to almost every type of teaching method and most subject areas of geography in higher education. Some current practices and future possibilities are reviewed, and some of the problems with using the computer as an educational tool are discussed. In conclusion, some principles are proposed for effective treatment of the computer as a teaching resource.
Thinking about the computer's role in education does not mean thinking about computers, it means thinking about education. (Ellis, 1974, p. 42)
Teaching Spatial Modelling Using Interacting Computers and Interactive Computer Graphics
MICHAEL BATTY, IAN BRACKEN, CLIFF GUY & RICHARD SPOONER, University of Wales Institute of Science and Technology
The role of computer graphics in an undergraduate teaching project is described, where programming skills are acquired through spatial modelling. A model of the accessibility of the pre-school population to child care clinics in Cardiff is presented, and it is argued that computer graphics represents an essential communications medium for developing and deepening insights into the problems posed by such simulations. In running the model, mini- and micro-computers are linked, with the model and its graphic outputs being initially generated on the mini and then elaborated on the micro. The potential for aiding understanding and interpretation in both research and educational contexts is thus illustrated in terms of the way graphics are enhanced by sequential switching between computers and software.
Computing in the Geography Degree: limitations and objectives
D. E. REEVE, Huddersfield Polytechnic
That computing, in a variety of guises, will play an increasing role in undergraduate geography is a welcome inevitability. Experience of teaching aspects of computing to geography students, however, suggests that enthusiasm for the introduction of computer-based skills needs to be tempered by a realistic assessment of what is possible and, indeed, desirable within the context of a balanced geography degree. A ladder of computing skills is outlined as a contribution towards the identification of an appropriate role for computing in the undergraduate geography curriculum.
Geography as an Academic Discipline in Poland
ZBIGNIEW TAYLOR, Polish Academy of Sciences, Warsaw
This paper provides information on teaching and research in geography in Polish Universities. This historical background of the discipline and its development in the inter-war years are discussed together with the main achievements and difficulties of five university centres. The development of Polish geography today is discussed in more detail highlighting its spatial concentration, the role of planning in research, its publications, the system of teaching, changing curricula, and the employment of graduates. Although its development has not been regular, geography in Poland is now well organised, in both teaching and research and has a fairly good international reputation. In spite of some resource problems in the development of research, the presence of geography in higher education seems assured.
Son of Teaching Tips, or 106 Interesting Ways to Teach
GRAHAM GIBBS, Oxford Polytechnic SUE HABESHAW & TREVOR HABESHAW, Bristol Polytechnic
An approach to improving teaching is described which consists of simply offering teachers a wide range of alternative classroom techniques. Extracts from two collections of teaching techniques, on lecturing and on seminars and tutorials, are presented and commented on to illustrate the approach. Doubts concerning the advisability of offering 'tips' to teachers are discussed.
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