Teaching Geography in the 21st Century: A New Online Course

An exciting new 5-week online course will be offered beginning 3 September 2014 entitled Teaching Geography in the 21st Century.

Geography is usually considered as the world’s oldest discipline, pioneered by Eratosthenes in 250 BC, and has a rich tradition of scholarship and innovation.  Yet Geography has always embraced new technologies, research practices, instructional methods, skills, and content.  How can Geography be taught in the 21st Century, embracing its rich heritage and yet looking forward to emerging and exciting tools and perspectives?  What content should be included?  What skills should be developed?   Furthermore, why should geography be taught in the 21st Century?  Why is it relevant to the understanding of and decision-making in 21st Century society, the environment, and current events?

The course is offered through eNet Learning, whose mission is to provide high-quality professional development, content, and resources that support educators and student learning.  I created this video to describe the course in a friendly, personal way.

This course is designed to build geographic concepts, perspectives, and skills for those teaching Geography and those teaching other disciplines who seek to use geographic principles.  The goal is to enable and equip educators to teach the subject of geography in engaging and informed ways; to help educators and their students to understand why and how geography is relevant to 21st Century life.  Population, land use, urban, economic, health, hazards, and other themes will be addressed.  A focus will be on scale, systems thinking, critical thinking, time and space, and place, through an inquiry-driven, hands-on, problem-based format.  The course includes pedagogical strategies and technological tools to teach conceptual foundations, skills, and geographic perspectives.  Hands-on activities will offer deep immersion in several tools, including ArcGIS Online, which provides an easy-to-use, powerful platform for analysis and investigation.

Participants will be equipped to:   1)  Identify, describe, and discuss urban, economic, land use, natural hazards, health, and population issues foundational to geography at different geographical and temporal scales.  2)  Apply geographic principles to effectively teach geography with the geographic perspective, and 3)  Understand how to incorporate geospatial technologies, including dynamic web maps, charts, and data, to teach geography.

Teaching Geography in the 21st Century:  A New Online Course

Teaching Geography in the 21st Century: A New Online Course.

Joseph Kerski

About Joseph Kerski

Joseph Kerski is a geographer who believes that spatial analysis through digital mapping can transform education and society through better decision-making using the geographic perspective. He serves on the Esri education team and is active in GIS communication and outreach, creates GIS-based curriculum, conducts research in the effectiveness of GIS in education, teaches online and face-to-face courses on spatial thinking and analysis, and fosters partnerships to support GIS in formal and informal education at all levels, internationally. He is the co-author of Spatial Mathematics, The Essentials of the Environment, The GIS Guide to Public Domain Data, and other books. Follow him on Twitter @josephkerski
This entry was posted in Education and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply


  1. estern says:

    “If we can identify key points in the educational curriculum where spatial thinking can enhance what and how we are teaching, and in those points, to put spatial thinking skills into practice, then I think we have succeeded.”

    Well said, my friend! Geospatial in all the courses! :D

    (Eva, reading this as part of the Geodesign MOOC from Penn State!)

  2. Joseph Kerski Joseph Kerski says:

    Greetings Everyone:

    This “Teaching Geography in the 21st Century” course is full. Very pleased and honored it was so popular! We are having a wonderful time with the participants. I will be offering the course again for Cohort #2 beginning 15 October 2014. Go ahead and sign up now before it fills, and you will be placed in the mid-October cohort! Thank you.

  3. ganysz says:

    I would like to register for this course as well, I am in approval process for this at my school right now. So is the OCT 15 class full? When is the next offering?

    • Joseph Kerski Joseph Kerski says:

      Hello! I have heard many good things about Ravenscroft and it would be an honor to have you.
      I wrote an essay about Offering #2 last Friday.
      It is definitely NOT full! It begins THIS WEEK – 15 OCTOBER.
      But don’t stress about the “TOMORROW” date .. any time signing up this week would be fine!

      –Joseph Kerski

  4. lalibrew says:

    This article reminds me of a site I’ve been trying. Its perfect for anyone interested in learning online geography lessons or teaching. We are looking for teacher and students in https://preply.com/en/skype/geography-tutors It’s really great , I recommend it to anyone who’s looking forward to learn or practice this subject.

    • Joseph Kerski Joseph Kerski says:

      Thanks for the link. If the tutor has a deep background, then it seems like it would be worth the money in certain cases to enlist their aid. The course above has just ended that I described, but I will offer it again. In the meantime I do have a 10 module self paced course on story mapping at http://discoverspatial.com