AGA Hosts Summer Geography Technology Institute At UNA

Jun. 13, 2012


FLORENCE, Ala. – Climate change, natural disasters, geography, economics and geospatial technologies are among the topics being discussed this week at UNA as part of the Summer Geography Technology Institute, a professional development course for teachers. The program is funded through the National Geographic Society and sponsored by UNA and the Alabama Geographic Alliance, which has at its central mission to increase understanding of geography in the classroom, beginning specifically with K-12 educators. 

UNA became involved in the nationwide network in the late 1980s and, since then, has been the host site for many statewide Summer Geography Technology Institutes. The theme of this year’s institute is “Thinking Spatially Through Technology.” 

The most useful tools in geographic understanding are easily accessible in any classroom with online capabilities, according to Dr. Bill Strong, UNA geography chair, and Dr. Lisa Keys-Mathews, associate professor of geography. The challenge, Strong said, is that educators often lack adequate exposure to these resources as educational tools. The end result of the Summer Geography Technology Institute, AGA coordinators say, will be educators with stronger geographic technology skills to enhance students’ experiences in their classrooms. 

“One reason we (host this event) is that we are a nation that is lacking in geographic knowledge, and it is important that we understand our increasingly interdependent world from many aspects, including political and economic aspects,” Strong said. “We would like to increase geographic literacy, and this is one of the ways we do that: by providing teachers with resources that can improve skills in the classroom.”