Teaching Geography is Fundamental in North Dakota
Geography knowledge and geospatial skills are vital for North Dakota's K-12 students. Emergency response and recovery from flooding, rising energy costs, and the management of natural resources are just a few of the issues facing the state that require high school graduates to have a solid foundation in geography. In addition, the defense and security industries in North Dakota are currently looking for employees with geospatial
The North Dakota Geographic Alliance (NDGA) is a college-based, statewide partnership between professors and K-12 teachers. The Alliance provides educators with professional development, networking, model programs, and teaching materials. It promotes public awareness of the importance of geographic literacy and skills. Part of National Geographic's nationwide network of state Geographic Alliances, NDGA's programs teach students to care for the planet, its resources, and all of its inhabitants and prepare them to succeed as citizens in an increasingly global society.
The NDGA Board of Directors represents a broad interest in geography education in North Dakota. Along with educators and administrators,members include representatives from the Sheyenne River Valley National Scenic Byway, Valley City State University's Prairie Waters Education & Research Center, Corporate Adventures, Flood Protection Task Force, as well as a well known Author, Graduate Director of the Department of Geography at University of North Dakota, Assistant Professor of GIS and GIS Program Coordinator at Bismarck State College and Geography Professor at Minot State University.
The NDGA & Public Engagement
Supporting geo-literacy for all North Dakotans
- The Giant Map of North America was hosted at Minot State University
for college students, pre-service teachers, professors and the local
community. The map also traveled to Minot and area schools that involved approximately 80 educators.
- NDGA had a booth at the State Library for Summer Reading Kick-off.
- NDGA honored a Friend of Geography and Geography Teacher of the
Year. The awards are given for outstanding participation and support
of geography education.
- The Alliance disseminated materials, information about upcoming
events, and news and current trends in geography education via a listserv
and the Alliance's Facebook page to more than 350 educators and
other individuals interested in geography education.
The NDGA & Teacher Professional Development
Building skills for the modern geography classroom
- NDGA co-hosts the Teacher Resource Coalition Workshops to train K-12 educators in various science, math, geography, art and technology teaching methods. We join five state agencies for this annual event.
NDGA hosts an Alliance Summer Geography Institute that provides teachers with classroom resources and field experiences in 'doing' geography. They attend lectures given by state and local experts on regional and statewide issues as well as present and future plans related to urban growth, energy, the environment and water resources. Institutes regionally rotate and have been held in Bismarck, Fargo, Langdon, and Williston.
- The Ag Tour is an annual Minot-based event that tours the Souris River Basin to observe production, processing and marketing in the agricultural industry. By integrating physical geography concepts with human needs, the scope and impact of geography is made more apparent. Teachers are given an experience they can transfer to the classroom setting in a variety of ways.
- NDGA hosts a four-day adventure entitled GeoFIT (Forestry Institute for Teachers). The "classroom on wheels" takes teachers on an intensive and interactive learning experience that rotates in the four regions of ND.
The NDGA & Public Policy
Transforming state education
- An alliance member serves on the Advisory Board of the ND Teacher Center Network, which provides an educational link between educators, schools, universities, and others.
- A state representative attended a NDGA Strategic Planning meeting.
- NDGA consults with the ND Department of Public Instruction regarding geography education at all levels.
- NDGA spoke to the ND Department of Public Instruction State
Superintendent of Schools and the Standards and Achievement Director
to express a desire to include geography