Tuesday, December 30, 2008

EarthView


Since the summer of 2008, my colleague Dr. Vernon Domingo and I have enjoyed taking EarthView to area schools. Close to 5,000 students have already learned more about the earth from this out-sized globe, which is really a portable classroom for teaching geography.

Our geography department was able to purchase the giant tent-like work of art last summer, as our president, Dr. Dana Mohler-Faria became increasingly interested in helping us to promote geographic education in the Commonwealth. Early on, geography student Natalie Regan became our "globe wrangler" -- helping us with transportation, setup, and working wonderfully with the children and teachers. We have also been fortunate to have veteran teacher Rosalie Sokol teach most of our programs. In addition to her classroom experience, Ms. Sokol has received extra training from National Geographic and is an active member of its My Wonderful World team. Behind the scenes, we have been very fortunate to have the support of Laura Smith from the college's external affairs office, who helps us with scheduling, media, and alumni connections.

The alumni connections have been among the most enjoyable aspects of this program. As we go to schools, we find Bridgewater alumni -- including the wonderful graduates of our geography program -- serving as teachers and even as principals.

Although we enjoy the experience with students itself, we have an additional motive: We are hoping to convince educators at all level of the urgent need to restore geography as its own subject for high school graduation and teacher certification at the secondary level. As my friend Dr. Domingo often says, "Without geography, we're nowhere!"

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