Visuals and Geographic Learning

by mrvieira
Last updated 1 month ago

Social Studies

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Visuals and Geographic Learning


Lesson Plan

OISE Follow-Up

Geographers have developed visual tools to represent data and geographic processes. The charts/graphs, diagrams, film, imagery (satellite/aerial), maps, and photographs used by geographers make concepts concrete, make connections, focus thoughts and ideas, and allow interpretation, analysis, and reporting. The visual tools used by geographers are created for a purpose and that is what makes them so powerful in geography classes and other curriculum areas.

Visuals and Geographic Learning


Wendy North is a UK Education Consultant. At the 2006 BETT Seminar she said, “Geography is a very visual subject and the use of images can help to make the subject much more accessible to young people. But we need to remember that children do not always see and interpret images as we do,” (, 2011). Her point is relevant because we often teach using visual aides assuming that studens will see and interpret an image as we do; which may not be the case.


The use of visual tools alone is not sufficient to improve understanding (SEG Research 2009). The tools must be chosen to support education goals and interpretation strategies must be explicitly taught to the student. Effective teaching practice use visuals as integrated co-sources of content (not as add-ons) and as minds on and follow-up activities. Note taking from films should be avoided. (, 2011) This presentation will outline the rational for the use of visuals and provide a sample lesson of explicit teaching of visual use. The links at the top right corner of this page will get you started.



Satellite Images


Films and Video

Angela Desharnais and Allman Vieira

Teaching Visual Interpretation

Visuals: Definitions/Applications

Link to the Genographic Project




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