header image

Geographic Literacy

Posted by: | August 14, 2013 | 17 Comments |

This year we will be studying Geography & Recent World History.  We will address topics related to map skills, economics, twentieth century World History, cultural geography, and urban development.  Over the course of this year, it is my hope that your children become more “geographically literate.”  Today, when students enter the workforce they are become part of a truly global economy.  Below is a link to a video produced by National Geographic that gives their definition of “geo-literacy” and why, as an organization, they believe it is important to study.   Why do you believe it is or is not important for children today to become geo-literate?


National Geographic – Geo-Literacy



under: Parents & Guardians


  1. By: Bill Gilbert on August 23, 2013 at 7:23 am      Reply

    “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” It’s important for us all to understand the world today in the context of world history. We can an should learn from the mistakes (and accomplishments) of the past. I want my kids to understand that the world is a smaller place than it sometimes seems and, although there are different cultures and customs, people are roughly the same. This understanding should make it easier for them to relate to people who may seem different but, at their core, are not.

  2. By: Sheila Darcey on August 24, 2013 at 9:16 am      Reply

    For me, one of the men in the video hit the nail on the head when he said we are handicapped if we don’t know enough about the world we live in. Our kids need every advantage and geo-literacy seems to be a well thought-out approach that will give the students an actual world view instead of just memorizing locations on a map. I feel as though I don’t fully understand or appreciate many current world events because I don’t know enough about the cultures or relevant history of many other countries. I also like that there is an environmental piece of geo-literacy!

  3. By: Adrianne Castro on August 26, 2013 at 11:12 am      Reply

    Even in our small part of the world, we are surrounded by other cultures, right here in the US. To not have an understanding of world politics and culture, puts even our local/state/national relationships and interactions at risk. My favorite way to learn about other cultures is through travel and food!

  4. By: Gwyn Dieterle on August 26, 2013 at 11:44 am      Reply

    Understanding the world we live in is key to successful living and working in it. All aspects of life — politics, economics and business, marketing, sports — is more global now than ever. In order for today’s students to compete, whether in getting into a college or surviving in the business world, they must have a better understanding of the world at large. No one can afford to be isolationist any longer.

  5. By: Alana on August 26, 2013 at 12:09 pm      Reply

    I think it is very important for our children to know more about the past and where we are now and what may lie ahead in the future. Looking back and seeing what used to be and to see how things have changed and that what they do today can affect our world tomorrow.

  6. By: jberns23 on August 26, 2013 at 4:06 pm      Reply

    As a high school social studies teacher, I find it imperative for students to have an understanding of all aspects of geography. In this world of globalization, American students will be expected to compete against kids from all over the world. Whether they are applying for college, joining the military or entering the work force, it will be in their best interest to know a little something of their competition. Also, without some background of the world geo political landscape, they will be less prepared to make informative decisions that will affect the outcome of both their future as well as that of our nation.

  7. By: Jenn Murphy on August 26, 2013 at 4:55 pm      Reply

    Growing up my experience with geography was fairly one dimensional. Watching the video, I am excited for the students to be challenged to be better decision makers. Technology will make the world much smaller and our children will interact with other societies more often. Having a solid understanding of other societies and how they fit into the global economy will be an important skill.

  8. By: cashinma on August 27, 2013 at 6:07 am      Reply

    When I learned about geography as a kid, it was nothing but maps and capitals. Puzzle pieces. Those “other places” didn’t really impact me, or so I thought. They were basically out of touch and irrelevant to my life (sad, I know.)

    With the internet, technology, transportation, etc, our world has become much more accessible and more interconnected than ever. The ease of data collection and sharing from different parts of the globe has given us the ability to understand more about how what happens here impacts what happens somewhere else. We are no longer irrelevant to each other globally.

    Understanding the resources, cultures, and geography of different parts of the world will help our kids to better understand social relationships, politics, the environment, and economics.

    Gaining the ability to think “cause => effect” is such a wonderful life skill. It applies to everything from personal relationships to global economics, the world environment, international, national, and local politics. The more information our kids have today about the world around them, the more informed they will be when thinking about the potential effects of decisions that are made.

    I wish that I could go back to school myself as I feel that I do not have anywhere near the knowledge I should. Oh yeah…that’s what www is for.

    Thank you, Mr. McGovern, for offering this to your students.

  9. By: jgwil315 on August 28, 2013 at 9:47 pm      Reply

    Bravo Mr. McG,

    The geo-literacy concept will become a lifelong stage upon which our children will learn the importance of diversity and cultural difference. Our world is more interconnected than most people realize, and I appreciate your bringing geography literacy to the forefront.

    By the time our children graduate, they will need a solid understanding of geography, language, and culture in order to successfully navigate the global economy. The life skills being taught will make them rich with knowledge, and I trust this next generation will learn the importance of taking care of humanity through your teachings.

    Many thanks for leading the way!

  10. By: Zack Addi on August 30, 2013 at 10:37 am      Reply

    With the proliferation of internet communication (especially social media) and the global economy, Geo-Literacy has never been more important (and even critical) for the social and academic development of our kids today. More than ever before, we need our kids to have a full understanding of other cultures, religions and ways of life. This will instill tolerance, curiousity and global responsibilty which in turn will provide them with far more (social and career)opportunities than previous generations…

  11. By: Amy Harvey on September 6, 2013 at 9:44 am      Reply

    I hope a goal/desire for parents today is to raise children to help make a better tomorrow. Understanding the world we live in is essential in building the future. Becoming geo-literate is making our children better decision makers and preparing them for the skills they will need to become successful adults.

  12. By: Mary Kroon on September 7, 2013 at 12:27 pm      Reply

    I love to travel. There is something magical about being in a new place, seeing a new landscape and meeting new people. This video illustrates the value of being geo-literate. It show how interconnected we are and the importance of problem solving, teamwork, and creativity. Being geo-literate will make you a better student and person.

  13. By: Nikki Wisniewski on September 7, 2013 at 1:38 pm      Reply

    A few responses already hit on the key elements of my thoughts after watching the video. In short, I agree that understanding more about the places in our world (not just a map, name and capital) will help kids internalize the information and understand the impact we all have on each other. Great approach – thanks for bringing this to your classroom!

  14. By: Mariotti on September 7, 2013 at 3:57 pm      Reply

    I agree that becoming geo-literate is essential to a better future for our kids, grandkids and beyond. I had never heard the term before, but always was bothered by environmental/cultural/social issues. It always got me how people don’t take responsibility for their actions or lack of them. I think its great that social studies is becoming much more than memorizing facts and maps. Having these important discussions that will impact our children much longer. Hopefully this will help them understand the world better and find their role within it.

  15. By: Rob Maciel on September 8, 2013 at 5:42 pm      Reply

    With the advent of global communications, smartphones, Internet, WIKI, Twitter, and Big Data, never before has the news of the of the world been so easily accessible by it’s inhabitants and never before has the collective voice of humanity been able to be heard and measured. This has forever changed how the world will make decisions and change directions (e.g. The world debate about how to handle Syria.)

    In as such, I believe that the importance of geo-literacy has been amplified. As our voices can now be heard and our thoughts shared to, and considered by a global audience, we must be armed with as much knowledge and understanding as we can posses in order to communicate with a level of effectiveness and credibility.

  16. By: Kristin Mollo on September 9, 2013 at 4:07 am      Reply

    As technology and other human advances make our world more connected and reachable, our children must gain an appreciation as to how other cultures live, why those values matter to them, and most importantly, the importance of respecting and interacting with others with this in mind. Bottom line, while we all have influences that mold us individually, as humans we all share the common desire to communicate and interact with others- these teachings will foster that neccesity.

  17. By: Cindy Bissanti on September 10, 2013 at 6:28 pm      Reply

    Embracing geo-literacy will educate our children about the world we live in. It’s not just maps and state capitals. Decisions they make may affect people in other parts of the world. They have so much more to think about outside their circle of friends. We are all interconnected and understanding the implications will make us all better decision makers. I hope to learn along with my child this year.

Leave a response

Your response: