There is a book titled "MapHead" that portrays the extent to which geography has become a lost skill and knowledge base across this country.
Written by Ken Jennings, the book provides a framework under which steps can and should be taken to enable citizens of the United States to become far more familiar with maps, geographic information and generally be more structured as far as their data base is concerned regarding maps and the way in which geographic information is losing out as much as other topics have become less useful in the modern sense of technology, mathematics, science and other topics that may not be given time and attention.
The 276 page book needs to be discussed and reviewed by as many educators as possible with an eye toward a learning curve that can improve how citizens view their own knowledge base as well as that which represents a world torn by political events. Jennings is a Jeopardy television champion and finds it possible to discover new ways to represent geography as a key indicator for education and learning well beyond the levels of information that currently exist.
The analysis suggests that what is currently being taught is insufficient in developing techniques that are crucial to world events and that much more needs to be accomplished regarding the importance of geography and all of the surrounding images that are tied to this topic.
In the Pocono-Northeast, the opportunity exists to be a leader in this field. Here are a few steps that can be taken.
• Find out the extent to which geography is taught in the elementary and secondary educational system, between and among the 51 school districts that are represented throughout the region.
• Evaluate the latest techniques for teaching geography as used in various parts of the nation and apply them as needed regionally.
• Develop regional geographic bees that can highlight the role that geography can and should play in regional life. This might be parallel to the spelling bee championships that do receive much attention.
• Develop a geography major that can highlight post secondary educational opportunities and perhaps have several colleges join together to offer this focused approach.
• Hold focus groups across the region to determine the interest that may exist regarding the expansion of geography subjects in regional life.
• Hold a regional geographic bee event that can extend the role that this topic has in the learning opportunity for students.
• Bring specialists such as Jennings to the region and offer steps that can enhance the importance of geography to the region.
"MapHead" is a book that deserves to be studied and evaluated for the benefit of student life across the region. It provides a basic framework for developing a new approach to the expansion of knowledge about the way we live and\work in a world completely different than other generations of the past.
Howard J. Grossman operates his own consulting firm, HJG Associates, 116 Grandview Drive, Pittston Township Pa. 18640, e-mail grossmanHJ@aol.com.