Technology in Year 8 Geography

In NSW the Year 8 Geography course all of the outcomes relating to the content of the syllabus can benefit from a balanced approach toward integrating technology and pedagogy in the classroom. Further to this there are some outcomes that require students to demonstrate technical skills (e.g: 4.2 A student organises and interprets geographical information and Stage 4 requires students to collect and interpret electronic information) (Board of Studies Teaching and Educational Standards NSW [BOSTES], 2015) and technology can play a key role when integrated thoughtfully by teachers. Using the SAMR model to redefine a Geography lesson that is focused on outcome 4.2 for example may initially substitute a colour map from a textbook with an e- text CD Rom so the student can interpret the information in the key and scale with a digital device. Teachers may feel confident implementing the use of digital textbooks in the classroom, however after examining the TPACK framework (Mishra and Koehler, 2006) and analysing a lesson with these resources using the TIP model (Roblyer and Doering, 2013) questions about integration may arise because students would find it more challenging to measure distances on an electronic screen than a paper textbook and ruler. Simmons and Hawkins (2009) recommend that teachers are cognizant of such skills based difficulties when attempting to cover content and make sure that instructions about the skills needed are explicitly given to the learners. Another approach using the SAMR model could be to augment the textbook by using an interactive website of the map that utilises Web 2.0 technology with features that measure distances and display cross sectional information between two points. The SAMR model could be used further to  modify the map with links to wiki pages, images, videos and collaborative social networking Web 2.0 technologies that display feeds from expert organisations about objects on the map. A SAMR redefinition of the textbook map can be achieved by integrating the use of an application such as Google Earth into the classroom that allows students to interactively play with the data layers of features from the textbook map on an interactive 3D globe.

Utilising the Web 2.0 affordances of Google Earth and the internet, teachers and students can download data layers from a range of websites that contain detailed information about a range of geographic issues such as Climate Change to use in the classroom to demonstrate outstanding levels of knowledge and understanding of outcome 4.2 – A student organises and interprets geographical information.

In an example of a redefined geography lesson sequence that investigates the issue of Climate Change and focuses on outcome 4.2, students would use Google Earth to add data layers with future projections about temperature and precipitation changes due to high carbon emissions. The GeoThentic Climate Change module employs a balanced approach toward TPACK to achieve this by using a problem based learning pedagogy (PBL) and supplying the necessary data layer (in a .KZM file download link file ) with Google Earth placemarks (Doering, 2009). In GeoThentic, students’ understanding about the Climate Change is scaffolded so that the fundamental knowledge about the issue is presented through a range of situated videos and guidance from experts. The PBL pedagogy allows students to work both individually and with their peers to make meaning through being active and this is consistent with a constructivist epistemological approach (Doering, 2014). Students’ higher order thinking skills are also developed by using specific learning objectives, as Simmons and Hawkins (2009) recommend, because students are required to analyse and evaluate the data, then select the five most affected locations from the ten placemarks (in the .KZM file) thereby achieving Outcome 4.2 (and 4.4: uses a range of geographical tools).

Using the TPACK and TIP frameworks when integrating Google Earth technologies to help students achieve geography outcomes can assist in identifying the content needing to be covered, the required pedagogical approach and the levels of technical knowledge needed in each lesson. Students and teachers need to be actively engaged in ‘playing’ with technologies such as Google Earth so that their affordances can be utilised in structured, meaningful and inclusive classrooms.




Board of Studies Teaching and Educational Standards NSW. (2015). Geography Stage 4 Mapping of Information and Communications Technologies in Revised Mandatory Stages 4 and 5 Syllabuses. Retrieved from:


Doering, A., Scharber, C., Miller, C., & Veletsianos, G. (2009). GeoThentic: Designing and assessing with technological pedagogical content knowledge. Contemporary Issues in Technology and Teacher Education, 9(3), 316-336.


Doering, A., Koseoglug, S., Scharberg, C., Henricksong, J., & Lanegrang, D. (2014). Technology Integration in K–12 Geography Education Using TPACK as a Conceptual Model. Journal of Geography, (ahead-of-print), 1-15.


Google (2012). Classroom Resources: Lesson Plan Library. Retrieved from:


Mishra, P., & Koehler, M. (2006). Technological pedagogical content knowledge: A framework for integrating technology in teacher knowledge. Teachers College Record, 108(6), 1017-1054.


Roblyer, M. and Doering, A. (2013). Integrating Educational Technology into Teaching: Pearson New International Edition. Pearson Education Limited. Kindle Edition.


Simmons, C., & Hawkins, C. (2009). Planning to teach an ICT lesson. In Teaching ICT (pp. 54-105). London ; Sage Publications Ltd.

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