Saturday, December 12, 2015

EarthView II?

Dr. Stephen Matchak (left), Chair of the Geography Department at Salem State University, joined the EarthView team at Capt. Brown School in Peabody on December 11. Photo: EarthView Wrangler Karen Ormaza.
Each year, ten thousand people participate in BSU Geography's EarthView program, which travels to a different school almost every Friday of the academic year and also includes Family Geography Nights, legislative visits and other programs. Through the EarthView Institute, we have trained teachers at all grade levels to bring EarthView to their own classes.

Still, the Department of Geography and the Center for the Advancement of STEM Education (CASE) know that the potential of the program is even greater. We are developing ways to use program alumni and other local experts to expand the EarthView calendar.

We also know that in order to serve all of Massachusetts more effectively, we need to develop partner programs elsewhere in the state. Colleagues we know well through NESTVAL and the Massachusetts Geographic Alliance offer strong geography programs at several other state universities.

Among these, Salem State University geographers are best positioned to launch a second EarthView program. Not only is the department slightly larger than the BSU geography department, it is strategically situated near many of the elementary and middle schools that already use our program. A fully-fledged EarthView partner at Salem could free up the BSU team to serve even more students in Southeastern Massachusetts.

Ultimately, Massachusetts could sustain four or five EarthView programs, each housed at a different state university. In such a scenario, each department could have a different globe -- emphasizing different human or physical features -- that could be swapped among institutions as needed.

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