Using Spatial-Temporal Primitives to Improve Geographic Skills for Preservice Teachers

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<ul><li><p>This article was downloaded by: [Stony Brook University]On: 24 October 2014, At: 14:45Publisher: RoutledgeInforma Ltd Registered in England and Wales Registered Number: 1072954 Registered office: Mortimer House,37-41 Mortimer Street, London W1T 3JH, UK</p><p>Journal of GeographyPublication details, including instructions for authors and subscription information:http://www.tandfonline.com/loi/rjog20</p><p>Using Spatial-Temporal Primitives to ImproveGeographic Skills for Preservice TeachersMartin M. KaufmanPublished online: 16 Aug 2007.</p><p>To cite this article: Martin M. Kaufman (2004) Using Spatial-Temporal Primitives to Improve Geographic Skills for PreserviceTeachers, Journal of Geography, 103:4, 171-181, DOI: 10.1080/00221340408978595</p><p>To link to this article: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00221340408978595</p><p>PLEASE SCROLL DOWN FOR ARTICLE</p><p>Taylor &amp; Francis makes every effort to ensure the accuracy of all the information (the Content) containedin the publications on our platform. However, Taylor &amp; Francis, our agents, and our licensors make norepresentations or warranties whatsoever as to the accuracy, completeness, or suitability for any purpose of theContent. Any opinions and views expressed in this publication are the opinions and views of the authors, andare not the views of or endorsed by Taylor &amp; Francis. The accuracy of the Content should not be relied upon andshould be independently verified with primary sources of information. 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Terms &amp; Conditions of access and use can be found at http://www.tandfonline.com/page/terms-and-conditions</p><p>http://www.tandfonline.com/loi/rjog20http://www.tandfonline.com/action/showCitFormats?doi=10.1080/00221340408978595http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00221340408978595http://www.tandfonline.com/page/terms-and-conditionshttp://www.tandfonline.com/page/terms-and-conditions</p></li><li><p>Using Spatial-Temporal Primitives to Improve Geographic Skills for Preservice Teachers </p><p>Martin M. Kaufman </p><p>ABSTRACT An exercise to help improve the geo- graphic skills of preservice teachers was developed and tested during a six year period on over 500 students. The exercise required these students to map two arrangements of roads and facilities within a small neighborhood. A set of spatial-temporal primitives (place, size, shape, distance, direction, connectivity, containment, pattern, duration, sequence, and frequency) was defined from the observable and measurable spatial-tem- poral properties between simple physical objects, and used as an analytical frame- work during the design, description, revision, and critique of the arrange- ments. Results indicate improved student comprehension of geographic scale and an ability to use elemental spatial and temporal properties to analyze practi- cal problems. Additional capabilities of the spatial-temporal primitives are also demonstrated, including their ability to describe the relationships made on sets and their capability to construct more complex geographical frameworks, such as site and situation. An update of the standards presented in Geography for Life is also recommended to include temporal considerations in geographic theory and practice. </p><p>Key Words: preservice teacher training, spa- tial-temporal primitives, spatial knowledge, geographic analysis </p><p>Martin M . Kaufman is an associate profes- sor of Earth and Resource Science at the University of Michigan-Flint. His interests include water resources, spatial analysis, and geographic education. </p><p>A critical problem affecting the teaching profession is the assignment of teachers to subjects outside of their major field. Geography instruction today in the public schools clearly demonstrates this issue as significant percentages of the teachers are "out of the field-meaning they did not have a major in geography or receive certification to teach geography. During the two periods from 1987-1988 and 1999-2000,83 and 79 percent, respectively of high school earth science teachers (including physical geography) were out of field. In the social sciences category-which encompasses world and regional geography courses-34 and 28 percent of high school teachers during these same two periods were out of field, with even higher amounts of elementary social science teachers being out of field during these periods (48 and 51 percent, respectively) (Seastrom et al. 2002). </p><p>geography preservice education. In 1994, the Geography Education National Implementation Project (GENIP) made a set of recommendations for improving preservice geography education (Goodman 1994). A special issue of the Journal of Geography (September / October 1995), addressed the recommendations of GENIP, which included improving the communication between academic departments at colleges and universities, and providing more effective and meaningful faculty mentoring, course structure, and course content (Bednarz and Bednarz 1995). </p><p>the characteristics of today's preservice teachers and high school geography achievement which creates additional concerns about geography preservice teacher training. Liu (2003) surveyed a random sample of 486 new (first- and second-year) teachers in California, Florida, Massachusetts, and Michigan to learn about the hiring practices and the professional culture of the schools where they work. The findings indicate that the new teachers in these four states are entering the profession by different routes and at different stages in their careers46 percent of new teachers in these states are entering teaching at mid-career, and the average age of these mid-career entrants is 38 years. The average age was 26 for the 54 percent of the new teachers in the four states surveyed who are entering teaching as their first career. With respect to high school geography achievement, a recent National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) study indicated there was no significant change in student geography achievement when the average scores between 1994 and 2001 were compared for twelfth-graders. On a 0-500 scale, the mean scores for this grade stayed at 285-r 57 percent (Weiss et al. (2002). Thus, preservice teachers are likely to have poorly developed geographic skills, and even those with better skills may be taking their first college geography course more than 10 years since their last exposure to geography in high school or middle school. </p><p>These issues raise a valid concern as to whether the required geography courses adequately teach the basic spatial and temporal properties preservice teachers need to begin to think geographically and communicate these skills to their students. At a more fundamental level, an update to the </p><p>To remedy this problem, much focus has been placed on improving </p><p>Since the GENIP report, research has provided additional insight into </p><p>Journal of Geography 103: 171-181 02004 National Council for Geographic Education </p><p>Dow</p><p>nloa</p><p>ded </p><p>by [</p><p>Ston</p><p>y B</p><p>rook</p><p> Uni</p><p>vers</p><p>ity] </p><p>at 1</p><p>4:45</p><p> 24 </p><p>Oct</p><p>ober</p><p> 201</p><p>4 </p></li><li><p>1 72 Martin M . Kaufman </p><p>money, for example, there are rich places and poor places, rich people and poor people. Property, marriage, religion, and other institutions are social realities without corporeal existence but with spatial and temporal properties-they also exist in time and space. </p><p>reality requires time, temporal considerations must be included for a truly scientific geography. This notion has already been recognized by geographers who have used a unified spatial-temporal perspective to analyze physical and social phenomena. One example of this is the recent research illustrating the ability and need to link spatial and temporal considerations within geographic databases (Egenhofer and Golledge 1998; Duckham et al. 2003). </p><p>With respect to the pedagogy of spatial-temporal concepts, a more fundamental synthesis is also required. For example, Geography Standard 3 in Geographyfor Life emphasizes the description and analysis of pattern as a means to understand the spatial organization of people, places and environments on earth's surface. This approach may obscure the full understanding of the spatial processes at work because patterns typically represent a synthesis of several spatial properties. Evaluating a pattern in terms of its constituent spatial properties (i.e., size, shape, place, and distance) opens up new avenues of inquiry and improves critical thinking. For instance, in physical geography the combination of stream size and place yields different drainage patterns. Yet these properties are immaterial to the stream order concept which evolved from the consideration of size and position (place) of stream channels within watersheds (Horton 1945; Strahler 1957). </p><p>Since any spatial variation of physical or social </p><p>eighteen standards presented in Geography for Life: National Standards for Geography 1994 is proposed to capture the present scope of geographic theory and practice. </p><p>spatial theory presented in Geography for Life: by deriving a working set of spatial-temporal primitives (place, size, shape, distance, direction, connectivity, containment, pattern, duration, sequence, and frequency) which are defined as the observable and measurable spatial- temporal properties between simple physical objects. These spatial-temporal primitives are then used as an analytical framework in an exercise which has students design, revise, and critique two arrangements of roads and facilities within a small neighborhood drawn to scale. Discussion of the results considers the additional capabilities of these spatial-temporal primitives, including their ability to describe the relationships made on sets and their role in the construction of more complex geographical frameworks, such as site and situation. </p><p>This paper presents an augmentation to the </p><p>DEFINING GEOGRAPHY, AND PREPARING TEACHERS TO TEACH GEOGRAPHY SCIENTIFICALLY </p><p>becomes problematic. As noted by Fernald (2002), it is not what is studied, but "how the data are studied that defines the discipline". To support this, the author cites the National Academy of Sciences publication The Science of Geography (NAS 1965), which states geography's organizing concept is "spatial distributions and space relations". Is this definition-which is embodied in the eighteen standards within Geography for Life-suitable for today's geography-and as a guide for teacher preparation? The answer is no, because the temporal considerations presented in Standards #17 and #18 in Geography for Life are not emphasized enough throughout all the Standards, and spatial-temporal concepts are presented at too high of a level without tracing their origins from more fundamental components. </p><p>The need to include temporal considerations in the basic definition and application of geography arises from the basic law of matter. This basic law states that all matter has mass and takes up space, and consists of atoms and molecules, which may combine to form objects of different shapes and sizes. Within individual atoms there is constant motion, so all matter is in constant motion, becoming visible when objects move. If matter is in constant motion and takes up space, then it follows that the space between matter must be constantly changing. These changes occur over a period of time-so all physical matter exists in time. </p><p>Besides physical reality, there is also social reality in which entities or facts only exist in human society and do not have a corporeal body. These entities or facts only exist if people agree they exist. Money is a prime example. Instances of money are just pieces of paper or electronic signals unless people agree that they are a means of exchange. Yet money is power, and there is a geography of </p><p>Without a clear definition of geography, teaching </p><p>DEFINING THE SPATIAL-TEMPORAL PRIMITIVES Nystuen (1963) used an isotropic plain to develop </p><p>a list of fundamental geographic properties consisting of direction, distance, connection, and boundaries-a "basis for the spatial point of view". The isotropic plane represented "elementary, abstract, geographical space that has no difference from place to place or in one direction to another". The designation as "fundamental" meant that each element was necessary and independent; all other concepts were compounds of this basic set. Papageorgiou (1969) expanded this initial list to include point and time for the analysis of multi-dimensional spatial systems, but omitted boundaries. Both investigators suggested their lists were not exhaustive, and, at the time, were primarily concerned with establishing fundamental spatial properties as a basis for geographic science. </p><p>applications, a broader set of spatial-temporal primitives are proposed here. These spatial-temporal primitives are applicable within finite geographic space (the geosphere- consisting of the earth mass and its surrounding atmosphere), and this implementation does not require these primitives to be fundamental, as conceived by the earlier investigators. Like them, however, there is no claim </p><p>For preservice teacher education and practical </p><p>Dow</p><p>nloa</p><p>ded </p><p>by [</p><p>Ston</p><p>y B</p><p>rook</p><p> Uni</p><p>vers</p><p>ity] </p><p>at 1</p><p>4:45</p><p> 24 </p><p>Oct</p><p>ober</p><p> 201</p><p>4 </p></li><li><p>Using Spatial-temporal Primitives to Improve Geographic Skills for Preservice Teachers 173 </p><p>made that the list is exhaustive. Instead, the primary objectives are to identify spatial-temporal properties that are observable and measurable, and thus capable of being used as a framework for analysis for helping prospective teachers improve their geographic skills. </p><p>coordinate system provides a means to derive empirically the observable and measurable spatial-temporal primitives (Fig. 1). In (a) where one box is shown, the </p><p>A scaled and oriented map with an established </p><p>readily observable spatial properties are size and shape. The box exists at some absolute place or position within the latitude and longitude coordinates shown, and at a place relative to other objects or areas. In addition, the box also exhibits containment within a larger space such as a room. </p><p>within measurable geographic space, additional spatial relationships can be observed. In (b), size, shape, place, </p><p>When two or more objects are considered </p><p>a) Single box place Lat: 42.0109934 + Long: 86.0333343 </p><p>containment within a room </p><p>size El shape b) Several boxes (their properties of place, size, shape, and containment remain) </p><p>distance </p><p>vity </p><p>c) Several boxes exhibiting a pattern </p><p>Lat: 42.0109933 Long: 86.0333344 I t </p><p>1 12 inches </p><p>Figure 1. Observable and measurable spatial primitives </p><p>Dow</p><p>nloa</p><p>ded </p><p>by [</p><p>Ston</p><p>y B</p><p>rook</p><p> Uni</p><p>v...</p></li></ul>

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