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Education through Maps: The Challenges of Knowing and Understanding the World
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Human Geography.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-3942-0427
2015 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The overall purpose of this thesis is to study, in relation to geography education and with a historical perspective, the challenges of knowing and understanding the world. The cases are all from Sweden. In the first paper, educational ideas in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries are studied, and the results indicate that some of the previously criticised educational ideas that were perceived as resulting from the ideas of nineteenth century regional geography in fact can be observed in earlier centuries and were criticised during the nineteenth century. In the second paper, school children’s ability to locate geographical names on outline maps is compared with children’s ability to complete the same task 45 years earlier. A total of 1,124 students were included in the latter study, and the results were compared with those from a study of 1,200 students from the same town conducted in 1968. The results raise questions regarding the picture of the continuous decline in children’s school results and show, for example, that children today are better at locating continents on a world map. The final paper identifies a new aspect of map reading difficulties. These difficulties in map reading are increasingly important in our global society, i.e., how the edges of the world map cohere. The paper shows that many map readers, children and adults, respond according to the idea of linear peripheral continuity, which indicates that the proposed continuation is along the straight line that continues tangentially to the original route when it crosses the edge. In general, this understanding leads to incorrect interpretations of the continuation of world maps.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Department of Human Geography, Stockholm University , 2015. , 46 p.
Series
Meddelanden från Kulturgeografiska institutionen vid Stockholms universitet, ISSN 0585-3508 ; 149
Keyword [en]
cartography, geography education, map projections, maps, place location knowledge, world maps, Sweden
Keyword [sv]
kartografi, geografiundervisning, kartor, kartprojektioner, namngeografi, världskartor, Sverige
National Category
Human Geography
Research subject
Geography with Emphasis on Human Geography
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-119809ISBN: 978-91-7649-215-4 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-119809DiVA: diva2:848599
Public defence
2015-10-23, De Geersalen, Geovetenskapens hus, Svante Arrhenius väg 14, Stockholm, 13:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Note

At the time of the doctoral defense, the following paper was unpublished and had a status as follows: Paper 2: Accepted.

Available from: 2015-10-01 Created: 2015-08-25 Last updated: 2015-09-29Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Educational ideas in geography education in Sweden during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries: the relationship between maps and texts
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Educational ideas in geography education in Sweden during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries: the relationship between maps and texts
2015 (English)In: International Research in Geographical and Environmental Education, ISSN 1038-2046, E-ISSN 1747-7611, Vol. 24, no 3, 258-272 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Descriptions of the geography education of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries in Sweden are typically offered to contrast with current ideas in geography education, and the content of geography textbooks is the focus of this comparison. The role of maps and visual pedagogy are ignored, and the educational ideas developed from regional geography are only regarded as old-fashioned encyclopaedia-like descriptions to be removed as the academic field of geography changed direction in the twentieth century. The objective of this paper is to describe the educational ideas of geography education during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries in Sweden, focusing on the relationship between maps and textbooks. The sources are texts from 1726 to 1969 that were written to instruct geography teachers. These texts demonstrate that educational ideas emphasised context and understanding in geography education, critiqued rote learning, and opposed the focus on texts over maps. The old discussion about avoiding encyclopaedia-like descriptions of regions in geography textbooks has continued to the present day Sweden, but is now described as a dichotomy between regional geography versus thematic or systematic studies in geography.

Keyword
education history, geography education, maps, Sweden, textbook studies
National Category
Human Geography
Research subject
Geography with Emphasis on Human Geography
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-119039 (URN)10.1080/10382046.2015.1034460 (DOI)
Available from: 2015-07-25 Created: 2015-07-25 Last updated: 2017-12-04Bibliographically approved
2. Changes in place location knowledge: a follow-up study in Arvika, Sweden, 1968 and 2013
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Changes in place location knowledge: a follow-up study in Arvika, Sweden, 1968 and 2013
2016 (English)In: International Research in Geographical and Environmental Education, ISSN 1038-2046, E-ISSN 1747-7611, Vol. 25, no 4, 309-327 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

It has long been understood that widespread place name ignorance exists among the youth of today. The present study compares place location knowledge among students in a Swedish town in 2013 with the knowledge in the same town 45 years earlier. The study used outline maps to determine the ability to locate geographic names. A total of 1,124 students were included in the study in 2013, and the results are compared with the results from a previous study of 1,200 students conducted in 1968. The results indicate that contemporary children have improved knowledge of continents and oceans on a world map but have worse knowledge of countries and other locations on a map of Europe. These changes indicate neither a general improvement nor a worsening of place location knowledge but rather an adaptation to contemporary society, in which children travel to and receive news from many parts of the world and in which detailed geographic information is easily obtained.

Keyword
Geography education, maps, place location knowledge, Sweden
National Category
Human Geography
Research subject
Geography with Emphasis on Human Geography
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-119042 (URN)10.1080/10382046.2016.1207991 (DOI)000391017200003 ()
Available from: 2015-07-27 Created: 2015-07-27 Last updated: 2017-12-04Bibliographically approved
3. Beyond the Periphery: child and Adult Understanding of World Map Continuity
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Beyond the Periphery: child and Adult Understanding of World Map Continuity
2015 (English)In: Annals of the Association of American Geographers, ISSN 0004-5608, E-ISSN 1467-8306, Vol. 105, no 4, 773-790 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

It is well established that map projections make it difficult for a map reader to correctly interpret angles, distances, and areas from a world map. A single map projection cannot ensure that all of the intuitive features of Euclidean geometry, such as angles, relative distances, and relative areas, are the same on the map and in reality. This article adds an additional difficulty by demonstrating a clear pattern of naïveté regarding the site at which a route that crosses the edge of a world map reappears. The argument is that this naïve understanding of the peripheral continuation is linear, meaning that the proposed continuation is along the straight line that continues tangentially to the original route when it crosses the edge. In general, this understanding leads to an incorrect interpretation concerning the continuation of world maps. It is only in special cases—such as radial routes on a planar projection and peripherally latitudinal routes on a cylindrical or pseudocylindrical projection with a normal aspect—that the actual peripheral continuation of the world map is linear. The data used in this article are based on questionnaires administered to 670 children aged nine to fifteen and eighty-two adults. This naïve understanding of the peripheral continuation, which leads to errors, was found to be entirely dominant among the children, regardless of the projection, and was clearly observed among the adults when the projection was cylindrical with a normal aspect.

Abstract [zh]

地图投影,已确认会让地图阅读者正确解读世界地图上的角度、距离与面积变得困难。单一的地图投影,无法保证欧几里德几何的所有直观特点,例如角度、相对距离、相对面积,在地图上与实际上是一致的。本文展现一个理解横跨世界地图边缘的路径再度出现的地点的明确天真模式,作为额外的困难。本文的主张如下:此般对边缘连续性的天真理解是线性的,意味着其所假定的连续性,是当路径横跨地图边缘时,会在切线上沿着直线持续延伸至原先的路径。此般理解,通常会导致不正确地诠释世界地图的连续性。只有在特别的案例中——例如平面投影上的放射路径,以及以正轴圆柱投影或伪圆柱投影中的边缘纬度线——世界地图上的实际边缘连续性才是直线的。本文使用的数据,是根据对六百七十位年龄自九岁至十五岁的儿童,以及八十二位成人所进行的问卷调查。当地图投影是正轴圆柱投影时,此般对边缘连续性——且造成错误——的天真理解,在儿童中完全佔支配位置,且在成人中亦被明确地观察到。

Abstract [es]

Es una hecho claramente establecido que las proyecciones cartográficas dificultan a los lectores de mapas interpretar correctamente ángulos, distancias y áreas en un mapa del mundo. No existe una sola proyección de la que se pueda asegurar que todos los rasgos intuitivos de la geometría euclidiana, tales como ángulos, distancias relativas y áreas relativas sean las mismas en el mapa y en la realidad. Este artículo agrega una dificultad adicional al demostrar un patrón claro de ingenuidad en relación con el sitio en el que reaparece una ruta que cruza el borde de un mapa del mundo. El argumento es que esta comprensión ingenua de la continuidad periférica es lineal, dando a entender que la continuación propuesta se hace a lo largo de una línea recta que continúa tangencialmente a la ruta original cuando se cruza el borde. En general, este modo de pensar lleva a una interpretación incorrecta en lo que concierne a los mapas del mundo. Solamente en casos especiales—tales como los de rutas radiales sobre una proyección planar y en rutas periféricamente latitudinales sobre proyecciones cilíndricas o pseudocilíndricas de aspecto normal—ocurre que la continuación periférica real del mapa del mundo sea lineal. Los datos usados en este artículo están basados en cuestionarios administrados a 670 niños con edades entre nueve y quince años, y a ochenta y dos adultos. Este ingenuo entendimiento de la continuidad periférica, que conduce a errores, es dominante totalmente entre los niños, con cualquier proyección usada, y se observó claramente entre los adultos cuando la proyección utilizada fue una cilíndrica de aspecto normal.

Keyword
cartography, map projections, peripheral continuity, world maps, 製图学,地图投影,边缘连续性,世界地图。, cartografía, proyecciones cartográficas, continuidad periférica, mapas del mundo
National Category
Human Geography
Research subject
Geography with Emphasis on Human Geography
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-119038 (URN)10.1080/00045608.2015.1022091 (DOI)000359478600009 ()
Available from: 2015-07-25 Created: 2015-07-25 Last updated: 2017-12-04Bibliographically approved

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