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Open Geography: Free Curriculum and Resources

by Miguel Guhlin
open geography

Need free curriculum for teaching that most necessary of subjects, geography? Then you are in luck. A solid knowledge of geography provides an understanding of politics and culture. It grants a sense of perspective to understand the map. In this blog entry, you’ll explore a brand new revamped website that offers free resources.

What’s more, the website’s resources and curriculum are open educational resources (OER). Before we dive into these amazing resources for geography, let’s take a look at what OER is.

Open Educational Resources (OER)

“I’m overwhelmed. There’s no way I can create brand new resources from scratch to use online. What options do I have for finding and organizing materials from other people?” Open educational resources offer one possible answer to that question.

Did You Know?

OER licensed content must be free for any individual to use. What’s more, creators must license it for unlimited distribution. Also, they allow for its adaptation, translation, remixing, and improvement.

You can find a rich variety of images, audio, and video licensed as Creative Commons. You can also find content via Google Image Search. Or use a Chrome extension such as CC Search. You can see how Creative Commons and OER fit together in the chart below (source).

OER vs NOT OER chart, https://libguides.consortiumlibrary.org/OER/isit
Source: https://libguides.consortiumlibrary.org/OER/isit

Some common OER tools and resources appear below:

To this list, allow me to add one more for geography explorers.

Geography is a discipline of explorers. Some geographers explore the world using satellite imagery. Others do so by interviewing members of an indigenous community in an isolated area. What unites geographers everywhere is a desire to dig deeper. It is a desire to better understand why the spatial patterns and unique features we find in the world exist (source: World Regional Geography).

Introducing Open Geography

You can access textbooks that have gone through editing and peer review. Open Geography makes these available at no extra charge. And these are also Creative Commons Attribution licensed. Contributing support to the site includes geography notables, such as:

  • ESRI
  • Lumen
  • GeoTech
  • Salt Lake Community College
  • Utah State Board of Education

So what can you find at the Open Geography website?

open geography
Screenshot by author

eTextbook Resources

You can find eTextbooks that are mobile friendly. The website provides a list of textbooks, including:

  • Geography OER eTextbooks
  • Geography OER Lab Manuals
  • Geospatial Technology OER eTextbooks

There is a total of 15 different resources available for use. But that’s not all.

open geography

Screenshot by author – Image Source

Online Resources

open geography
Source: https://www.populationpyramid.net/hnp/population-growth/2015/

In addition, you can find a rich collection of links organized into several categories. Those categories include:

  • Physical geography
  • Human geography
  • Environmental geography
  • Geographic information systems
  • Remote sensing
  • Global Positioning Systems (GPS)
  • Spatial data and cartography
  • Spatial curriculum and pedagogy

You can also find links to open education topics and to professional organizations.

A Parting Reflection

“The Open Geography project is doing important work to expand the population of students who can access this valuable field,” says Dr. Aida Guhlincozzi, a post-doctoral scholar in Geography and Geographic Information Science (GIS) at the University of Missouri . “The Open Geography project makes  a number of key learning resources with many tools available to those who need it most.” All this can be invaluable content for educators encouraging young learners.

Feature Image Source

Screenshot by author

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