Our next interviewee for the Geography Educators of Maryland series is Daniel Whalen. We recently talked with him about his recent visit to South Korea for the 7th International Conference on Geographic Naming and Education, his experience as a geography educator, and the importance of a geographic education.
Mr. Whalen’s experience in geography stems from his expertise in history. Before arriving to university, he generally viewed geography through an historical lens. He remembers a particular class assignment, however, that helped broaden his scope on the geography discipline. He recalls riding through downtown Albany, New York in the comfort of a ’95 Ford Escort, observing the distribution of low income communities across the neighborhoods. The changes in the human landscape helped him understand his own cultural identity and relative privilege.
From then on, Mr. Whalen has been very involved in the realm of geography education. During his first teaching assignment, he taught three seventh grade classes of Geography of the Western Hemisphere. In a few years, he was writing AP Human Geography curriculum for Prince George’s County Public Schools, eventually going on to be a Reader for the ETS and College Board.
Mr. Whalen has also taken part in many different geography education conferences and institutes. In the summer of 2015, he attended the NCGE Conference, where he volunteered and networked with the presenters. The Virginia Geographic Alliance sponsored Mr. Whalen in an introductory, five week long ArcGIS online course called “Putting Social Studies in its Place.”
The most recent conference he attended, the 7th International Conference on Geographic Naming and Education, was held in Seoul, South Korea. The Northeast Asian History Foundation graciously sponsored his trip. While there, Mr. Whalen gave a presentation on geographic connections between Southern Maryland and South Korea. He was also able to visit the Seonunsa Korean Buddhist Temple, where a monk led the group in morning prayers and meditation. Take a look below for some photos from his visit. You can check out more posts about Mr. Whalen’s trip here.
In an ever-globalizing world, people have more opportunities to participate in international and cross-cultural events like this. Mr. Whalen explains that the impact from globalization along with social media means K-12 students and interconnected more than ever. With that, geography education should be more prevalent within K-12 curricula as it would allow students to realize the importance of “global thinking for a world that’s shrinking.”
Read the entire interview here.
Check out Daniel Whalen’s blog at http://www.metaman.edublogs.org