The impact of a geographic technologies professional development institute on Middle Eastern and North African teachers

Aïcha Benimmas, Joseph Kerski, Patricia Solís

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Basic education in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) seems to be characterized by lecture methods of instruction, a lack of interdisciplinary approaches and a disconnection with local community problems. During 2008, a "My Community, Our Earth" (MyCOE) workshop was organized in the MENA region and involved teachers of geography, math and science. It aimed to promote and support the use of geographic methods and technologies, including Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and Global Positioning Systems (GPS), regarding sustainable development topics as a way to improve primary and secondary teaching and learning through an interdisciplinary approach and connection to local issues. These subjects were integrated to a perspective based on spatial thinking, spatial analysis, active learning and problem solving on a variety of regional and local issues. This article explores the impact that the MyCOE workshop may have on participants' learning. Preworkshop and postworkshop questionnaires were administered, and the analysis of qualitative and quantitative data shows that the respondents' expertise was reinforced and that they learned to use geographic technologies. In addition, the MyCOE workshop resulted in the development of a more concrete vision among participants of what basic math and science education could be in Arab nations, by using geographic learning as a framework for integrated education.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)21-45
Number of pages25
JournalInternational Research in Geographical and Environmental Education
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • geographic technologies
  • geography
  • interdisciplinary
  • Middle East and North Africa
  • MyCOE
  • teachers

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Education
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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