The “Student Atlas of Oregon,” produced by the Oregon Geographic Alliance at Portland State University (PSU), has won the 2012 Geographic Excellence in Media (GEM) Award of the National Council for Geographic Education. The award will be presented at a national conference Oct. 6 in San Marcos, TX.
The atlas was authored Teresa Bulman, a geography professor at PSU, and Gwenda Rice, an education professor at Western Oregon State University. The chief cartographer was David Banis at PSU’s Center for Spatial Analysis & Research (CSAR). The project also involved PSU students and a dozen K-12 teachers from throughout the state.
The team produced both English and Spanish versions of the atlas and an 11-language glossary. It was completed in early 2011. Anyone, including students and teachers, can access the atlas online at http://studentatlasoforegon.pdx.edu. Bulman said the site has received more than 50,000 hits. About 10,000 hard copy versions of the atlas were printed and are being distributed to K-12 teachers throughout the state.
The Oregon Geographic Alliance offers free workshops to teachers on how to teach mapping skills and use the atlas in the classroom. It has held 30 workshops in the last two years.
The GEM Award honors public educational media that have made extraordinary contributions to the promotion of geographic literacy. Nominations for the 2012 award were considered for all forms of media produced in 2010-2011 that exhibited outstanding geographic content or teaching methods.
The Oregon Geographic Alliance is one of 52 state alliances in the United States that connect university faculty with K-12 teachers to promote innovative geographic education. The Oregon alliance was established in 1986 and has been at PSU since 1990.