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Discovering Africa through Internet-Based Geographic Information Systems: A Pan-African Summit Simulation

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Social Education Volume 71, Number 3, ISSN 0037-7724


In the United States, people get very little news about Africa, and what news they do get is about war or famine, with little historical information or context. In this article, the authors describe how they developed and implemented a Pan-African Summit simulation project in order to give their approximately 100, 9th-grade students (in five World Geography classes) a more profound knowledge of this vast continent. One primary goal for this project was to have students essentially "discover" Africa on their own by examining the human and physical conditions of various regions of the continent and then drawing tentative conclusions about the nature of the problems afflicting African countries. They decided to use discovery learning as a guiding framework for this project. Through discovery learning, students use inductive reasoning to sort through examples and details in order to develop an understanding of general principles. With the aid of an Internet-based Geographic Information Systems (IGIS), they constructed maps and graphs of their data sources to support their assertions regarding the significance of issues facing the people of their regions. The authors found the results of their initial experience with discovery learning through IGIS to be more positive for the academically advanced students than for those students who typically struggle academically. They encourage other social studies and geography teachers to explore uses for IGIS with their students as a means for discovering the world. (Contains 9 notes.)


Milson, A.J., Gilbert, K.M. & Earle, B.D. (2007). Discovering Africa through Internet-Based Geographic Information Systems: A Pan-African Summit Simulation. Social Education, 71(3), 140-145. Retrieved September 21, 2021 from .

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