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Real-world knowledge through real-world maps: A development guide for navigating the educational terrain

Real-world knowledge through real-world maps: A development guide for navigating the educational terrain

Developmental Review 22(2): 267-322

Maps have real-world utility for activities of daily life and are critical for many disciplines. Here, we discuss how educating children to use maps for navigation may enhance not only their wayfinding skills, but also their more general representational and spatial skills. After reviewing relevant developmental and educational research, we document the need for innovative educational curricula to meet the challenges of teaching map navigation within the school setting. We then describe the development and evaluation of one such curriculum-Where Are We? (WAW?; Kastens, 2000)-designed to simulate real-world map-navigation experience. We close by proposing five components that should be included when evaluating any developmentally motivated curriculum for teaching real-world knowledge, illustrating each component by reference to our ongoing WAW? evaluation research.

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