Alex Oberle, associate professor of geography and coordinator for the Geographic Alliance of Iowa, was recently named a National Geographic Education Fellow by the National Geographic Society for the 2017-2018 academic year for his commitment to geographic education. Alex was one of four educators to receive the prestigious award and the only one from an institution of higher education.
Alex's geography education research centers on geospatial technologies for teaching and learning as well as internationalizing teacher education.
He particularly strives to create opportunities to engage UNI pre-service teachers in funded undergraduate research that advances geography education and greatly strengthens their career preparation. His research has been published in the Journal of Geography in Higher Education, the Journal of Geography and some Latin American geography journals.
The fellowship is part of the National Geographic's Geo-Inquiry National Initiative and is estimated to reach 50,000 middle school students in all fifty states, Washington, D.C., and Canada. This bold educational effort is designed to help students understand the world by examining the patterns, processes and interactions between human and natural systems.
The Geo-Inquiry Process also allows students and educators to solve community issues with geographic skills. Through the impact of this fellowship, Alex anticipates bringing the Geo-Inquiry Process back to Iowa and to UNI to provide opportunities for Iowa educators, UNI pre-service teachers and UNI geography majors.
“The spirit of the NGS Fellowship reflects the mission of National Geographic Education, something that resonates so well with teachers, pre-service teachers, geographers and the vision/mission of UNI: 'We teach kids about the world and how it works, empowering them to succeed and to make it a better place,'” said Alex.
Look for a new "In the Field" series coming soon to CSBS News, as Alex shares more of his background and experiences as a NG Fellow.