Computerized simulations for introductory geography instruction: international population

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Virginia Tech

Few introductory geography courses offer laboratory sessions. Computer-aided instruction (CAl) techniques offer good means of satisfying the need for laboratory instruction in geography, by providing graphical manipulation of representations of geographic processes. Traditional classroom approaches are unable to provide such graphical manipulation. This paper focuses on the design and implementation of the International Population module, one of six computerized laboratory modules being developed to support introductory geography instruction as proposed for project GeoSim. This module illustrates the effects of age distribution, as well as birth and death rates, on population growth for selected countries from around the world. The student is presented with key themes involved in population dynamics through assorted graphs and figures. Population projections for each country can be computed, and students may modify birth and death rates to investigate resulting effects on projected populations. The module uses Macintosh Toolbox routines to support a highly interactive window-based, menu-driven graphical interface which runs under the Macintosh II System.