Rendiconti Online della Società Geologica Italiana - Vol. 63/2024
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Teaching geology, from textbooks to the Earth: the potential of geological maps, a powerful but neglected educational tool

Fabrizio Berra
Università degli Studi di Milano, Dipartimento di Scienze della Terra "A. Desio", Via Mangiagalli 34, 20133 Milano.

Volume: 63/2024


Teaching geology mostly limited to textbooks, so that classroom lectures is the primary educational method for students’ training. Transition from listening to doing, more efficient in education, can be achieved with the use of rocks, minerals, and fossils (occasionally present in schools): it is an integration of classroom lectures, although simply representing punctual expressions of the geological complexity of the real world. A potential way to transfer geological concepts from books to everyday life is represented by the use of geological maps as educational tools: these technical and scientific documents (that in Italy cover the entire nation with different scale and detail) can be easily accessed from institutional websites. Digital images of these maps may be visualized in 3D digital environments using simple tools. Analysing geological maps, it is possible to get familiar with concepts described in textbooks: rock types, faults, geological boundaries, geomorphological elements. Geological maps also represent an aid for outdoor geological activities, which can be followed by reports produced by students, migrating geology from books to real world: to achieve the best results, a training for teachers not acquainted with digital tools and geological maps should be considered and planned, either in presence or with digital supports.


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