Around the world in 60 minutes

GeoNight from Sydney, New South Wales, Australia on Friday 12 April 2024

Around the world in 60 minutes


‘Around the world in 60 minutes’ is an online event, hosted by the Australian Geography Teachers Association (AGTA) and conceptualised by Dr Susan Caldis, Chair of AGTA. Lightning talks will focus on two recently published books, and showcase: (i) how to think geographically; and (ii) how to engage with place-based education. The speakers will be Associate Professor Alaric Maude (Australia), Dr Emma Rawlings Smith (England) and Dr Susan Pike (Ireland). Each lightning talk will include opportunities for audience interaction.


There are three objectives to ‘Around the world in 60 minutes’: (i) To foster international connections between geography educators in school-based and initial teacher education settings; (ii) To demonstrate the relevance and importance of geography’s distinctiveness; (iii) To promote recent publications in geography education

Duration, time and zoom link:

The event is scheduled for  60 minutes (or 1 hour), between 7.30pm – 8.30pm AEST. The zoom link is available here:

Please note the event is hosted from Sydney, NSW, Australia, and is therefore operating on Australian Eastern Standard Time.

Event language:

The event will be conducted in the language of English


7.30pm – 7.35pm: Welcome and introduction: Dr Susan Caldis to welcome attendees, provide an overview about the work of AGTA, and introduce GeoNight speakers

Dr Susan Caldis is a Lecturer in the Macquarie School of Education, Wallumattagal Campus, Macquarie University NSW Australia, and Chair of the Australian Geography Teachers Association. Susan’s research interests focus on understanding the nature and impact of stakeholder engagement in curriculum development, the influence of reflexive practice during a time of transition into the teaching profession, and implications on teacher practice arising from out-of-field teaching in geography. In 2019, Susan was commissioned to Singapore by the Academy of Singapore Teachers as the Outstanding Educator in Residence. Prior to an academic career, Susan worked at a national scale to lead development of the Australian Curriculum: Geography; at a local scale, Susan was a geography teacher in New South Wales government schools for almost two decades. Susan’s sustained contribution to the work of professional associations and impact in developing the profile of geography education in NSW and Australia have been recognised through award of a Fellowship to the Geography Teachers Association of NSW & ACT, the Macdonald Holmes Medal awarded by the Geographical Society of NSW, and the James Sturgiss Award for Exceptional Service to the Profession, awarded by the Professional Teachers Council of NSW.

7.35pm – 8.00pm: Lightning Talk 1 (includes audience interaction): Associate Professor Alaric Maude to present Thinking geographically: A guide to the core concepts for teachers

Associate Professor Alaric Maude is a long retired geography academic. In the past Alaric researched and taught about South East Asia and the Pacific Islands, and then about regional development in Australia. Since retirement in 2004, Alaric became involved with geographical education in schools. Between 2009 and 2013, Alaric was Lead Writer and then Writing Coach for the Australian Curriculum: Geography, developed by the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority. Out of this experience Alaric wrote a book for primary school teachers to explain geography and the new curriculum. Alaric was also involved in an authoring team for a pedagogically focused book targeted at secondary school teachers and teacher educators: ‘Teaching Secondary Geography‘. Alaric’s more recent work has been on the teaching of sustainability, the application of the concept of powerful knowledge to geography in schools, and geographical concepts. Alaric’s recent publication is Thinking geographically: A guide to the core concepts for teachers (by Routledge in 2024), which is the focus of this lightning talk.

The book ‘Thinking geographically: A guide to the core concepts for teachers‘ is about how to use geography’s core concepts to teach young people to think geographically, deeply and ethically. Thinking geographically is about the ways that geographers perceive the world and the questions they ask, and how these can teach students new ways of thinking. It is based on the key concepts of place, space, environment and interconnection. Thinking deeply is about the ability to understand and explain, and to use that knowledge to comprehend the present and think into the future. It is based on the same four concepts, with the addition of the analytical ones of scale and time. Thinking ethically is about critically evaluating environmental and social situations and trends, and to think about alternatives. It is based on the evaluative concepts of sustainability and human wellbeing.

8.00pm – 8.25pm: Lightning Talk 2 (includes audience interaction): Dr Emma Rawlings Smith and Dr Susan Pike to present ‘Encountering ideas of place in Education: Scholarship and practice in place-based learning’ 

Dr Emma Rawlings Smith is a Lecturer in sustainability and geography education at the University of Southampton. Before moving into higher education, Emma taught school geography in England and the Middle East. Emma’s research interests include teacher education, geography curriculum design and place-based education. Currently, Emma is involved in an ESRC Socio-scientific Inquiry-based Learning project with colleagues in Taiwan and will be the 2024 Outstanding Educator working with the Academy of Singapore Teachers to embed Place-based Inquiry for Sustainability Education into the school curriculum. Emma is a trustee and fellow of the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG), a journal editorial board member for Teaching Geography, and Chair of the Geographical Association’s Teacher Education Phase Committee.

Dr Susan Pike is an Assistant Professor in Geography Education in the School of Education in Trinity College Dublin (TCD), leading Geography Education on the Professional Masters in Education and the Dissertation on the Masters of Education. Susan is a qualified secondary teacher, working in primary and secondary teacher education for the past 20 years. She was awarded her EdD in 2008, with her doctoral thesis focussing on children’s lived experiences of their local environments. Her current research focuses on teaching and learning in geography, citizenship and sustainability education, through enquiry and fieldwork. Susan was President of the Geographical Association (2020-21), and currently serves on the Geography Society of Ireland Committee. She is an Organising Committee member for the 2024 International Geographical Congress and chairs the 2024 International Geography Olympiad.

Place is central to all our lives. It is not only a meaningful location, but also a way of seeing, knowing and understanding the world in which we live. In this lightning talk, Emma and Susan will introduce their collaborative book project Encountering Ideas of Place in Education and outline why it is important for children and young people to have opportunities for engaging with and extending their situational knowledge through experiential place-based learning. Emma and Susan will then share some of the many place-based pedagogies included in their book that provide children and young people the opportunity to learn in and through place and take them beyond their everyday thinking.

8.25pm – 8.30pm: Vote of thanks and close: Dr Susan Caldis to synthesis key messages, offer a vote of thanks and close the GeoNight event.

Further comments: This is the first time the Australian Geography Teachers Association has participated in GeoNight and we look forward to sharing important ideas about geography education by showcasing two recent publications. The event is targeted at pre-service teachers, in-service teachers, retired teachers, teacher educators, academics and community members from across the discipline of geography who are interested in the field of geography education. The event is held online.