Prof. Dr. Volker Albrecht
My research and teaching during the last decades was strongly influenced by the different concepts of geography as a university subject and as a subject in secondary education. During my studies at the universities in Münster, Bonn, Freiburg and Leicester (England) the dominant concepts were regional geography, landscape (Landschaft, Naturlandschaft und Kulturlandschaft) with an integrated view of natural and human factors. Maps, map construction, especially thematic maps, slides and drawings on a blackboard were the main media of representations. In the sixties in Bonn and Freiburg ecological perspectives of regional geography and landscape studies were very well established. I experienced the upcoming of quantitative geography, the questioning of the scientific solidity of regional geography, the increasing influence of social geography as well as political geography (the latter relatively late in Germany), and the renaissance of regional geography for geography teaching in schools (Just to mention some of the many concepts in geography). I think that these ideas partly influenced my teaching and research. During my time at the Pädagogische Hochschule in Freiburg I learnt the business of teacher training, especially in service training, and to take into consideration the real life situations of students and their cognitive development. Skinner, Piaget and the constructivist learning theories were my companions during my teacher training activities in Frankfurt. I had twice a guest professorship at Trenton State College (to-day: The College of New Jersey) There I learned to be aware of the importance of the living spaces of students and social geographical foundations of education in general (especially urban education) and geographical education specifically. My writings and teaching concepts ran along these different lines of socialisation.
Since the late eighties I started to develop computer simulation programmes which led to the development of two simulation programmes (GEOLAB 1990 and MOBIT 1991). The idea to develop concepts of thinking in models related to media education could be partly realized in an interuniversity project WEBGEO (see: www. WebGeo.de). In collaboration with colleagues I was responsible for the didactical conceptualization. On the basis of these experiences my working group was able to establish eLearning tools for students with physical geographical content. (See: E-Learning and Knowledge construction in Geosciences and Geography) Some ideas on the importance of models were strongly influenced by a twenty year long cooperation with the Department of Physical Geography in Szeged – Hungary (Prof. Gábor Mezösi).
I owe my knowledge and writing on the situation of the Chicanos and Mexican Americans to a long -standing cooperation with the historian Prof. Antonio Rios-Bustamante.
I see Regional Geography and Political Geography as necessary elements for civic education and integrated my knowledge and living experiences in Slovenia, Hungary, France, Italy and the United States of America into my teaching on civic education.