IU - Indiana University

Geography and History of the World


History of the Initiative

In December of 2003, the Indiana Education Roundtable and the Indiana Department of Education proposed changes to the Indiana high school Social Studies curriculum requirements.  One of the most significant changes was to eliminate World Geography.  Yet, the two entities, along with state leaders wanted to provide a course “… that was creative, integrative, and prepared Indiana students for employment in the twenty-first century …  World Geography is the perfect platform…” (C.O., IER).

In response to this request to provide such a course, the Geography Educators’ Network of Indiana, the History Educators’ Network of Indiana, and the Indiana Department of Education embarked upon a journey to create a one-year, integrated course that educated students about the world in which they live, and in which they will become gainfully employed, globally literate citizens.   The Roundtable and Department of Education determined to title the course “Geography and History of the World” as the two disciplines are innately intertwined.

Post-secondary geographers and historians, as well as secondary educators, were brought together to develop priorities for the course.  The priorities would be the guide under which the standards and indicators would be further developed.  Once the priorities were established, a professional curriculum writer was brought to the project.  Original intentions were to develop the new course standards and indicators in a very short time-frame (Fall, 2004 to March, 2005), but this original time-line was deemed inappropriate, and a more appropriate time-frame was allowed the professional curriculum developer.

From May, 2004 until May, 2006, the actual writing of the standards and indicators, and accompanying revisions, took place.  Many well-respected national documents and persons were utilized as guides and resources.  Several key Indiana classroom educators, historians, and geographers were relied upon for comments.

The process was challenging for all involved for many different reasons and became a journey of professional growth, as well as personal growth, for most involved.  But the resulting standards for “The Geography and History of the World” are integrative and creative AND offers curriculum that helps Indiana students understand the world in which they live and offers curriculum that prepares Indiana students to function in the global society of their futures.

The latest revisions were finalized and approved by the State Legislature for publication in May, 2014.