The person behind GeoKnow.net is Terry McDonald – a middle and secondary school Geography teacher at St. John's-Kilmarnock School, an IB World School located in Ontario's Technology Triangle. He is also an active artist, author and workshop facilitator, using digital photography fine art techniques to reveal the art inherent in nature.
Having completed an Honours Bachlelors degree in Science (Zoology) and an Honours Arts degree in Geography, followed by and his B.Ed., Terry's teaching career started over 20 years ago with the Waterloo Region District School Board. After nine years, he and his young family moved to Arusha, Tanzania, teaching at St. Constantine's International School – a school that catered to local Tanzanians rather than western expats. As Terry is quick to point out, "living and teaching in East Africa was four years of geographical field study and professional development"
This was followed by three years at Moulsham High School and Humanities College in Chelmsford, England. With England's excellent focus on Geography and field studies, this was again an opportunity for personal and professional growth.
Terry takes a "field and screen" approach to Geography: field experience is critical to understanding what you read and learn online and from textbooks. To this end, he has taken students to Nogorogoro Crater. Mount Meru volcano and the Indian Ocean coast of Tanzania; the renowned Malham Cove and the Peak District of England; on a "Glacial Features" tour of southern Ontario and along the Niagara Escarpment. He will soon be taking a group of Gr 8s, 9s and 11s to the Galapagos for hands-on conservation service work. His travels have also included family driving trips in the Great Rift Valley, Zanzibar and South Africa, across Canada (twice, in both directions), throughout western Europe and the UK, and northern and eastern US states.
Having visited and taught in such a diversity of places with a equally diverse range of curricula, Terry has gained a wide perspective on what it takes to effectively engage students in this shrinking world: "make it visual and make it relevant!" As well, help students acquire the skills for independent learning and thinking to reason out issues as well as the empathy for understanding different perspectives.
GeoKnow.net is an off-shoot of his continued learning as a teacher. Terry hopes that students and teachers of Geography find it a helpful, go-to resource.