This doctoral dissertation studies the significance of school maps in education in detail and complements findings by experts from Slovenia and abroad with new insights. Based on the studies conducted, textbooks remain the predominant method for presenting cartographic material in the educational system, and therefore the main focus is on the maps used in textbooks.
The concluding thesis proceeds from an analysis of Slovenian curricula and their comparison with selected curricula in other European countries, Canada, and Australia. The findings are also based on an extensive analysis of the cartographic knowledge of Slovenian primary-school and secondary-school students, teachers’ preferences, and the experience of the editors that incorporate cartographic material into textbooks. These analyses were carried out using a survey and interviews. The results showed that, compared to the curricula in other countries, the Slovenian curricula provide extensive and thorough cartographic material, especially from the fourth grade onwards. Nonetheless, the students show gaps in certain segments of cartographic knowledge of Slovenia.
In order to study the causes for this, the entire cartographic communication system was examined—from the cartographers that encode the messages, to cognitive maps, which are the result of users’ mental decoding of messages provided by the map. The study adds to the cartographic design principles that will serve as a starting point for preparing the best possible school maps for teaching in the future and for further development of school cartography.