National Geographic

Phase 1: Certification Workshop

Photograph by Alison Szopinski/National Geographic Staff


The Phase 1 workshop is your first step toward completing the National Geographic Educator Certification Program, which is a free professional learning opportunity for formal and informal Pre-K through 12 educators working to inspire the next generation of explorers, conservationists, and global citizens. The workshop can be completed either in person or online. Note: If you have already taken the workshop in person, you are ready for Phase 2.

Please make sure you have signed up for the program before you proceed.



Educators taking this workshop will:

  • Reflect on their personal teaching mission.

  • Consider ways content can be positioned within a global geographic context—through the lenses of the human and natural world, multiple disciplinary perspectives, and several geographic scales.

  • Understand and be equipped to apply the National Geographic Learning Framework, which is built around attitudes, skills, and knowledge areas that encourage students to think like explorers.

  • Carry the concepts from the Phase 1 workshop through every stage of the certification program and beyond.


Chapter 1: Welcome and Introduction

Welcome to the National Geographic Educator Certification Workshop! Please use this Certification Journal to take notes and answer questions as you go along. To edit the document, click File > Download As > Microsoft Word or File > Make a Copy. You will not be asked to submit your journal at any time; it is for your personal use.


Chapter 2: National Geographic’s Education Mission

In Chapter 2, you’ll learn about National Geographic’s educational mission. At the end of this chapter, you’ll be asked to create your own teaching mission. After watching this video, please answer question #1 in the Certification Journal.


Chapter 3: Benefits of National Geographic Educator Certification

In Chapter 3, you’ll hear more about the benefits of the National Geographic Educator Certification Program, including how you can continue working with National Geographic after you complete it.


Chapter 4: Teaching About the Human and Natural Worlds

In Chapter 4, you’ll take a deep dive into how National Geographic researches and educates the public on the human world, the natural world, and the interactions between the two.


Chapter 5: Inspiring Students with Explorer Stories

Telling the stories of National Geographic Explorers is a great way to teach students about the interactions between the human and natural world. In Chapter 5, you’ll learn how several National Geographic Certified Educators incorporated these stories into their teaching.


Chapter 6: Teaching Across Perspectives and Scales

Students—and people of all ages—can better understand how the world works by considering multiple disciplinary perspectives at different geographic scales. In Chapter 6, you’ll learn how National Geographic furthers understanding of the world through these lenses.


Chapter 7: Teaching Examples from Nat Geo Certified Educators

In Chapter 7, you’ll see examples from the classrooms of National Geographic Certified Educators, who teach their students about the world by focusing on human/natural world interactions, multiple disciplinary perspectives, and/or multiple geographic scales. After watching this video, please answer question #2 in the Certification Journal.


Chapter 8: The National Geographic Learning Framework

What are the attitudes and skills students must develop to understand the world and how it works—ultimately making a positive impact on it? In Chapter 8, you’ll learn about the National Geographic Learning Framework, which aims to answer that question. The framework is built around a set of learning outcomes that describe what it means to be an explorer—what we call the “explorer mindset.” After watching this video, please answer question #3 in the Certification Journal.


Chapter 9: Completing the Program with Phases 2 and 3

In Chapter 9, you’ll hear about the next steps required to complete this certification program. They include applying the Learning Framework to implement activities with your students and completing a multimedia reflection form. You can use your Certification Journal to plan your work.


Chapter 10: What Makes a Great Capstone?

The final phase of this program involves creating a capstone video that tells the story of your students’ learning in a visual and creative way. In Chapter 10, you’ll see example capstones from Nat Geo Certified Educators and learn what makes these projects successful. You can use your Certification Journal to plan your work.


Chapter 11: Join the Nat Geo Educator Community

As part of the Nat Geo Educator Certification Program, you are required to join and participate in the Nat Geo Educator Community. In Chapter 11, we talk about the benefits you’ll receive from collaborating with like-minded educators, National Geographic staff, and Explorers in this space.


Bonus Video: What Happens When Explorers and Educators Connect?

In this video, you’ll see examples of the powerful learning that has occurred when Nat Geo Certified Educators have teamed up with National Geographic Explorers.


Chapter 12: Congratulations and Next Steps

In Chapter 12, you’ll have any lingering loose ends tied and find yourself ready to begin Phase 2.


Chapter 13: Celebrating Your Impact

In Chapter 13, we pause to recognize the profound impact you are having by teaching students about the world and how it works, empowering them to succeed and to make it a better place.


Next Steps

Before moving to Phase 2, please complete the Reflection Quiz

Take Quiz

Then you are free to move on to Phase 2

Phase 2

If you haven't yet, join the Nat Geo Educator Community

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Upcoming Live Workshops

RU World Ready? Global Education Conference, August 18, 2018 in Radford, Virginia

National Council for Social Studies Annual Conference, November 27, 2018 in Chicago, Illinois