Wednesday, 26 October 2016

The Crystal Reef

Via Shailey Minocha - a 360 degree VR panorama experience...

Georges Perec - literary geographer

Thanks to Darran Anderson for posting a link to this PDF version of this book (which may not be there for ever) but has a complete great Georges Perec book with plenty on the ideas of place and space and exploration.

One Day Without Us

A few years ago, there was a day of action in the US when migrant workers made a point about the contributions they made to the country / economy. Just checked, and it was actually 10 years ago - wow, time flies...
In the UK, we can't get through the day without relying on products and services which are produced at least in part by migrant workers, and any of our public services are similarly reliant on migrants.
There are now plans to hold a day to focus on this issue in the UK.

It started out on Facebook, and is now spreading to a wider area.

The day is planned for next year, so time for this to grow, and gain more publicity and awareness for the cause. This remains an emotive and controversial issue, as the recent furore over supportive comments by Gary Lineker and others shows.

New Werner Herzog film...

A few years ago, while working for the Geographical Association, I produced some materials for a Werner Herzog film on Antarctica: Encounters at the end of the World.
There's now a film exploring volcanoes: Into the Inferno.

Out in a few days on Netflix...

Air Traffic Visualisation

Topical, with the announcement of the Heathrow expansion to come…

Route One

A year ago, I was getting ready to head to Iceland… this year, this is the closest I'll get… Some familiar places in the first few hours of this video…

Monday, 24 October 2016

Mining the past...

I'm spending today trying to finish off the workshop session I'm leading at Practical Pedagogies in just over a week's time down in Toulouse, and am revisiting a presentation that my colleague Claire and I did at the GA conference in 2015. For those who may not have seen it, it's embedded below, and shows some of the work we did that year in our department…

New GCSE Toolkit now in stock

Available from the GA Shop and written by Becky Kitchen.

Saturday, 22 October 2016

New 'Pixar' short - on Vimeo for a limited time

And awesome landscape and story as always… but bleak… via SLATE.
Made by Pixar animators.

Have you bought your copies yet?

Guess the island answer - La Reunion

For the last few weeks, we have had visitors in school, from a mystery island in the Indian Ocean. I posted the mystery image from Google Earth Pro a few days ago, and also had it on Twitter, and other social media.
The mystery location is La Reunion, and we were able to explore it using a large map, and also use our visitors as a source of information on the country.

Global Prosperity Index - out in a week or so's time...

Dollar Street

Gapminder have just launched a new version of their DOLLAR STREET tool, which enables comparisons between countries. At a time when we are moving away from the idea of developed and developing countries, it's useful to have a visual tool of the range of data to show comparisons between places.

The tool has a range of stories, and is based on over 30 000 photos, taken of over 200 families in 40 locations. Families can be ranked within the world as a whole, or smaller areas, and by indicators including toilets and teeth.
It provides an alternative visual way of showing diversity in quality of life.

See Anna Rosling Rönnlund's TED talk too


New Global Learning Course

For a period between 2007 and 2013, I ran regular courses for the Geographical Association, including the Living Geography courses, NQT Conferences, GIS courses with ESRI, New Fieldwork courses and plenty of others. In that time, I worked with hundreds of teachers, and learned a lot about my own practice.
When I returned to teaching full time in 2013, I didn't have time to do them, and stopped, and a 'new' generation of presenters has taken over including Catherine Owen, Ben Ballin, Garry Simmons and Becky Kitchen.

Now, I'm back leading an event for the GA, with a new course, which has the added advantage of being 'my old favourite price': FREE. So you can come along for an afternoon discussing technology and global learning, and networking with other colleagues, and leaving with some new ideas for you I hope.

It's being put on in Bury St. Edmunds, so it's a handy location for those in Suffolk, Cambridgeshire and S. Norfolk, and perhaps even parts of Essex.

It's on the theme of the GLOBAL LEARNING PROGRAMME, (which is funding the course) and has the context of a global village.

It also connects with an online course which I wrote last year for the GA, and is called Exploring our GLOBAL VILLAGE.

There is a connection with the golden record that NASA attached to the Voyager spaceships before they headed out to the edge of the universe. I was interested in a recent Kickstarter project to create replicas.

I hope to see some of you there...

ESRI Story Map Competition

We are in the International Year of Global Understanding.

The International Year of Global Understanding (IYGU) Story Maps Competition is a contest aimed at young people from around the world to help raise awareness of the global implications of local everyday actions. Our world faces social, cultural, and economic change, as well as a changing climate. Human actions play a key role in creating such worldwide challenges. However, human actions also provide solutions. If individuals know what their day-to-day routines mean for the planet, they can take appropriate action. Global understanding helps overcome the knowledge-action gap and supports policy decisions that promote sustainability. 

ESRI and EuroGeo are putting on a StoryMap competition for students - there are two age categories.

Competition entry guidelines for students aged 15-19
 • You may work in groups of up to two (2) persons, both being not younger than fifteen (15) and not older than nineteen (19) (age eligibility to participate in this category will be determined by Contest Applicant’s age on the closing date of the Contest, December 31, 2016).
• Your Entry must make use of one of the Esri Story Maps apps.
• Your story map should connect the local action with its global implications.
• Your story map should focus on one of the six (6) official IYGU themes:
1. Eating, drinking, surviving
2. Moving, staying, belonging
3. Working, housing, urbanizing
4. Communicating, networking, interacting
5. Wasting, recycling, preserving
6. Sports, entertaining, recreating
• Your story map should be concise.
• It should be based on maps, with accompanying multimedia (pictures, data, visualizations, video) and text in which you present your story of how you connect locally and globally.
• The story map should not only describe phenomena (what, where) but also explain them (how, why, effects).
• Your story map may focus on future perspectives of your theme.
• All “Applicants” must submit their maps via ArcGIS Online and must use data that is available for public consumption (“Open Data")

Friday, 21 October 2016

Danny Dorling on Social Inequality

Remembering Aberfan

Fifty years ago today.
A minute's silence this morning...

Two crowdfunding opportunities to support

There are numerous Kickstarter, Indiegogo and similar crowdfunding opportunities out there...
A couple that I've supported in the last week or so are outlined below.
The first is the map for the Greater London National Park, which is available in various formats. If you're an educator you can order a copy of the map for just £4, or several - you'll want more than one... These would make wonderful displays or gifts.

The second project I've supported this week is from Alex at CITEE t-shirts.
I've already got a Norwich shirt, and it's excellent - I've now ordered another one for just £20, and you can too if you're quick. There are hundreds of cities around the world to choose from, and they are comfortable and striking for the geography teacher in your life (which might be yourself). You also get to support two small businesses rather than larger companies. Alex does posters of the city maps as well...
A limited number of early bird shirts left as I post this... I got an early early bird one :)

Thursday, 20 October 2016

Mini Metro - an interesting game...

Play on Firefox or Safari

Good for transport management (ish) :)

BritIce Map

A really great resource for those teaching GLACIATION - turn layers on and off to see the details of particular features.
Thanks to Jason Sawle for the tipoff.

A Plastic Ocean

Another session on the OCR Consultative Forum (of which more later) was from Jo Luxton, who is involved in the making of the film: A Plastic Ocean. This film has taken many years to produce, and involved filming around the world to uncover the truth of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch and other gyres.

Check out the website to find out more about the film.

Jo passed round a few jars, which contained a range of plastic items, all of which had come from the stomachs of baby albatrosses.

Chris Jordan's film 'Message from Midway' came out some time ago, and introduced this idea, along with his Hokusai wave made from plastic pieces, but this was a powerful experience to actually handle the plastic items and see the range of them for real, such as the inkjet cartridge shown in the image here.
Jo asked for our ideas on how to use the movie, and encourage the use of the film to teach certain areas of the curriculum.

This is something which we cover in our unit on the Story of Stuff with Year 8.

Urban Timelapse

Via Stephen Matthews

Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Drone footage of Iceland

Another Vimeo link. Drone filming of Iceland - it's a year ago since I was getting ready to head out there... Will be blogging some of the things we did, a year on, next week.
Meanwhile, enjoy the film...

ICE & FIRE | an aerial film of Iceland from Bjarke Hvorslev on Vimeo.

North - a film about Svalbard

From the same Vimeo account as 'Union Glacier'...

North from Studiocanoe on Vimeo.

The Water Diaries

As I arrived late for the OCR Forum meeting today (of which more later), I missed out on a session by Fearghal O'Nuallain
It explored his WATER DIARIES project, which explores water's story through the story of adventure. It uses adventure to tell compelling stories about water and provide curriculum focused content.

Follow Fearghal on Twitter so that you can follow his future adventures, or check his blog.

Worth taking a look...

Here's a teaser for the Altiplano film...

Altiplano - Teaser from Studiocanoe on Vimeo.

Norilsk Story Map

An excellent piece of work on a frozen city which is worth exploring...

Monday, 17 October 2016

Year 9 Event at Leeds University

Looks like an interesting opportunity for teachers in the Leeds area.

Free event for Year 9 pupils at the University of Leeds
Discovering Geography
Thursday 15th December 2016
Wednesday 18th January 2017

Discovering Geography is a free event for year 9 students who are thinking about Geography as a GCSE choice. In the morning, they will take part in two interactive workshops, one human topic and one physical topic, which demonstrate two exciting aspects of contemporary geography. In the afternoon, our undergraduate students will take them on a campus tour and answer their questions about university.

To book places, email Pre Carbo ( for an application form.

Places are limited, so please book early to avoid disappointment. 
Refreshments will be provided in the break, but not at lunch time, so pupils must bring a packed lunch.

9:30 – 9:45
Arrival and welcome
Workshop 1: Physical/Human Geography
Workshop 2: Human/Physical Geography
Lunch (pupils bring packed lunches)
Campus tour with undergraduate ambassadors
Q and A with undergraduate ambassadors
Feedback forms

Are foreign businesses a curse or blessing in Africa? (Simon Manda)
Foreign investment can create opportunities for people in developing countries, but this is not always the case in many parts of Africa. This interactive session explores how large-scale businesses in agriculture are ‘grabbing’ lands away from small-scale farmers in Africa, compromising the farmers’ way of life.

Exploring Earthquakes with GIS (Rachel Oldroyd)
This computer-based practical session will introduce students to the ever-growing world of Geographical Information Systems (GIS). This activity has been designed to integrate GIS technology with a popular geography topic.  In this session students will have the opportunity to use free, web-based GIS software to explore and map real-time earthquake events.

Sunday, 16 October 2016

Thought for the Day

"Be careful going in search of adventure - it's ridiculously easy to find." 
William Least Heat-Moon