Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Map Kibera project


The MAP KIBERA project page outlines the details of an intriguing project.

Kibera in Nairobi, Kenya, widely known as Africa's largest slum, remains a blank spot on the map. Without basic knowledge of the geography and resources of Kibera it is impossible to have an informed discussion on how to improve the lives of residents. This November, young Kiberans create the first public digital map of their own community.

Some great images in the Flickr group too for those teaching about this location....

April Fools Geographies...

You only get one chance a year to do a spot of April Fools' geography...
I tried to get a few in, and encourage students to spot the deceptions. The skill was in using plausible stories which sounded fake, but were in fact true...

The classic is the Panorama spaghetti harvest....
I liked the Google Street View unblurring button blog post that I read.

How many April Fool's geographies did you get away with ?
(Please note that all the posts on this blog are real...)

Touchatag - RFID in the geography classroom



This is one of those "let's have a go at this..." moments.
It's a 'development' of some of the excellent QR code work that Noel Jenkins has done. I read this week that some graffiti artists are now using QR codes to 'tag' their work...

The idea of tagging is spreading (apparently there is no # tag on an Apple keyboard, although hashtags are now becoming very common...)

It's obviously important to tag resources so that people can find them, photos are tagged on Flickr so they can be searched, and an extension of that is geotagging, which is now built in to some digital cameras, and is added to photos taken with my iPhone for example.

So TOUCHATAG was introduced to me by John Davitt via some tweets and details from a conference that I followed remotely. John is also planning an event called Learning on the Beach #lob10 in Ireland which I would have attended as 'this year's Islay 2020' style CPD, but instead I will be at Glastonbury with the Geography Collective.

Touchatag uses RFID tags: these are Radio Frequency Identification tags (more later)

I bought a tag reader, and a starter pack of 10 tags from the Touchatag shop.

The phrase that drew me in was the chance to create an "internet of things"....

The tags can be linked to actions or resources, and it's this aspect that I will be exploring further...

Image Alan Parkinson

The reader and software are now installed, so the next thing is to come up with some activities.

A TOUR is available to introduce the idea of what can be done.

For example, a cube with a series of tags could be created and by placing the appropriate side of the cube on the reader, an action is triggered, which could be related to e-mails, music, videos, Twitter or some other application - the tag could be hidden inside an object or stuck to it e.g. the bottom of a coffee mug, or a DVD case. The objects could be related to the lesson activity that is planned, or provide instructions or guidance for students, or perhaps bring up clues as to the nature of the activity that has been planned... This is the next stage...

Just considering what stories I can attach to objects, and how I can use that for geographical learning....
From what you've read on this post - does anyone have any thoughts on how it could be used ?
Would be interested in developing some collaborative resources on the use of these tags, and will share some of the outcomes later in the year at a few planned sessions....

Also been looking at the existing uses of RFID tags, and there are quite a few 'geographical' contexts that could be used with students to introduce the idea of what they are, and let the students create the ideas in the classroom...
  • Tags in the ears of farm animals, such as cows, so productivity can be mapped as the animal comes in for milking, and each animal can be identified... - could be mentioned when looking at agriculture or food production - also useful for tracking spread of infections
  • Tags inside library books, so they can be scanned rather than physically stamping library cards and books etc. These systems may well be in lots of school resource centres / libraries
  • They can be placed in vehicles so that they can be tracked for congestion charging purposes or road tolls
  • My Barclaycard is able to use contactless technology to pay for things, not that I've ever had the opportunity yet...
  • My Oyster Card does something similar, and these are used by thousands of London travellers every hour...
  • Some schools are tagging pupils: RFID can be placed in uniforms or school bags and used to track attendance, or students leaving the school site during the school day
A useful document hosted on SCRIBD gives a summary of the technology:

RFID Technology

Not everyone is happy about their use. There are campaigns against their use to track activities and movements of people.

A lengthy post, but an idea I shall return to...

Mission Explore: in print !


Dan Ellison finally 'twitpiced' these images today, about two years on after the original phone conversation that was to become Mission:Explore.
Looking forward to the Geography Collective stand at the GA Conference...

New National Park

The South Downs is officially designated as a National Park today...

Check out the LEARNING ZONE with Nibbles the Sheep....

A useful section on PROTECTING THE LANDSCAPE.

Aylesbury and ESRI

Over to Aylesbury yesterday to Millennium House for the first meeting in connection with the new strategic partnership between ESRI (UK) and the Geographical Association. ESRI (UK) are also the first GA corporate member.

This has been quite a long time in the planning, and was announced over the weekend, but there will be more on this to come at the GA Conference next week.

GIS is now part of all key stages, and is specifically mentioned in the KS3 Programme of Study.

From the press release:

This new partnership brings together ESRI (UK)’s expertise in GIS (Geographical Information Systems) and the GA’s understanding of the learning and teaching of geography.
With GIS now a compulsory part of the national curriculum, the organisations will combine forces to help teachers respond to the curriculum changes and introduce GIS into geography lessons.
The signing of this first partnership agreement is a new departure for the GA. With funding in place for the next three years the GA can plan ahead, working with ESRI (UK) to introduce the power of GIS technology to schools as part of its mission of furthering the study, learning and teaching of geography. Last summer ESRI (UK) responded to the curriculum changes, launching its GIS for Schools Programme which offers GIS software specially designed for schools and a wealth of resources. In an online resource centre teachers can watch video tutorials and download step by step lesson plans on topics ranging from tracking hurricanes to the spread of swine flu.
“We are delighted and honoured to be working with the GA in this ground-breaking partnership,” said Dr Richard Waite, Managing Director, ESRI (UK). “We believe passionately that GIS brings a new dimension to the teaching of geography, giving students both a deeper understanding of their subject and skills they can take into the workplace. More than 120 schools have now signed up to our GIS for Schools Programme.
Working with the GA and its members we can build on this success over the next three years, encouraging more schools to use GIS and creating a community of teachers who will share their knowledge of GIS, their enthusiasm and their resources.”

As part of the partnership, I will be spending some time working on resources, training and the GIS for Schools Programme. This already contains a growing range of resources.

There are 2 key packages from ESRI.
Digital Worlds (was HIGHLY COMMENDED in the GA awards 2009)
ArcView 9.3 (industry compatible GIS which has tremendous potential...)

There is also the MY GIS support area for teachers....



As part of the day, John Lyon and I were shown the ENTERPRISE LAB. This is a purpose-built room at ESRI UK HQ, which has the ability to be used in a variety of scenarios.

Digital Worlds costs £250+VAT per year, which gives access to the full range of teaching and learning materials as well as training materials, such as a series of podcasts which work through the key skills that are needed to make the most of the software. The key element of this, as with ArcView is the access to a huge range of DATA.

ArcView costs £350+VAT per year, which gives access to further materials

At the GA Conference next week, Dr. Richard Waite of ESRI (UK) will deliver the Public Lecture on Thursday the 8th of April.
Dr Waite will explore what GIS means for teachers and students, explaining why GI skills are becoming increasingly important in the workplace, how GIS can enhance the teaching of a broad range of subjects, and how geography teachers can lead the way.

Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Atlantic Rising hits Brazil

The Atlantic Rising team have crossed the Atlantic and are currently in Brazil.

Also the "message in a bottle" has been found...

There's also an excellent PHOTO GALLERY

Monday, 29 March 2010

Center Parcs

Image by Alan Parkinson

Just back from a short break in Elveden Forest.
We like Center Parcs...

It's also a fairly eco-friendly place to visit, with plenty of recycling, cars being kept away from the village apart from during the changeover days, and plenty of healthy exercise...
And loads of chips...

Thursday, 25 March 2010

GIS a job....

Been working on some resources for the TDA on Geography and CAREERS. They will shortly go live on the GA website, and are looking pretty cool - many thanks to Anne Greaves for translating my scribbles into a coherent resource...
Been exploring some additional avenues, particularly the role of GIS, and the various pathways that are open to young people when it comes to future careers and the role that technology will play....
Came across this resource....

It's The Ruddy Future from Stephen Levin on Vimeo.

Wednesday, 24 March 2010

1Goal

1Goal

The goal is EDUCATION FOR ALL

Teach the lesson on April 20th 2010

One of the ideas in my World Cup list of lesson ideas, this one suggested by Dan Raven Ellison....

Geo-Caching

"using multi-million dollar satellites to find tupperware in the woods"

A nice definition via Twitter tonight...

World Cup 2010

The (football) World Cup starts in June 2010 in South Africa.
I have spent some time today putting together a range of activities for teachers to use in the run up to the competition, and tried to suggest some opportunities for geographical enquiries and creative writing....
If anyone has ideas for developing WORLD CUP ideas, you could get in touch and I will add them to the list...
Trouble is that once I started I wanted to keep going...
So far have ideas for all sorts of activities including Street View, Twitter, World Cup Enquiries, Recycled football shirts etc...


Tuesday, 23 March 2010

The Story of Bottled Water

The Story of Bottled Water is a new resource from the team that brought you the classic "Story of Stuff"...
Now available as a movie and additional resources.

The Man who cycled the Americas

Mark Beaumont's new 3 part documentary series starts tonight on BBC and is on iPlayer if you missed it....
It covers his extraordinary journey from Anchorage to Tierra del Fuego, taking in successful ascents of Denali and Aconcagua, and taking him down the mountain spine of the Americas, in a journey which took 9 months....
Mark is also on a speaking tour of the UK. Details have previously been blogged about....
He will be in King's Lynn on Friday night, unfortunately, I won't be able to make it...

Dying for a biscuit...

Dying for a Biscuit was broadcast on the BBC Panorama strand earlier in March
It is available on BBC iPlayer for the next 11 months, and the page also includes a range of supporting links and resources which would allow teachers to explore the connection between palm oil and orang utans...
Useful for those who are looking at FOOD as a context, and also the idea of INTERDEPENDENCE.

Also Panorama on the use of child labour to harvest cocoa for chocolate bars. The Bitter Truth.

What are your views on using programmes like this with students ? What additional support is needed when using them as a teaching resource ?

Seek n Spell

Seek 'n' Spell is an interesting looking iPhone app

Seek ’n Spell combines real spaces with virtual letters to create a competitive word game for you and your friends. The object is to gather letter tiles and create words to score the most points.

To play, gather with your friends in an outdoor space (like a park). You all need an iPhone 3G with Seek ’n Spell. It’s best to pick a space with a good signal and a good view of the sky. We suggest you turn off Wifi in iPhone settings.

Use the map to find letters. Move quickly to beat other players to the letters you need, or take your time and plot your next move for the best word score.

Any reviews from anyone who has the app and has used it ?

No Tech Day

NoTechDay-Practical action badge
This Saturday, the 27th of March is "NO TECH DAY"...
Try to get through the day without using your mobile, laptop, music player or games console...

The event has been co-ordinated by PRACTICAL ACTION, who have a range of useful resources and information on their website.

Oh, and don't forget to turn out the lights out for EARTH HOUR at 8.30pm as well....

GA joins with ESRI (UK)

Geographical Association and ESRI (UK) announce sponsorship agreement
Leading organisations join forces to help schools introduce GIS into lessons


23 March 2010 - The Geographical Association (GA), the geography subject association, and ESRI (UK), the UK’s leading GIS software provider, today announce that ESRI (UK) has become the GA’s first corporate member and strategic partner. This new partnership brings together ESRI (UK)’s expertise in GIS (Geographical Information Systems) and the GA’s understanding of the learning and teaching of geography. With GIS now a compulsory part of the national curriculum, the organisations will combine forces to help teachers respond to the curriculum changes and introduce GIS into geography lessons.

The signing of this first partnership agreement is a new departure for the GA. With funding in place for the next three years the GA can plan ahead, working with ESRI (UK) to introduce the power of GIS technology to schools as part of its mission of furthering the study, learning and teaching of geography.

Last summer ESRI (UK) responded to the curriculum changes, launching its GIS for Schools Programme which offers GIS software specially designed for schools and a wealth of resources. In an online resource centre teachers can watch video tutorials and download step by step lesson plans on topics ranging from tracking hurricanes to the spread of swine flu.

“We are delighted and honoured to be working with the GA in this groundbreaking partnership,” said Dr Richard Waite, Managing Director, ESRI (UK). “We believe passionately that GIS brings a new dimension to the teaching of geography, giving students both a deeper understanding of their subject and skills they can take into the workplace. More than 120 schools have now signed up to our GIS for Schools Programme. Working with the GA and its members we can build on this success over the next three years, encouraging more schools to use GIS and creating a community of teachers who will share their knowledge of GIS, their enthusiasm and their resources.”

Professor David Lambert, Chief Executive of the GA, commented:

“The GA looks forward to embarking on this strategic partnership with such a significant and influential company as ESRI (UK). With 6000 members we reach into most secondary schools in England - and a good many primary schools - with support and guidance for teachers of geography.
Driven by our charitable mission, to further geographical knowledge and understanding through education, we are passionate about the role of geography in schools and its engagement of young people to become informed and capable citizens. GIS can add enormous value to geography lessons and we are keen to encourage teachers to integrate it appropriately into their creative ‘curriculum making’. ”

The first milestone of this partnership will be the GA’s Annual Conference at the University of Derby, 8 - 10 April. In the public lecture preceding the conference Dr Waite will explore what GIS means for teachers and students, explaining why GI skills are becoming increasingly important in the workplace, how GIS can enhance the teaching of a broad range of subjects, and how geography teachers can lead the way.

ESRI (UK) is the leading provider of GIS software and services in the UK and part of the global ESRI network. As geographic information is at the heart of most organisations, GIS has an increasingly important role to play in helping businesses become more profitable and public services more efficient. ESRI (UK) supplies a wide range of customers in many different markets, including business, local and central government, defence, the emergency services, utilities (water, electricity and gas) and telecommunications.
The potential of GIS as an educational tool has recently been recognised, and GIS is now part of the national curriculum. ESRI (UK) has worked with teachers for many years, but in 2009 responded to the curriculum changes by launching its GIS for Schools Programme. This offers everything teachers need to integrate GIS into lessons: GIS software specially tailored for schools, maps and data, and both classroom and self-learning materials.
For more information about ESRI (UK)’s GIS for Schools Programme, please visit www.esriuk.com/schools

About the Geographical Association
The GA is the subject association for geography in schools nationally. Long established and with healthy finances, the Association has a strong and enduring presence in primary and secondary education. Supported by over 6000 members, the Association produces a magazine for teachers, three professional journals, an extensive and well used website, a face-to-face and online CPD programme and a wide range of professional publications.
We work well with government departments, statutory bodies and others in mainstream teacher support. We also have a range of partners with whom we undertake more leading edge kind of project work. In addition to ‘support and guidance’ the GA occupies a subject leadership role taking its cue from the 2009 manifesto A Different View, which asks teachers to commit to geography as a subject specialism not as an end in itself, but as a dynamic medium for education.

From its early origins, the GA has been committed to geography in education using the contemporary technology of the age.
In 1893, this was the lantern slide. Today it includes GIS.



I will be quite heavily involved in this partnership, so there are some exciting times ahead, and you can follow it here on Living Geography of course...

Sunday, 21 March 2010

Earth Day

Healthy Planet and Earth Day

Earth Day is taking place on April the 22nd.

For some lesson plans to help you get the most out of Earth Day with your students and perhaps get involved in some fund-raising, visit the HEALTHY PLANET website.

You can come and meet Healthy Planet at the Geographical Association's Annual Conference

More posts to come as we prepare for the conference....

Dig In

I'm off to DEFRA tomorrow for a meeting related to FOOD and its place in the curriculum.

The DIG IN resource is part of the BBC website. Aims to encourage people to grow their own vegetables.

Register and you can receive packets of seeds to grow some of your own food, and also further updates, and the chance to watch short videos showing what to do with your seeds.

Volcanic eruption in S. Iceland

As seen on my iPhone Guardian app....

A volcanic peak near to a glacier has become active in Southern Iceland...

The Eyjafjallajokull glacier, the fifth largest in Iceland is the location....

Thanks to Val Vannet for passing on this account by Ian Hardie, who works for Rayburn Tours, and has a house in southern Iceland in the affected area, and who I hope to meet up with again at the GA Conference in a couple of weeks time...

Blimey, this is for real. I was walking on the lower flanks of the volcano yesterday afternoon, hours before it started. I had gone to bed at about 23.00 or so; I had taken a walk on my deck to view the stars and moon just before and there was, a hint of something, unknown at the time. I was then deep asleep and I awoke just after midnight; I thought this odd as I usually sleep like a log! It was windy so I put it down to that. Then my phone went off; very strange indeed - it also seemed to "play its tune" at twice the normal speed. "Ian, have you heard; evacuate now, the volcano has blown; be very quick". It then became rather unreal; what do you pack in such a situation, am I ever to be back; just how quickly should I leave ? I dashed around the house, gathered wallet, phones, chargers, laptops and the like and my passport and various important bits of documentation. I remembered to dress too; what to wear, what to take; just what was the end game of this to be....

As I looked east, there it was, a rich red/orange glow, emanating from the mountains and above it hovered a red cloud reflecting this. It was way up the valley, in the area of Thorsmork. The valley was alive with lights; people were evacuating very quickly. Would it be an ash fall? Lava bombs? A lava flow?
I had more calls …….come on, are you OK, get out. I then drove to Hvolsvollur, to the school to register. All was bright, warm and calm there; everyone was anxious but all was quiet.
Seemingly everyone is now accounted for and evacuated (400 - 500 persons); it is very strange to think of this. A road block was set up to stop sightseers coming in to the valley. However, as I drove to Selfoss to get a bed in a friend’s house, the number of cars driving east, towards the volcano was incredible; I have hardly
seen as many cars on a July afternoon. Most cars seemed to be saloon cars so I am guessing that many youths, out on a Saturday night, heard about the eruption and set out to see it. Fortunately, as I drove in to Selfoss, another police road block was being established to stop this.


I am now homeless, a refugee; this is very odd. My wee hus! Now it is big news of course; everyone is waiting to see what the authorities say. The Press conference at 11.00 gave no real update, only that the situation is being watched and nature is in control. Farmers are being allowed in just to feed animals and then come back out again; this is a real live volcanic emergency and, actually, it's not fun at all, it is quite something to think that here is an other episode of
Iceland´s formation going on as I type. But when people, property, livestock, livelihoods are at risk, I am afraid that the whole event is somewhat surreal; just what is going to happen. Mind you, if all this dies down, guess where I´ll be hiking this summer - you bet!


There is a thread on the SLN FORUM with plenty of links to multimedia resources relating to the eruption, such as this good TELEGRAPH set of images.

Plastiki launched....



Back in April 2009, I first blogged about the PLASTIKI.
This is a project which involves the construction of a boat made from plastic bottles, which is going to sail across the Pacific and visit several locations to highlight the growing threats facing the oceans.

The boat has finally set sail and the voyage is underway....

The project is being headed by David de Rothschild
Follow the TWITTER STREAM(s) to keep up with the voyage: @Plastiki and @DRexplore

There's also a voyage tracking widget that can be used...

See later post on THE STORY OF BOTTLED WATER too, which launched yesterday....

Geography Review

Geography Review is now in its 23rd volume. Got most of the first 20...

The latest issue looks like being just as useful as always, starting with an article by Simon Oakes on the rebranding of the Isle of Arran.

Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Very flat, Norfolk...

Thanks to those who came along to my lecture last night at Easton College, near Norwich.
It was my Presidential lecture for the GA Norfolk branch, and a joint event with the Royal Geographical Society and thanks once again to the Stannards for their hospitality and organisation.
The presentation I used is below, although you won't get the full story of course without the 50 minutes of me talking over it...

There were some interesting comments after the lecture with respect to the (inevitably) partial nature of the presentation: some areas of Norfolk were not featured to the degree that others would have expected, and perhaps reflects my own knowledge and experiences of the county.
There was little mention of Broadland, and nothing on Breckland, although I passed through both within the last fortnight.
Also some discussion on the political importance of place, and some of the potential future changes in Norfolk's landscape...

Thanks to all those who contributed to the lecture, particularly those who told me their "5 words that they thought of..." the results of that can be seen within the presentation....

Monday, 15 March 2010

New Web 2.0

A new free e-book by Terry Freedman is now available.
A few years back, Terry put together a resource called COMING OF AGE, which gathered together a lot of the main new web tools for teachers.

The new book contains the latest ideas for using what has been called WEB 2.0 tools

Free PDF download

Sunday, 14 March 2010

www. FAVELAS

An interesting BBC NEWS article which looks at the way that internet access is changing the lives of people in the favelas of cities in Brazil.

Good for A2 Edexcel...

Rub a dub dub...

Climate change ads have been in the news again, with some problems with one of them,
according to this DAILY MAIL article...

GA Conference Hashtag #gaconf10

Image copyright Bryan Ledgard

In just over 3 weeks time, I will be making my way to the University of Derby for the first day of the Geographical Association Conference.
This will be my 7th conference in a row, which I know is a lot less than many of the delegates who will be there.

Spent a while today sorting my schedule for the 3 days of events, and like many people there it is going to be a fairly hectic time.

The theme for 2010 is 'Geography: The Big Picture' and will focus on:
  • How changes in the primary curriculum following the Rose and Alexander Reviews will affect the broad picture of geographical education
  • How geography is perceived through images by the wider public
  • Creative use of images and maps
  • How geographical research can contribute to key global issues and debates
For those who are tweeting and blogging about the conference, and want a tag which will help them identify and search for content before, during and after the event, the hashtag for the conference will be #gaconf10 - please use this tag when discussing the event, and if you are tweeting from the event...

Some of the events I am going to be involved in are listed down the right hand column of the blog, in the section "Where will Mister P be...."

UPDATE - Due to the recent closure of Masala Art Restaurant, Friday night's Indian Buffet will now take place at the Stuart Hotel on London Road. If you have any queries, please contact Lucy Oxley (0114 296 0088).

Don't forget that resources from the sessions will appear on the GA website shortly after the conference is over.

Before powerpoint....



Images by Alan Parkinson

There was the filmstrip.
While sorting out two decades of detritus in the loft this weekend I came across a wooden box full of treasure...
The treasure was in the form of a selection of film strips...

They are mostly published by Common Ground.
Some were in metal tins (vintage, dating back to the 1950s) and others were in plastic pots (and in colour rather than grainy black and white....)
I remember them being used when I was at school - also vaguely remember the tape that came with some of them with the little beep to tell the teacher when to wind on the film... also remember them smoking while they were doing it put perhaps that never happened....

Any other filmstrip memories ?

Friday, 12 March 2010

21st Century (Geography) teacher...

BECTa produced a useful resource in January 2010. It's available as a PDF download.
It contains a range of useful guidance relating to the effective use of ICT in the classroom to aid teaching and learning...

21st Century TEACHER - download from here...

Watch out for some more subject specific guidance coming soon....

This book is not dangerous....


... but might be useful for those teachers who are preparing to teach about / with FUNCTIONAL SKILLS.... (i.e. all teachers...)

This 24 page booklet is available as a PDF DOWNLOAD from the National Strategies website. It should also be arriving into all schools.

It contains a range of subject-specific (and generic) information on Functional Skills, as well as 3 developed contexts for geography lesson sequences which are as follows:

a) KS3 - Representing landscapes in literature...

b) KS3 - Investigating social inequality

c) KS4 - Consumer choice and natural resources

Oh, did I mention that I wrote it ?

I am grateful to Richard Allaway for pointing out the imminent arrival of a very useful resource to supplement to the bottled water context in the booklet...



Any feedback on the lesson contexts gratefully received - they were severely edited from the original 'vision'...

UPDATE: WEBSITE NOW LIVE
STORY OF BOTTLED WATER

This book is dangerous....

Mission Explore is written by the Geography Collective, of which I am proud to be a member.

IT'S TIME TO EXPLORE 102 missions that challenge you to (re)discover our world. Become a guerilla explorer and extreme missioner with missions that defy gravity, see the invisible and test your mental agility. Each illustrated mission will challenge you in daring new ways. Draw, rub, smear, write, scrape and print your findings and achievements as you complete each mission. LOOK INSIDE...if you dare!

You can now see a preview E-BOOK which gives you a view of the early pages of the book, which should be available in April, when you can also come along and meet us at the Geographical Association conference at the University of Derby.

Mission Explore is published by Can of Worms Press

Click below to get a flavour of the book...

Myebook - Mission Explore - click here to open my ebook

Although it's designed for younger students, it has wider geographical relevance....
Should be available in a couple of weeks, in time for our stand at the GEOGRAPHICAL ASSOCIATION conference...

"Should be compulsory reading for all university geography students" - Professor Danny Dorling


Is Parkinson a British name ?

How British or otherwise is your name ?

The ONOMAP suggests the nationality that is most associated with your Forename and Surname...
A useful companion to the SURNAME and LONDON PROFILER websites...

Researchers in Residence

An opportunity for teachers to work with researchers in their schools.
The importance of teachers taking notice of appropriate and relevant academic research is obvious.


Let me know if you get involved and how it goes...
Funded by the Wellcome Trust

u-Xplore

One of the presentations at the Sheffield event earlier in the week was based on the idea of CAREERS which involved Geography...

U-XPLORE is a website which apparently contains an excellent video on SUSTAINABLE CAREERS which was shown at the Yorkshire and Humberside sustainable schools event.

Scottish Literacy Presentation

An excellent presentation by Bill Boyd that he used earlier this week (via Twitter)

It's a SLIDECAST so you can listen as well as watch. I like the section on the various texts that society finds useful...

Thursday, 11 March 2010

Excellent graphic maps

Some wonderful maps drawn by illustrator Christoph Niemann, who provides illustrations for the New York Times and a range of other journals are available HERE.

I particularly like the island below, which would fit well with those in the ATLAS OF EXPERIENCE and fit very well with the idea of LIVING GEOGRAPHY.

Image copyright Christoph Niemann (let me know if you want the image removed and a link added instead)

New Gapminder Site

A new Gapminder update
There are some new features which are either already there, or will be arriving shortly...

An area where the DATA that goes into making the visualisations can be downloaded

A new TEACHERS area which has other resources...

Wednesday, 10 March 2010

Street View UK

Images copyright Google

Google Street View has gone national
A huge update of Google's photography means that over 90% of the UK is now covered by the high resolution, 360 degree imagery along most roads in the UK
One of the first things that people would do perhaps would be to look at their own house, and the houses where they used to live....

Just done that myself, and you can see the house where I lived between 1977 and 1988 (ish) above, tho' it didn't look like that at the time...

There was a useful post on Simon Haughton's blog which suggested some geographical ideas for how the newly expanded Street View could be used in the classroom. Here are some (more):

1. Previewing a journey that is going to be made / risk assessments for fieldwork
2. Carrying out VIRTUAL FIELDWORK in an unfamiliar area
3. Investigate change over time in a local area
4. Clone Town / Land use surveys
5. Remodelling the models: transects from town centre outwards to test their validity
6. Comparing distant locations (Primary)
7. Taking a trip to the seaside
8. Play the "When were the images taken" game: look at clues in the state of buildings, traffic and people in the area, to see whether you can work out the time of year, or time of day, or day of the week when the cars must have taken the images...
My street was photographed in Summer, on a week-day judging by the images, but further towards the centre of the village the images turn to autumn...
9. Do a N, S, E and W, or 5 minutes in each direction from home etc.
10. Most URBAN fieldwork could be done in a slightly adapted way using the images, perhaps supported with some Flip video filming / audio files ? (remember that this is NOT A SUBSTITUTE FOR REAL FIELDWORK which MUST continue....)

I have been updating a presentation I used last year, when Street View was limited to just a few major cities, which provided ideas for geography teachers on how they might use Street View in the classroom. Will share that here when it is complete....

Predictably, there has been a little kerfuffle in the Daily Mail...
Read the article and comments for a variety of views on the role of this sort of technology...

And just to show another feature: the maps can be embedded into blogs...

Drag the YELLOW PEGMAN onto the map in the appropriate place, and the Street View images will appear....


View Larger Map

Can also be viewed on my iPhone, which is remarkable really... The UK in your pocket....

Suffolk Humanities Conference

Went "off piste" today with a session for primary colleagues

My thanks to Paula Owens and Wendy North for their generosity with the resources that I used...

Any delegates who would like a copy are invited to e-mail me and I will forward them to you....
Thanks to the delegates for their contributions to what I hope was a useful hour

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Building a better teacher

Building a better teacher

Another Twitter tip-off....

Some excellent images here, and an article which is well worth reading in the New York Times

Teaching internships with the Royal Meteorological Society

At the beginning of 2009 the Society launched their Teaching Fellow Scheme. For 2010 this has been renamed as the Teaching Internship scheme and the invitation for applications is now open. A promotional flyer can be downloaded from HERE.

The Royal Meteorological Society is looking to appoint 2 Teacher Fellows to work with the Society in the summer of 2010 to develop teaching resources in weather and climate and to enhance the provision of material on their new educational website www.metlink.org

What is it?
The key tasks of the Fellows over the summer period would be to:

- Identify which of the ideas (from the list attached) best suits their interests and produce resources which are linked to this area of the curriculum specifically. These resources are usually teaching notes and explanations with at least two lessons worth of material. It is envisaged 4 days would be needed to produce these resources.

- Spend a day with a relevant subject specialist, identified by the Society to enhance the production of these materials

The benefits
Fellows will be awarded £500, 6 months membership of the Society + expenses. All materials developed will be made freely available via the Royal Meteorological Society educational website MetLink www.metlink.org

How do you apply?
For more information please see the attachment with ideas for resources and the homepage of the MetLink website. Interested teachers with at least one year’s classroom experience should send their application to Rachael Fordham at education@rmets.org by the end of April 2010. This should include:

- a chosen topic area, with clear curriculum links, that they would like to focus on, demonstrating awareness of what resources already exist in the area (if any)

- a brief CV including details of qualifications, experience and current position

Any questions please let me know,

Thanks and kind regards

Rachael Fordham

Head of Education

Royal Meteorological Society

Tel. +44 (0)118 956 8500

Fax. +44 (0)118 956 8571

Sustainable Sheffield

Two events in Sheffield today...
Woke early and breakfast at my favourite Travelodge, then through Attercliffe to the Sheffield Megacentre for the Yorkshire and Humberside Sustainable Schools event. An introduction to the fieldtrip that we took, involving the Sheffield Supertram, is included below for a limited time, for the benefit of the delegates, particularly those who joined us.
Also went in to participate in a short section of the Quality Geography Conference at the Showroom Cinema, and also have a chip butty in the Hubs...

View more presentations or Upload your own.

Good keynote from David Gardner of QCDA too.

Thanks to Leszek Iwaskow for his involvement earlier too.

Monday, 8 March 2010

To Hull and back....

To HULL and BACK...

View more presentations or Upload your own.
The presentation prepared for colleagues from the University of Hull Geography PGCE course.

One website which had a good response was the GRACENOTE map.

We used it to track the inexorable global progress of LADY GAGA....

Thanks also to the Twitter colleagues who answered my #24yearsago request...

I had a great afternoon... Thanks to Justin for inviting me...

Friday, 5 March 2010

Drawn to art and reverting to type

Found 2 things on my desk when I arrived at the GA today.
The first was a bottle of Ardbeg Rollercoaster, which I am going to save for a special occasion to open. I have one in mind...

The second was a book by Bryan Ledgard, who does the graphics for all the GA's publications, including my Toolkit book.
Enjoyed reading the book, which is called "Drawn to art and reverting to type"
Available to order from HERE.

Thursday, 4 March 2010

What's not there....

Thanks to Simon Jones via Twitter for the lead to this great storytelling resource...
How to Draw What's Not There

Lincoln follow-up

A few other weblinks worth following up after the Lincoln event I blogged about last week...

Met up again with Rohini, who I first met at a Humanities Diploma consultation last year, and also a DECSY colleague, who showed me a resource which explores SEAL and its connections to the Global Dimension gateway and curriculum dimension...



Street View on iPhone

Earlier today I was prompted to take a look at Street View on the iPhone which I hadn't explored before. It was part of preparations for an urban excursion in Sheffield.

From next week, Google Street View will be going (almost) nationwide, so everyone can use this resource in their own towns...

Do you know your flood risk ?

An organisation I follow on TWITTER is KNOW YOUR FLOOD RISK

Know Your Flood Risk is a campaign with a mission to help raise awareness of the issue of flood and encourage practical guidance and support to help protect homeowners and property professionals against the risks.

Why join the campaign?
By signing up to the campaign you will join a community of organisations whose goal is to raise awareness of flood information and the potential risks. As a collective voice, Know Your Flood Risk and its members aim to raise the profile of flooding and ensure consumers are not only aware of the risks they face, but also how to mitigate them.

Know Your Flood Risk is supported by the National Flood Forum, the flood charity who provide support and advice to communities and individuals that have been flooded or are at risk of flooding.

The TACO

Image by Flickr user gwen under Creative Commons license

An excellent resource looking at THE TACO
Perfect for connecting with the GEOGRAPHY OF FOOD unit that I have been so involved with for the last few months....
It looks at the geographical connections involved in the production of this foodstuff, which is not as common in the UK as it is in the Americas...

Another good resource is the map from Weathersealed which shows a "map" of fastfood burgers. Some great data visualisations out there now....

Hoping that a larger version of the graphics will appear soon....

Mapyx Quo

This is free mapping software, which comes with a range of sample maps, and the option to buy Ordnance Survey mapping tiles at cheap prices.

Works very well, and connects well with Google Earth....

Why not download it and give it a go. Compares well with other online mapping tools....

Wednesday, 3 March 2010

Christian Partners in Africa

Had a really useful day in Lincoln today at a Sustainable Schools event at the EPIC Centre at the Lincoln Showground. Our neighbours in the busy and colourful GLOBAL DIMENSION area were a stand supporting Christian Partners in Africa

I bought a really nice necklace for my daughter made by Caring Hands

The necklaces are made in Uganda from recycling paper.....

Tuesday, 2 March 2010

Very flat, Norfolk



Just under 2 weeks to my GA Norfolk branch lecture on Norfolk and the concept of "place".
I will be using an article from 'Geography' magazine written by Tim Cresswell to add some gravitas to proceedings...
Looking forward to it...

Young Geographers go Local

A new online CPD unit has been added to the Geographical Association website.

Check it out for some great ideas on helping PRIMARY pupils explore and create geographies of the local area...

Code of Everand... vs. Green Cross Man

CODE OF EVERAND is a new online game, which looks like a typical adventure game, but is designed to teach about ROAD SAFETY....



Of course, David Prowse could have them...



and maybe even Tufty the Squirrel...

Icons of England


A new book which is coming out in a month or so...

This is a hymn to what makes England, especially the English countryside, so special, in a collection of passionate, eclectic and thought-provoking pieces. First published as a lavish colour coffeetable book, this new expanded paperback edition includes many new contributions, and features Bill Bryson on seaside piers, Michael Palin on crags, Eric Clapton on Newlands Corner, Bryan Ferry on Penshaw Monument, Sebastian Faulks on pub signs, Kate Adie on deer parks, Kevin Spacey on canal boats, Gavin Pretor-Pinney on clouds, Richard Mabey on marshland, Simon Jenkins on English country houses, John Sergeant on Great Tew, Benjamin Zephaniah on the Malvern Hills, Joan Bakewell on estuaries, Antony Beevor on the north downs in Kent, Libby Purves on Harbour Walls, Jonathan Dimbleby on the beach at West Wittering, and many more.

Sounds intriguing...