Friday, 30 April 2010

Fault Line Living


Looking forward to the start of this project, which has been trailed on TWITTER and FACEBOOK....

Google Earth and Mike Oldfield

Hergest Ridge was Mike Oldfield's second album, and one of my favourites.
Tubular Bells was the first album I bought, when I was about 11...

Mike Oldfield has been re-releasing his albums in various editions for a while now, and the latest Hergest Ridge release has been given a new cover, with a Google Image of Hergest Ridge on it.

Few years ago, I visited the Ridge, and it's got a special vibe about it....

Teaching about the Olympics / Paralympics 2012 ?


A FREE half day conference being organised by the Institute of Education and the Geographical Association.

(Link goes to PDF download)

Teachers who attend will:
  • receive input from subject experts and teachers involved in ‘curriculum making’
  • preview some of the resources that have been designed and trialled in classrooms
  • receive a free DVD – a new version of the GA's ‘Aiming for KS3 Gold!’ which schools received in 2008, targeted at KS3 students
  • receive free teaching materials, including a preview of ‘Planet Sport’, the GA's website which includes 2012 curriculum materials.
Programme
13.30 ‘Curriculum in the Making’ (David Lambert and Bob Digby) – a focus on curriculum making, and the potential presented by 2012.
14.00 ‘The challenge of KS3 geography in school’ – a presentation outlining issues faced by teachers in schools. Presenters will
include teachers from specialist geography departments and teachers from schools where humanities forms the framework for
KS3 geography. They will discuss issues they have faced, and how they used 2012 to develop geography units in their schools.
14.30 Refreshment break
15.00 Previewing resources – extracts from the new ‘Aiming for KS3 Gold!’ and the GA’s ‘Planet Sport’ website.
16.00 Developing fieldwork opportunities in East London – Field Studies Council curriculum units for KS3 students.
16.15 Plenary, questions and close.

Contact Lucy Oxley at the GA to secure your place....

Tales of Things

Trailer for Tales of Things from digitalurban on Vimeo.

This video shows you how to tag an item for the Tales of Things project.

This is something I shall be exploring further when time permits...

Thursday, 29 April 2010

A very short introduction...

A very short introduction.... is the name of a series of books, which is published by OUP.

There are a lot of very useful books for geographers...

The obvious one to start with is GEOGRAPHY....

The second one I would recommend is DESERTS....
Check them out...


Wednesday, 28 April 2010

Across 'The Bridge'

Image by Alan Parkinson

From Bollington and the Happy Valley (see earlier post) it was through the footballer-belt of Wilmslow, under Manchester Airport and out along the M56 to Widnes.
I'd not been over 'The Bridge' before - great view towards Snowdonia in the distance across Ellesmere Port...
Image by Kurt Farrar: Flickr Creative Commons licensed...

Did a session on GIS for the Halton Geoggers...
The venue was good: an executive box with a view over the pitch of the Widnes Vikings rugby stadium - see above - (although it was set up for a football match and there was no champagne...)
Mark Higginbottom had got together a very positive group of people and I enjoyed my day...
More GIS stuff to come shortly...

Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Post 16 conference...

The GA's first Post 16 Conference takes place later this year in London.
We have organised a great line-up of speakers on the theme of "Recruitment, Retention and Results"

You can download a FLYER from the Geographical Association...

Online booking is available...

Ollie Bray hits Rotherham...

Ollie will be at the MAGNA centre between Sheffield and Rotherham on the 7th of July.
I shall be in Bristol that day so will miss out on the chance to see Ollie, and present a session at the event.
Maybe next time...
If you haven't heard Ollie speak before and happen to be in the Rotherham area on that date please sign up for the event. Will let you have more details when I have them...

Cevennes

The Cevennes is an area of France that not many people know well. Have passed through it some time ago...

A nice article in the Guardian I read on my iPhone earlier described the area very well..

The section I particularly like is the following:

In his essay Spirit of Place, Lawrence Durrell said:

"all landscapes ask the same question in the same whisper: I am watching you – are you watching yourself in me?"

Happy Valley

My travels around the country this last year and a half have taken me to lots of places I've never been to before...
Tonight I had one of the best experiences so far.
I rocked up at the Hollin Hall Best Western just outside of Macclesfield, after a twisty-turny journey over the Cat and Fiddle Pass from Buxton, and then used my phone to find somewhere for an evening meal and some decent ale. Discovered the Vale Inn was about 15 minutes walk away, so wandered down the hill and across the Macclesfield Canal to find a cricket match in progress (and a neighbouring football match...)

Discovered that the area is called the HAPPY VALLEY.
One thing that made me particularly happy was the beer: White Nancy - named after a distinctive folly on a nearby hill, which can be seen in the image below. A few pints, a warm evening, an engaging cricket match, and lots of local people who were obviously fairly chilled and friendly all made for a good combination...
Wandered back up the hill to my hotel in the late evening sun...

Image by j.a.arnold on Flickr - Creative Commons licensed

I'll try to go back some time soon - if only for a pint of White Nancy....
Here's the Vale Inn on Street View - pop in if you're in the area...

View Larger Map

Teaching the Hard to Teach: ICT in Geography

Have just watched a preview copy of a Teachers TV programme that I was involved in consulting on, so that I could put together the teachers' materials for the website.
The programme is in the HARD TO TEACH strand, and looks at using ICT to teach Geography.

It features several examples of
  • Paul Haigh using virtual fieldwork with Google Earth in Sheffield
  • Helen Young using Data Harvest hand-held data-loggers, and mapping the results of a microclimate study in AEGIS
  • Bob Lang using Google Earth to explore climate change, Gapminder to explore social inequality and Digital Worlds to explore areas of Birmingham..
Many thanks to those involved for taking part in the programmes...
Just producing the related notes and will let you know transmission times when I have them...





Controlled Assessment

A new area for GA members is being launched in the next few days
It provides guidance on CONTROLLED ASSESSMENT.

This will be particularly helpful for those who are going through the process for the first time....

Update:
Area is now "live" on the GA website.
Sections include:
Background
Research
Analysis
Use of Secondary data
Marking
Planning
Weblinks

Blogging tag...

Image by Chris Kempson, made available on Flickr under Creative Commons

I was tagged earlier by David Rogers

This is one of those things that goes around from time to time.

I have to name 10 blogs that I read and enjoy and then "tag" one of the people in the list...

Here's some blogs I read on a fairly regular basis....

1. Kenny O' Donnell's flavoursome ODBLOG, which contains the results of his pedagogical adventures

2. Ollie Bray's progress around Scotland - pity that the GEOGRAPHY in the tag cloud is getting smaller over time... ;)

3. Joe Moran's blog: author of excellent "Queuing for Beginners" and "On Roads"...

4. Norf Coast Blog - for things related to the Norfolk coast - an excellent set of links down the right hand column which sets out some of the highlights of the area for residents and visitors alike

5. David Rogers' blog: reflective and creative stuff from a geography teacher

6. My Twitterstream - hundreds of micro-blogs...

7. Bill Boyd's ideas for literacy, which I attempt to put into use in a geography context where appropriate

Might try and add a few more later to get up to 10....

Apologies to the "obvious ones" that I'm bound to have missed...
It takes a lot of effort to stop a weblog turning into a "cobweb"log....

Mission: Waterstones


Mission : Explore has been put into over 150 Waterstones stores around the UK.
Or at least, we think it has...
This is where you come in.
If you live near to a Waterstones Store please check out our INTERACTIVE map.
Let us know that the store has a Mission:Explore, or better still, buy it and take it home....
We'll try and turn the sheep green...

AEGIS : Success guides

Image by Alan Parkinson

Thanks to Diana Freeman for sending a copy through of the new Success with AEGIS guide...

9 lesson ideas and resources - written by Helen Young


Catlin Survey: an Inuit view

Thanks to Victoria Ellis for tip-off to CATLIN ARCTIC SURVEY

A range of videos... for use in the classroom...

Monday, 26 April 2010

...the dust is settling...

Image by Ian Hardie, Creative Commons licensed...

...on the volcanic ash situation, although not everyone is home yet...

Above is a great image: one of many being shared by Ian Hardie of Rayburn Tours, showing ash from the eruption...
Check the SLN FORUM discussion thread for more of Ian's stories from the volcano....

Wild Knowledge

The GA has been working for several years now with WILD KNOWLEDGE.
The software has been slowly developing through that time, and the addition of GEARS has allowed for data gathering to happen more effectively. The Wild Knowledge portal allows for forms to be prepared for remote use.

I have now been exploring the MOBILE interface which allows for forms to be designed for data capture and then used in the field - created a form which allowed for capture of various kinds of data, and also use the camera...

An iPHONE APP is coming soon, which will make the process even easier....

More to come on this as I develop my skills and link the data that has been captured to GIS software hopefully to integrate the whole experience...

Google Maps - new features

Look on the top toolbar for the red label NEW, next to the piece of lab equipment, and you can add some new features to maps which might make your user experience more useful...

I added a few of these to see if I use them...

One of the most interesting things that has been added though is the option of seeing the maps in 3D EARTH VIEW- easy to add to the mapping....

Oxfam and the London Marathon 2011

Well done to John Lyon: the GA's Programme Director, who finished the Virgin London Marathon yesterday in a sub 4 hour time...
Next year's main charity is going to be OXFAM.
If you would like to take part, now is the time to do something about it...
And no, I won't be taking part. Could just about cycle 26 miles, but not run it...

Gapminder - desktop download...


A new desktop version of the wonderful GAPMINDER tool is now available to download.
Thanks to Bob Lang for the news...
Uses Adobe Air...

Sunday, 25 April 2010

Google Earth project...

Over to Norwich today to work with some colleagues from Norfolk schools who are working on a project which has received some funding.
They are working on producing a total of 6 "toolkits" for teachers wanting to use GIS in the classroom.

Key resources that I showed them were:
  • Gavin Brock's OS Map Layer
  • James Allen's Google Chart Maker from DexAutomation - particularly keen on the Google-o-Meter and the QR code creator - thanks to David Holmes for that reminder at the GA Conference
  • GEarth Blog - tip offs to models on SketchUp etc.
  • Andrew Lee's life-trips
  • Firetree sea level rise in Google Maps
Looking forward to hearing how the project writing day goes on Wednesday - good to hear that Alan Kinder and Rob Lodge are going to be involved. Look forward to seeing the finished product...
Thanks to Ben and co. for the early evening drinks at the Blue Boar too...

Jog the web


JOG THE WEB is described as a "web-based tool that allows anyone to create a synchronous guide to a series of web sites."

I have just made a new JOG, which is called GIS IN THE GEOGRAPHY CLASSROOM.

Take a look, sign up and start jogging yourself...

Teach Act Global


Thanks to Dan Ellison for making me aware of a new teaching resource and programme called ACT GLOBAL.
Dan says:

I am one of a team from Relief International and the Citizenship Foundation working on a DFID funded project at its pilot stage called Act Global. The purpose of the project is to engage young people with issues relating to global poverty. Where students want to, they can also go a step further and take action on them.

The Act Global project includes:

Act Global
A social network for students in Year 9 to think, talk and act on global issues starting with violent conflict. The site includes bespoke videos that we will be constantly updating as well as through provoking photography. There is space for students to discuss and act on issues they care about. This is an ideal space for students to link with children in partner schools abroad or elsewhere in the UK.

Teach Act Global
This social network mirrors the Act Global network, but instead of the conversations being for learning, they are about teaching using the Act Global materials.

Teach Act Global Toolkit
This guide and lessons describes how to go about working with students on Act Global. The project comes from a community of enquiry approach and is very flexible.

After school club
I am very aware of how after teaching 'development' or 'inequalities' to Year 9 students many feel they want to go a step further and do something about the injustice they have learnt about. We are providing materials for an after school club in which students choose a global issue relating to poverty and then take action on it. We have designed this so that as a teacher there is very little planning needed.. all your need is a computer room for some sessions.

London schools
If you are a London school and get directly in contact we may be able to offer you some physical support. Just get in touch through the Ning and we can come out and offer training or other help.

Residential training
We have space for 50 enthusiastic students to attend a residential training course this June (repeated next year) to develop campaigning skills. Focusing on global issues the young people involved will learn about how to work in a team, different types of campaigning and then go on to take an action of their choice within your community.

International links
Act Global is an ideal way to support any of your efforts towards the International Schools Award.

Maintaining meaningful links with schools outside of the UK can be a real challenge. Act Global offers resources for teaching, means of communicating and over time a community of schools that reduces the pressure on individual relationships.

Social cohesion
Recent Ofsted reporting has said that schools in England are getting better at international linking but need to create more links with other parts of the UK. We hope that Act Global will be a space for children across the UK to discuss global issues.

We will be introducing more resources over time, but I do hope that you see the value in the project and will join us.

You can join now at:

http://www.teachactglobal.org

Feedback is very welcome.

Saturday, 24 April 2010

New GCSE Toolkits now in stock

Going Global - Catherine Owen
For Richer and Poorer ? - Paula Cooper
Is the future sussed ? - John Widdowson

The first of the 3 new GCSE TOOLKITS are now in stock.

The first 3 titles are shown above. SAMPLE RESOURCES from these 3 books are now available on the GA SHOP pages for the relevant books, so that you can have a flavour for the excellent resources that are found on the CD which is included in each book.
Don't forget that you can get a £5 discount on each book if you are a GA MEMBER.

Tour of Britain, 2010


The Tour of Britain is set to come to Norfolk in September of this year.

The race is the biggest professional cycling race in Britain, and should bring in a lot of revenue for the areas that it passes through. The first 5 stages of the race are over in the west of England, with stages ending in Blackpool, Stoke on Trent, Swansea, Teignmouth and Glastonbury (perhaps a finish on the summit of the Tor ?)

The news of the race was featured in today's Lynn News, as the route will bring the race through West Norfolk and then along the North Norfolk coast in a route between King's Lynn and Great Yarmouth on September the 16th.

This would be an excellent context, particularly for those schools which are in areas which the race is passing through...
Could be a chance for some route planning, and consider some of the other issues related to the race coming through an area...

I shall be somewhere along the route....

All too soon it will be time for the big sporting event of the summer too... the Tour de France...

GA Facebook Page now live...

Thanks to Nicola Donkin, the Geographical Association Facebook page is now live...
Check it out...

Friday, 23 April 2010

Make your own Icelandic volcano


Thanks To Rich Allaway and Victoria Ellis for telling me about a new British Geological Survey. It's a 3D paper model template to make your own volcano and ash plume...
Looks really good...

Thursday, 22 April 2010

Primary Geography Handbook offer...

Image: Alan Parkinson

There is a special offer available for a limited time for new (and existing) subscribers of the Primary Geographer journal....


Join the Geographical Association now, subscribing to Primary Geographer, and we’ll send you a free Primary Geography Handbook CD, containing printable PDFs of the entire Primary Geography Handbook. Join online or phone 0114 296 0088. Hurry, this offer is only available until the end of June 2010 or while stocks last.

Already subscribe to PG?
If you already subscribe to Primary Geographer you can request your free copy of the Primary Geography Handbook CD (while stocks last) by emailing fsoar@geography.org.uk stating your membership number and putting FREE CD in the subject line.

Revised Primary Geography Handbook
An updated version of the Primary Geography Handbook will be available in Autumn 2010, priced £29.99 (GA members) £39.99 (non-members). It will continue to exemplify good geographical teaching practice and serve as a source of inspiration for years to come, no matter what changes occur in the primary curriculum.

Happy Earth Day !

EARTH DAY today...
GOOGLE has celebrated with a Google Doodle...

HEALTHY PLANET has a range of resources produced for Earth Day

What are you doing today ?

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Leeds: GIS and stories....

Over to Allerton Grange School in Leeds today to do a session with colleagues from Leeds. Thanks to Garth Watson for hosting the session, which was at a new-build school. Some familiar faces from earlier sessions and events...
I was doing a session on classroom based 'GIS' ideas, although I also talked about the new GA / ESRI relationship. Thanks for the tip off to the amazing hand drawn map of London in the BBC4 Maps series.
More later...





St. George's Day

Friday 23rd of April is St. George's Day - why not celebrate with a lesson on "Englishness".... or cultural identity, or exploring the changing nature of England...

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

What a Tweet looks like

map-of-a-tweet

This is what a TWEET looks like....

Teachers TV Programmes on the way...

Been involved in a project with Teachers TV which has involved working with teachers in three schools.

Have been reviewing an early copy of the film, and it's shaping up to be a particularly useful programme, which features:

- Virtual fieldtrips in Google Earth with Paul Haigh
- Using mobile data capture with Helen Young
- Using Google Earth, Gapminder and Digital Worlds with Bob Lang...

More to come later...

Facebook: Geographical Association page...


Facebook is one of those "rooms" which I haven't spent a lot of time in. My wife uses Facebook to share photos with friends, and catch up with old schoolmates and have online chats with people in remote locations such as New Zealand.

Our very own Barnaby Bear already had a FACEBOOK page.

And now, thanks to Nicola Donkin, the Geographical Association Facebook page is now live...
Check it out and sign up to follow the GA.....

Monday, 19 April 2010

Mission Explore Facebook Group

Mission Explore has a Facebook group...
Why not head over and sign up as a fan....

GeoCommand


A new FREE resource by Rich Allaway which is related to the current ash cloud situation...

GEOCOMMAND is the name of the resources.

Instructions are here, along with a range of resources are included in the lesson....
They include a presentation with a set of timed slides (a huge production) which can also be viewed on SLIDESHARE.
An impressive piece of work...

Volcanic ash cloud resources


A reminder that, as UK airspace reopens (for the time being ??) some ideas and resources are now available on the GA website.
Thanks to Ian Hardie of Rayburn Tours for the images.

Updates
Just seen the term "ashmaggedon" being used to describe the situation....

Also check out FLIGHT RADAR 24 to track some flights in real time - where are they going ? What is the mood like aboard ?

The FLIGHT RADAR site allows you to see air traffic live (thanks to Indra Persaud for the tipoff....)

Also some useful maps and other details on this BBC NEWS page.

Thanks to Steve Brace for sending through some interesting links from the GEOGRAPHY IN THE NEWS website run by the Royal Geographical Society.

Thanks for the link to a RADIO 5 programme link which features Dr. Rita Gardner from the RGS - listen from about 10 minutes in for a brief interview piece...

The volcanic eruption was also good timing for an event being held at the RGS on the 25th of May as part of the 21st CENTURY CHALLENGES series. The event is on the topic of "Natural Disasters - how can we improve...."

Unsettling Settlement


Have just had an excellent learning experience.
It's important that as teachers and educators we keep learning ourselves: apart from anything else, we need to remember what it feels like !

Check out RICHARD BUSTIN's Teacher to Teacher resources from his session at the recent GA Conference, which can now be downloaded from the GA WEBSITE.

This session looked afresh at the way we can teach and learn about 'urban settlement', based on concepts from recent geographical thinking developed in universities. It used pupils' own experiences of urban living as a starting point to develop thoughts around 'Thirdspace'

Recommended read....

Place based learning conference


Place based learning is obviously an aspect of geographical education which requires careful thought, but is also vital to explore.

Was invited to this event by Alun Morgan.

We will be talking about the importance of PBL and then connecting with the work of some GA projects, as well as offering delegates the opportunity to participate in some Mission Explore activities along the South Bank.

Whole new (Digital) Worlds to explore...

A whole new world of GIS began to open up on Friday.
Had a day of training on the ESRI DIGITAL WORLDS package. Installed the package first, followed by a disc of MAPS and DATA (although most of the maps, particularly the OS maps, are streamed in from the internet, so aren't physically present on the machine...)

We then worked through a range of activities which were designed to give us some familiarity with the main tools at our disposal, before heading off into some of the "proper" GIS tools that make software like this so important as a goal to progress towards by the time that students reach GCSE courses...
The next session is in a few weeks time, and am looking forward to developing my skills with the package...

AC / DC

A group of UK geographers is currently enjoying an extended stay in the USA thanks the ongoing volcanic activity in Iceland.
A message on the AAG website offers some guidance to them....

Dear guests of the AAG Annual Meeting:

Given the recent volcanic eruption in Iceland and subsequent air traffic complications affecting travelers needing to cross the Atlantic, the AAG is facilitating the exchange of information regarding local accommodations, assistance, and other services needed by our overseas colleagues, who are currently unable to return home. Please visit the AAG facebook fan-page:www.facebook.com/geographers to learn more and to request or offer assistance.

Secondary Subject Leadership: Online CPD

A new online CPD unit is being featured at the moment on the GA WEBSITE.
The unit is for those who are involved in, or have aspirations towards, leading a geography department in a secondary school.
The focus is on leadership rather than management... I have been in many sessions which have explored the difference between those two terms.

It will also offer teachers the option of documenting the journey through the unit and submitting the written report for a TLA Level 1 or Level 2 qualification - all GA CPD courses are now tied to this approach which allows teachers to get extra credit for the work that is being done on professional development

You'll lava lot of fun with these resources...

Spent some time today putting together some resources related to the volcanic ash cloud which has been dominating the media for the last week.

My thanks to those colleagues who contributed to the resource, some of them unwittingly... :) and to Anne Greaves for weaving her web magic on my scribblings...

You can find the resources on the GA WEBSITE

Please let me know if there are any further resources which you think could / should be added....

One story which caught my eye just now was featured on the BBC NEWS website, and has the title "The ultimate geography field trip"... A great adventure by the sound of it....

GA Conference 2010: SATURDAY


Images by Bryan Ledgard - the official GA photographer...

Saturday 10th April

Another early start and snatched breakfast before giving Rich Allaway another lift up to the campus.
Sun was already raising the temperatures inside the atrium, and the delegates were buzzing around the exhibition stands.

I had another busy day ahead.
Started with a trip up to the lecture theatre to say hello again to Carl Lee. He has written an excellent book called "Home: a personal geography of Sheffield". He's producing a 2nd edition of the book.
Up to the Digital Worlds workshop, and had a chat to some of the delegates. I hope to get in touch with all of them shortly to follow up the experience that they had on the day. The teachers worked through some of the new resources on the MY GIS section.

Image by Alan Parkinson

In to take my seat for the Doreen Massey keynote lecture and was hoping to record the lecture again, but my laptop didn't want to play ball... first signs of it getting a little flaky...
The address was titled "Why geography still inspires me after all these years..."

It took in a view of Skiddaw from a B&B, the wandering boulder of Hamburg, the impermanence of nature, the power of a geographical imagination, power geometries in Venezuela and the nature of maps as a surface over which infinite stories are taking place...

Sent a stream of tweets to sum up the main points that Doreen said for those who couldn't make it to the conference.

Out into the sun to find the Mission Explore intervention tent was up, and the participants being briefed by Dan and David.
Emma Johns was meanwhile leading the SPC's Geography Swap Shop.

Was good to see Nell Seal, one of our Primary Geography Champions getting involved in the Mission Exploring: the teachers headed off and very soon we started to get replies via Text and Twitter that they were completing missions and also sending through some images...

Went in to introduce the Teacher to Teacher session of Stephen Ruddick, and to grab some lunch and offer some technical support.

It was then up to the lecture rooms to chair and introduce David Holmes, who did a useful session on the various free 'GIS' type packages which exist to support students when they do their controlled assessments. There were a few technical 'issues' but we got there in the end.

An SPC workshop on Extending ICT use was meanwhile underway on the floor below...

Rushed across the conference venue, and was able to meet Dan Box, who I'd contacted previously following his RGS-IBG funded journey to the Sinking Lands of the Carteret Islands. He was interested in the Mission Explore work, and had previously done some work with Dan Ellison so it was good to arrange for them to meet up again.

As the final sessions were winding up, I packed up and grabbed my boxes of things, then down to the car and saying goodbye to GA colleagues who had done a fantastic job.

A sunny 150 minute drive back across country to Norfolk, and conference over for another year. Next year, it's down to the University of Surrey in Guildford again - although I won't be sleeping in a barn this time !

GA Conference 2010 : FRIDAY

T-shirt available from Google Store...

Friday 9th April
A reminder that materials from many conference workshops are available from the DERBY 2010 PAGE of the GA website.

An early alarm call, followed by a good breakfast with the ESRI boys, GeoDave and Richard Allaway. Rich then navigated up to the campus, and it was into the first full day of the conference ‘proper’. Delegates arrived and collected their conference handbooks. Grabbed a coffee and reminded myself of my day: lots of chats with familiar faces and new faces...

Up to the ICT room where I would be later, and Ken Lacey was introducing the OS Open Data service. A floor down, David Rogers was kicking off an SPC workshop on "Putting Geography back on the map"

After chats with Indra Persaud and other geography colleagues old and new, wandered into the main lecture theatre to take my seat for John Halocha’s Presidential lecture. Prompted by a tweet I tried Twitcam as a live stream, and it seemed to work OK, although if I'd thought about it in advance I would have got a better seat and not sat on the back row.

John has been an enthusiastic President this year, and I had the pleasure of his company at several events, notably up in Edinburgh for SAGT.

John mentioned the Guerrilla geographers of Mission Explore in his Presidential lecture, and mentioned 2 missions in particular...

Out, and chatted to a number of people: Mary Biddulph was using an article that I wrote for Teaching Geography as a prompt for her workshop on "Writing for Teaching Geography", David Lambert discussed the impact of 'a different view' one year on. Graeme Eyre was Championing Primary Geography and Bob Digby introduced the new Top Spec Geography publications...

Went to introduce Stephen Ruddick’s Teacher to Teacher session, but I was a day early. Spoke to Richard Bustin instead, who teaches at Bancroft’s School, and had earlier done some excellent work on UNSETTLING SETTLEMENT. I strongly recommend that you take a look at these excellent materials !!

I will certainly be using these in some future sessions and encouraging colleagues to take a look at this approach !!

Caught up with a number of people at lunchtime, including Duncan Hawley (I'll get over to Swansea soon...) and had some lunch. One of the advantages of Derby as a venue is that catering is in the same area as the exhibition area and the main lecture rooms.

Healthy Planet had a stand at the conference, where they were telling delegates about their resources for encouraging fund raising. Had a good chat with Shaylesh from Healthy Planet, and thought about other possible connections for them.

OS Open Space / Data was being mentioned, and I had a chance for a long chat with some of the people behind the new data release and was able to suggest some possible additional tweaks to allow teachers to make the most out of the new service (which is of course affected by licensing conditions...)

Also met up with colleagues from ESRI UK: good to see the partnership being advertised at locations around the exhibition space (tho' I forgot to get a picture of the banner....)

Missed out on the chance to pop in to the Young People's Geographies Workshop (which I heard good things about after the event) as I was preparing the room for my workshop. John McLaverty from Oxfam arrived and we had lunch and chatted, then set up the room, and laid out the various documents for the workshop.

The key presentation that we used is embedded below for your interest....

The session seemed to go well - got some nice feedback. John then left to return to London. He had provided an excellent and succinct description of the difference between FOOD MILES and FAIR MILES: the link here goes to Oxfam GB where you can download the Fair Miles booklet... (PDF format)

John highlighted the importance of recognising that "far" is not necessarily "bad" and "near" is not necessarily "good" - the issue requires some further investigation.

One of the emerging issues in the area is that of LAND GRABS.

This occurs when rich countries buy up land in economically less developed countries, so that they can safeguard their future food supply...

We will return to this issue in 2011....

Managed to livestream the session on TWITCAM, which worked well. Had some people watching live, and also signing in later to watch the replay.

The timing of the session meant that I was unable to see some of the other sessions that I would have gone to - but unavoidable as there was so much on the programme...

It also didn't give me very long to scoot over to another lecture theatre to set up for a session that I was chairing and participating in. This was a session on BRANCHES, and offered support for those thinking of getting involved in running a branch, and also those who are already involved to see what others are doing.

Thanks to John Davidson for his efficient running of the event. I did a short input on the Norfolk GA branch. Thanks also to Frances Soar for her inputs. We also had to get out of the room quick at the end as Margaret Roberts was heading into the lecture theatre and we over-ran slightly.

Out and more discussions with people on the exhibition stands as the day came towards an end around 6 pm. Down to have a quick glass of wine with the Ordnance Survey and colleagues. More iPhone demos too...

A car full of weary geographers went down the drive to the main road back into Derby City Centre. The weather was so much milder than in recent months. After another quick visit to my room for a shower and change into my Google Maps t-shirt, I wandered through Derby city centre – passed the Stuart Hotel, which took me back to an earlier GA conference when I was staying in a bit of a cheap dive, along with Val Vannet and Ian Murray.

To Pizza Express for the SPC meal for good food and conversation, and some beer. Thanks to Simon Renshaw for the organisation, and Emma Johns and Victoria Ellis for arriving early and keeping me company, although we did end up with 13 at the table!

Wandered back through the evening, and it was warm enough for just a t-shirt – a great contrast to the previous few months. Rich and I had arranged to meet in the bar of the Hallmark Hotel with colleagues from the Edexcel Ning or doing IB.

Mark from Hong Kong’s King George V school was there. His school was awarded a GA Secondary Geography Quality Mark this year, and was good to discuss the impact of the GA overseas....

Caught up with other Geography Collective members, and also Simon Oakes. Thanks to Rob Morris from Shrewsbury for the whisky late on...

As I was heading back to the room, bumped into Margaret Roberts and Doreen Massey. Doreen was very interested in my Google Maps t-shirt: turned out that I would find the connection between the shirt and her lecture tomorrow....

For now it was time for bed...

Saturday, 17 April 2010

We said we wanted some "cash" from Iceland

OK, so if you look up at the moment you'll notice something missing from the traditional skyscape: contrails...

With many schools due to go back next week (although some are already into the summer term) I would presume that many geographers will be considering teaching about the impacts of the volcanic ash. There will, of course, be plenty of discussion about this in the staffroom next week.

The culprit is the anthropomorphised volcano of Eyjafjallajokull

I hope that many colleagues will go with this as a theme for teaching. It may well be that colleagues and students will be absent, and you could try to find out where they are stranded. One idea that you could try would be to recreate your absent classmates by providing an outline of a person. Fill in their story and the place where they are stuck. Now take a photo of your creation(s)

I have a FLICKR GROUP on this ready for your images
I also have suggested a hashtag of #ashabsence

Do a search on the volcano name for a range of videos including one on how to pronounce the name of the volcano.

TONY CASSIDY has already stepped in with a splendid resource for starters.

View more presentations from TonyCassidy.
Of course there are lots of other options.

Mystery titles...

Why is Mr. Wolton stuck on the island of Kyushu ?
Why did Mrs. Hamilton have to go without her pineapple chunks ?

Simon Oakes has added a range of thoughts on the EDEXCEL community forum.

There's also an interesting discussion on the TES COMMUNITY FORUM which might prove to be a useful starting point for discussions on the impact of the ash as it affects schools.

A useful focus could be to start with the individual, followed by the school, followed by the town / city, then the UK and the wider implications.

Don't forget the Physical geography behind the disaster: the reason for the eruption. This particular geography explains why the ash is so potentially damaging to aircraft engines.

There's also Ian Hardie's personal account of being evacuated from his house, and some excellent Flickr pics of his on the SAGT geography page.

Plane or Volcano infographic... - decided not to reproduce this on this blog post, but this is well worth looking at and using as a focus for discussion...

There are also a few articles on the newspaper websites which would be useful.

KENYAN flower industry is losing a lot of money - potentially damaging...
GOOGLE EARTH KML file of the ash cloud (a large image which may take a long time to load)

Let me know what ashy lessons you teach please...

Safe travelling...

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

FACE Resources


FACE Interactive resources are produced by Farming and Countryside Education.

They include a game which looks fun. Called the BUZZ GAME, it is about encouraging biodiversity on a farm. Teachers can set up a Class League.

Also a cartoon SCREENSAVER looking at changes on a farm over the years - could be a useful resource for looking at change in the landscape.

Also a useful CD ROM with details on Visiting a Dairy Farm for Key Stage 2 pupils

Also check out the COUNTRY CHANNEL



Geography Awareness Week 2010


This year's GEOGRAPHY AWARENESS WEEK takes place from 21st to 25th of June.

The theme this year is THE BIG PICTURE: TACKLING GLOBAL ISSUES

Download the resources, which have been coordinated by Richard Gill from the GA WEBSITE.