Wednesday, 22 February 2017

New Fairtrade Fortnight Film...

Will be using this over the next week or so... links to Fairtrade, and globalisation...

Under-Appreciated from Fairtrade Schools on Vimeo.

Tuesday, 21 February 2017

7000 up

Well, another milestone reached today, as I noticed that I've just reached the notable figure of 7000 blog posts on LivingGeography since I started it in 2008. That's a fair few words written, in the millions I would guess, and that's matched with well over 2 million reads of the blog, which is rather good too.... considering it's a subject specific blog rather than a more general teaching and learning type one.

I've written on all sorts of subjects related to geography, curriculum and pedagogy, the work I did for the GA, and the various projects I've been involved in, and the many hundreds of publications, articles and resources I've authored in that time. If you're about to teach something, or are researching a topic, use the search box top left on the main page, and I've probably written something about it. You can also scroll down the right hand side until you get to the labels and click on a label to see what I've said.

You could also look top right, where there is an opportunity to SUBSCRIBE to the blog. This means that you will get one e-mail on the morning after any day that I add a post, with a summary of those posts. If I don't add anything you won't get an e-mail - simple as that....

Next stop - 8000 - check back in about a year or so's time to see me reach that target - I'm in it for the long game.

Megaregions of the USA

It's fair to say that the USA has featured in the news quite a lot over recent weeks and months.

There have been various attempts over the years to subdivide the country into regions, often connected with the major cities.
Alasdair Rae and colleague Garrett Dash Nelson have produced a useful map of the USA for this purpose.
They're called Megaregions, and this interactive map allows you to explore them.

This article also names some of the areas. I remember hearing about Bosnywash and similar megalopolises years ago, now they seem to be spreading to become larger subdivisions of the states. Another example of how geography constantly changes.

Which smartphone do you use?

Please help out my students by filling in the form that follows. We are exploring the smartphone as a product of globalisation (consider the coltan that goes into its production) as well as a symbol of globalisation.

We will be referring to a number of resources.
- Fred Pearce's 'Confessions of an Eco-Sinner'
- Various supply chain images
- John Widdowson's 'Geography for Common Entrance' book - pp.139-141

But it's always good to have some data to use... We'll use CHARTICO to graph the data.

Saturday, 18 February 2017

Ship Spotters

Another great tipoff from Hakai Magazine.
This is about the people who head to Felixstowe to watch the container ships come and go... Personal geographies once again.... and a link to my CILT resources for the GA.
Ship Spotters from Hakai Magazine on Vimeo.

Granta: Journeys

I've got quite a few issues of Granta on my shelves, and they're usually the issues related to travel and travel writing.
The latest issue is called Journeys, and features some excellent pieces.
You can visit the Granta website by clicking the link above, and read quite a few of the pieces. Various travel writers such as Robert MacFarlane, Colin Thubron and Pico Iyer, all of which are excellent authors, and two of which I've heard speaking in person, are asked whether travel writing is dead?
Robert MacFarlane mentions 'The Living Mountain' once again (the focus for an SAGT workshop I did I few years ago that remains one of the more successful workshops that I led), and also the challenge facing writers today, as:

"the scale and structure of the Anthropocene charges travel literature with new obligations and confronts it with new crises: how to represent the dispersed consequences of climate change and mass extinction, for instance, or how to map and track the so-called ‘hyperobjects’ with which we are so entangled".

Worth getting hold of a hard copy...

Svalbard Water

For just £70 or so you can now taste water from the glaciers of Svalbard - for sale in Harrods, or direct from the website. It apparently has a really good mouthfeel, which is just as well given the price.

This would make an interesting discussion with students about the issues regarding the sourcing and sale of this water, with respect to environmental, economic and social sustainability.

Green Belt

Green Belts have been around for decades, but are now threatened by the potential for relaxed planning laws connected with the idea of affordable housing and local planning decisions.

Alasdair Rae has produced an atlas of the green belt. (access the maps here)

It provides a visual representation to where the green belt remains.


Small Smurfs, Big Goals

The new Sustainable Development Goals are BIG things, which have a long-term aim to change the world. This might be too big for some students to grasp, so this new website has been designed to reduce this to a manageable size.

Answer some questions on what you think would make the Smurf Village the happiest place to live, and it will suggest which Smurf you are based on your answers, and which goals would help achieve that.
Here's my result:
Which Smurf will you be?

Charney Primary Geography Conference

I'm excited to be attending the Charney Primary Geography Conference next weekend to share some of the work I've done, and learn from many colleagues working in the Primary phase. I'll be heading over to Oxfordshire to attend the event, and will be blogging some of the events and sessions of course.

I'm going to be sharing the breadth of work we've done for Mission:Explore over the last 10 years, and the people we've worked with, which is astonishing when I look back at it.

We have used Mission:Explore at King's Ely several times with both pupils and teachers. Here's a presentation I previously used at a staff CPD session, which was followed by a short time to explore the school grounds and complete some missions.

The top tourist destinations

Updated 
Vouchercloud has shared a map to show the top tourist destination in each country in the world. The map was produced by Ben Harrow.

This is a large map - click on the map following the link to see the whole thing and download it if you want a copy. You can also see the Google Document that contained the information on the top tourist attraction.


Out of 197 countries, there are:
76 natural attractions
54 historic attractions
38 generic tourist attractions
29 religious attractions


How many have you been to?

The Light Phone

Another possible 'supply chain' style example to explore... this also connects with the ideas of how smartphones take over some people's lives, and this is a slimmed down phone: the Light Phone. 
Would go along with the Fair Phone - interesting to see that it's also made by Foxconn, who make the iPhone.

$100 for a phone that does nothing? from The Light Phone on Vimeo.

Friday, 17 February 2017

Crowdfunded Flooding Documentary

High Water, Common Ground is the title for a film which is in production. The  film-makers are currently asking for further funding to make sure that the film gets made to its full potential. It explores the impact of flooding on communities, and ideas for some natural flood management techniques.

Twitter feed here.
Here's a Vimeo trailer for the film too:

Details here, from the website, and scroll down for more...

Synopsis
Extreme flooding events in recent years have devastated countless communities throughout the UK, and it is only a matter of time before such destructive waters are seen again. Beyond the immediate, obvious loss of livelihood and business, the impacts of these floods have permeated much deeper, affecting communities both physically and psychologically, and affecting the relationships between the people most affected and those charged with alleviating the damage.

But from amidst this chaos, communities have pulled together more strongly than ever, and opportunity has emerged to find new and innovative solutions to the threat of flooding. These are solutions that have the potential to satisfy every stakeholder, and benefit land and water on every level. Such 'natural' flood risk management techniques are in no way a universal or absolute solution, but their potential for significant contribution to flood pressure alleviation is widely accepted.

In a documentary-meets-toolkit, High Water Common Ground meets the communities most affected by flooding, examines the needs of the parties involved, and explores some of the most innovative methods of flood risk management using real examples from around the country.


Thursday, 16 February 2017

GA Conference 2017 - come and meet the teachers...

The GA Teachmeet is on again.  It's part of the GA Conference 2017
As in previous years, it's being co-ordinated by David Rogers, along with Lucy Oxley.



We are particularly keen to have some younger teachers (nobody wants to see ANOTHER 50-something bloke on stage), and those from Primary as well as Secondary, and in particular, people who have never presented at a Teachmeet before.... so they can feel the sheer terror and then exhilaration of sharing ideas with peers when they've had a few free beers first... so sign up here.

If you just want to come along and watch, you'll need a ticket from the Eventbrite page, but the event is even more enjoyable if your name is in the old slot machine too...

Littoral Art Project

I'm a pushover for any art-geography-landscape collaboration which approaches the environment from a new angle, and with an injection of creativity, and this fits the bill perfectly.
Littoral is an art project by Julia Barton which explores the issue of beach litter. This is something we explore with students when we look at plastic waste in the oceans and the interface with the littoral zone... We also have a trip to the Norfolk coast in the summer term, when we explore what makes it such a special place, and this would fit into our explorations of that area too, along with the search for plastiglomerates....


The project has just produced a guide to Beach Litter, which you should keep an eye out for, as it looks like the classic FSC guides and keys. This is a project worth supporting, and keeping an eye on as it develops.

The view from the Favelas...


I've been reading about the Favelas over the last few days. This has partly been the result of a chapter in my book 'Vertical' that I've blogged about previously. The chapter on the Favelas is fascinating and brings up all sorts of aspects of inequality and how the verticality of favelas contributes both to their sense of place and their vulnerability.

This was followed up by a very interesting Guardian article.

There are also onnections to the Stephen Hawking blog I posted recently on the theme of inequality being the greatest threat to the world.
The favelas are places of creative energy, and positive opportunities for many, as well as the more negative connotations that persist.
Last week, a former colleague of mine on the GA's Secondary Committee was also travelling in South America, and was able to visit one of the favelas I used to teach about: Rocinha. There were also a few other people in the same area this week - I hope to visit in person one day to explore them myself.


Images of Rocinha Favela, Rio de Janeiro - Copyright David Roberts, and used with permission

Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Heaven give me Words

One of my favourite pieces of 1990s pop.... Headphones on and turn up the volume... You're welcome...

Hannah's Dress

Just read about this book on Tina Richardson's blog
It looks really interesting as an exploration of Berlin, and the way that a particular street and location within Berlin changes over the years... it's a bit of social history meets psychogeography.
You can read an extract by following the Look Inside link on Amazon.

Ellis O Connor

I've blogged before about my love of the work of Scottish artist Ellis O' Connor
She has had the opportunity to live in some stunning places through various grants and residencies, and brought those to life in dramatic large format pieces.
This piece is very good, and includes some of Ellis' wonderful artwork as well as describing something of her process and recent works.
When I get some cash I'll treat myself to one of her larger format pieces, like this glacial form, which is stunning.

Image copyright: Ellis O' Connor

Ten signs of Gentrification

This is not my thing, and it also features a few slightly nsfw words (though nothing that most Year 9s or 10s won't have heard before... I think some students would appreciate this video, which goes through some signs that gentrification is happening from the perspective of the locals and the incomers...

Tuesday, 14 February 2017

#challenGEO6 - Somewhere to love..

It's time for the latest GeoChallenge. Thanks to those who've completed one so far this year. This one is a little overdue, but I'll use the excuse that it's half term and I've been busy doing nothing for a few days.

The challenge for this one is to think of a place that you love in the UK that deserves to feature on a stamp issue. There was a stamp issue of an A-Z of British locations a few years ago. Which places do you love the most in the UK?

Please fill details in on the Google Drive document linked to here...

Thanks to James Cheshire @spatialanalysis for sharing the heart shaped map projection image.

Lovelock... not James...

Love locks are a phenomenon in many places. This article linked to here describes how they change a place...  Some bridges have had them removed, as the weight of the accumulated metal was causing problems to the bridge's structure... What happened to all those relationships whose locks were cut I wonder?

There's a few bridges where I've seen them.

The first time I saw them was in Salzburg, in 2012. Here's my picture showing one of the pedestrian bridges over the Salzach.

Image: Alan Parkinson

Mission:Explore New York

My daughter is spending half term in New York with friends and teachers from her college. This was a picture she posted last night which I like... What an adventure... Will share some others once I've done a bit of processing and messing around with them...

Monday, 13 February 2017

Hans Rosling remembered on the radio...

BBC World Service - More or Less

Details:
A huge hole was left in the world this week with the death of the Swedish statistician Han Rosling. He was a master communicator whose captivating presentations on global development were watched by millions. He had the ear of those with power and influence. His friend Bill Gates said Hans ‘brought data to life and helped the world see the human progress it often overlooked’.
In a world that often looks at the bad news coming out of the developing world, Rosling was determined to spread the good news: extended life expectancy, falling rates of disease and infant mortality. He was fighting what he called the ‘post-fact era‘ of global health. He was passionate about global development and before he became famous he lived and worked in Mozambique, India and the Democratic Republic of Congo using data and his skills as a doctor to save lives. Despite ill health he also travelled to Liberia during the Ebola outbreak in 2014 to help gather and consolidate data to help fight the outbreak. On a personal level he was warm, funny and kind and will be greatly missed by a huge number of people.

Sunday, 12 February 2017

Rain Gauge Data

Live rain gauge data is something that is now collected, across a network which includes around 1000 automatic rain gauges. These don't need to be checked by observers, which used to happen each morning at the same time in hundreds of locations across the UK. The tipping bucket and similar designs can measure intensity as well as amounts, and don't just have a 24 hour total.
DEFRA have now made the data available as an API (as part of the Open Data initiative)

This has now been added to the vital GaugeMap resource. This is already an excellent resource for Geographers as it features live rive gauge measurements, which can also be turned into widgets.
At the bottom of the left hand column, there is now the option to add the rainfall layer.

This shows the gauges, click on a gauge to get the results, which could be for the day, week or month or year.
My nearest rain gauge appears to be Castle Acre.

Should be a great resource for those teaching about weather.
Watch out for a suitable weather forecast involving a front or mid-latitude depression crossing the country, and identify a line of rain gauges that the front should pass over during the day, and then watch the rainfall totals changing as the front moves across...

The writing on the wall...

One of the books I'm currently reading is 'Welcome to Nowhere', which tells the story of a Syrian family caught up in the conflict through the eyes of a young boy. The unrest is triggered by an event which I hadn't been aware of...

This Al Jazeera article features the story of Mouawiya Syasneh, who was 14 when he sprayed slogans on a wall.
That was in 2011....
This was the event that led to the current Syrian conflict that has so far claimed around half a million lives.
Watch the video below, and read the article, which features a number of visualisations of data related to the conflict. The film contains graphic scenes of conflict.


Saturday, 11 February 2017

IAPS Geography at Oakham School

Just putting together some slides and activities for this day. If you're in the area, get in touch and book a place... All will be shared afterwards of course...

ArcGIS Online CPD offered by the RGS


Great names for Great Britain

Just reminding myself of this from a few years ago, but which might be of use to those who are exploring the representation of place...

Visit Britain: Great Chinese Names for Great Britain from Work that works on Vimeo.

Volcanoes - Bodleian Museum

This sounds like an amazing exhibition, which is being put on at the Bodleian library in Oxford between now and May.

I'm hoping to see it at the end of the month as I shall be in the area for the Primary conference at Charney - the outcome of which I'll be sharing here of course.

Here's the description of the exhibition:

From fire-belching mountains to blood-red waves of lava, volcanoes have captured the attention of scientists, artists and members of the public for centuries. In this exhibition, discover a spectacular selection of eye witness accounts, scientific observations and artwork charting how our understanding of volcanoes has evolved over the past two millennia.
Discover the impact of some of the world's most spectacular volcanoes including the AD 79 eruption of Vesuvius, one of the most catastrophic eruptions in European history, and the 19th-century eruptions of Krakatoa and Santorini, two of the first volcanic eruptions to be intensely studied by modern scientists.
Featuring fragments of 'burnt' papyrus scrolls which were buried during the AD 79 eruption of Vesuvius, the earliest known manuscript illustration of a volcano, and lava and rock samples and notes from 19th-century volcanologists and explorers, this spectacular exhibition brings together science and society, art and history.

Place Based Research for teachers

One of the sessions at the recent GTE Conference that I most wanted to see was Emma Rawlings-Smith's presentation on her research so far into how place is represented in textbooks. I was interviewed by Emma last year as part of this research, with respect to how we wrote the AQA 'A' Level textbook for CUP and the OCR 'A' and 'B' books for Hodder.

Emma has a blog which is used to show her progress in her research.

The blog is called GeoPlaces and is on the Weebly platform.

The blog is connected with her PhD research. It's also very useful to connect the academic ideas on place with the teaching that is involved in the new 'A' level Changing Places topic. Emma interviewed me on my decision-making process when writing and editing the draft of this chapter in the Cambridge University Press textbook.
There is a useful set of resources here.

Finally on Changing Places, you may want to see an article by Richard Phillips in the latest Geography Review magazine, which looks at Changing Places in the context of Hackney. You can follow him on Twitter too.

You could also usefully watch Alan Smith's TED talk below:

Elbow and the Climate Change coalition

I've got tickets to see elbow in Thetford Forest later in the year... looking forward to it.

elbow are proud to have joined forces with The Climate Coalition and Ridley Scott Associates on this new short film 'A Love Song'.

The film features actors Charles Dance, David Gyasi, Jason Isaacs and Miranda Richardson reciting a poem specially composed for the film by award-winning poet Anthony Anaxagorou.


New from Discover the World Education

A couple of things that you can obtain from Discover the World to support your teaching.
There is a free poster of Volcano monitoring which is worth requesting. Mine arrived yesterday, and it's an impressive display piece which also fits nicely with the new GCSE spec content, and also our Risky World unit assessment piece which students are completing at the moment.
Order your poster(s) here, via the form.

There's also a 'discussion' relating to the new link-up with the Field Studies Council, who now offer courses in Iceland, coming up later this month - details below.


Otzi - the movie

It's now 4 years since I had my book 'The Ice Man' published by Collins. It's still available to buy here if you'd like to....

I've been following the Facebook page of the Ice Man museum, and they have some interesting additional updates on the stories that are being revealed by scientific analysis of the Ice Man's body.

It now seems that there is going to be a movie of Otzi...

Friday, 10 February 2017

Wearing the Trash Suit...

Rob Greenfield is an activist and explorer, who talks about food waste and related issues.
He has just finished a project where he created a TRASH SUIT, which contained all the trash that he created in a 30 day period (not including toilet paper)
It acted as a visual reminder of the things that we all produce within that period of time. and often throw away without thinking about the fact that 'there is no away'...
What else has he done? Check the website to see his projects...

Half term...

Another half a year has drawn to a close...that's now 23 and a half years as a classroom teacher. It's been hard work as always, with a great many highlights and interesting moments, and also a hundred or so 6am get ups in the dark...
I've driven nearly 10 000 miles to and from work, attended tens of meetings, written tens of thousands of words of reports and e-mails and generally been a teacher...
Wishing all teachers a good half term... have a good rest...
 

Carbon and Water Cycles CPD session

Carbon cycle fieldwork and workshop for A Level teachers
 

Find out more
Join us at the University of Sheffield on Thursday 30 March 2017 for our A Level carbon cycle CPD course, led by Professor Andy Hodson.

We will look at aquatic carbon and its relationship with carbon in soil, rock and the atmosphere. We will be working through resources and exercises using data sets from two main case studies - the Amazon basin and Arctic tundra. The day will also include a local fieldwork exercise focusing on aquatic carbon and explaining how to study it using resources available in most schools’ chemistry laboratories.

Date: Thursday 30 March 2017Time: 9.45am–4.30pm (Doors open from 9.15am)
Location: Department of Geography, The University of Sheffield, Sheffield, S10 2TN
Please bring: Suitable clothing for the fieldwork exercise and a packed lunch
Cost: £8 | £6 RGS-IBG members

Wednesday, 8 February 2017

A first class resource

Regular readers of Living Geography will know that we love a good stamp issue...
We've featured stamps on UK landmarks, and sustainable fishing and Shackleton to name but a few.
Brendan Conway alerted me to the new Postal Museum which is opening later this year.

It will be located at Mount Pleasant, London, and will hopefully be of interest for geography, history, science, technology etc.

One particularly eye-catching activity is that it'll be possible to travel on a stretch of the famous 'mail rail', the alternative underground built for the Post Office.  Its tunnels were first opened 100 years ago this year.

Here are the contacts:
Twitter @thepostalmuseum

The museum is looking for teachers across all Key Stages to join their Teachers’ Panel which meets on a termly basis to discuss plans. In return they offer discounts and opportunities to trial and test new programmes.  To express interest email Sally Sculthorpe, Learning Officer: sally.sculthorpe@postalmuseum.org

Tip of the iceberg...

The last few days has seen some stories relating to the shortage of food on supermarket shelves in the UK.


On the way home from work last week, I popped in to my local Tesco to confirm which crops were in short supply. Plenty of images of shelves were tweeted along with appropriate hashtags.

I've produced a few resources for this for use by students and will share the over the next few days. Here's a simple sequencing literacy scaffold task.



RGS Global Governance CPD

The RGS has been putting on some excellent free and inexpensive CPD sessions at a number of locations so far this year, and more are planned.
The next one, which may be of interest to those teaching the new 'A' level specifications for the first time is on the theme of Global Governance. It's presented by Simon Oakes, which means it will be excellent, engaging and bang up to date... It's in a couple of weeks for those who live close enough to be able to make it.


Details are below...
 

Tuesday, 7 February 2017

RIP Hans Rosling

Sad news picked up on the way home from school today about the death of Hans Rosling, who did more than anyone else to bring data to life, campaign for a worldview based on facts, challenge assumptions about development, explain the demographic changes that countries go through, and explain the small changes that made a big difference to people's lives.
I remember first coming across Gapminder when it launched and using the tool with 6th formers, and then slowly moved it further down the school, and then the idea of the Gapminder Casino which was brought to the GA Conference.

In my last conference as a GA employee I had the privilege of meeting Hans after his keynote lecture, at the Guildford conference in 2011 - here's my conference programme with the session circled...

I've used Hans' TED talks, his explanations involving lego and toilet rolls and a washing machine, and some more recent short videos. I was proud to be on the Gapminder teacher panel, and as recently as last week was in touch with Anna from Gapminder about the latest Dollar Street updates, which have been captivating my KS3 students.
My Twitter feed has been full of people expressing their sorrow and sharing their memories of Hans and how his work influenced them...

Decades of work raising consciousness will be part of Hans' legacy, but there are bound to be generations of geographers to come who will be introduced to his work, or stumble across it, and the work of the Gapminder foundation will continue. I'm genuinely sorry that Hans won't be here to scrutinise and expose the flaws in some of the current data trends and 'alternative facts' in a world in flux...

An obituary from The Guardian here.

Hottest year on record?

That would be last year.... and the second hottest was the one before... and the.... etc...

According to some people, global warming isn't happening.
A new Ladybird Expert series book on Climate Change was published last week, co-written by Prince Charles. I'll post a review shortly as I have a copy...


A chance to work with me.... for a while

An exciting opportunity has become available for someone...
We have a vacancy for a Geography teacher to work at King's Ely for a term, between Easter and Summer.
Details are in the TES, and the ad is shown below.
 
Good luck if you're applying.

Monday, 6 February 2017

Chartered College of Teaching

In 2007/8 I became a Chartered Geographer (Teacher)
I was pleased to have some 'recognition' for the work I had done in the subject community, by submitting a CPD log to the Royal Geographical Society (which extended an existing scheme to teachers), and writing a statement to reflect on the impact I had both in and beyond the classroom.
In the years since, I have also supported several other people to become Chartered Geographers, and written quite a few references for those who wished to complete the process.

There's now another Chartered opportunity for teachers.

I joined the Chartered College of Teaching on the first day that memberships became available a few weeks ago now, as I could see the benefits of this new opportunity to develop a new supportive community, and was also interested in the access that it provided for members to a range of academic journals which are usually held behind an expensive paywall for those of us who are not in an academic institution.

There is strength in numbers, and while it remains to be seen whether this will be different to a previous body called the GTC, which we all had to pay to join.

I'm also still waiting to hear more about the journal access offer though.


Free Rayburn Climate Change poster

A free poster can be downloaded from the Rayburn Education website. It identifies some of the countries which are thought to be most at risk from Climate Change.
Follow the link here to see the download page, and find out about Rayburn's offerings for trips with students.


Wednesday, 1 February 2017

#ChallenGEO5 - Tell me a story....

Time for the 5th ChallenGEO.

This week ahead is National Storytelling Week.

I've decided to set this week's challenge based on the idea of Geographical stories.
Last year, I finished my GeoLibrary challenge, which has 365 books (and a few more) that Geography teachers should explore.
Geography literally means to "write the earth".

Please share your favourite geographical story, as told in a book or film (or other media)

Comment below or use the #challenGEO5 hashtag to allow me to aggregate your responses

Thanks to Paul Berry for the mention in his Devon Geography blog of the previous challenges, and some suggestions for additional map making tools for earlier