"Top Ten Tips"

...as assembled by Ruth Totterdell and myself from contributions by SPC colleagues now available on the GA WEBSITE's NEWS page.
If you have a TOP TIP of your own that you would like including in the next set of TEN, please get in touch via my PROFILE.

The Man who Cycled the World

One of these men cycled solo around the world in the fastest ever time....
The other one once cycled from Rotherham to Cayton Bay in about 10 hours, and used to own a Chopper...

Edited Version of SAGT Presentation

For those who missed it, or were unable to attend....

View SlideShare presentation or Upload your own. (tags: sagt08 geography)

My presentation at the Scottish Association of Geography Teachers' Conference in Edinburgh at the weekend.
Did I mention the GA won some awards there ?

Free GIS Training

GIS (ArcView) training

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

November 19, 2008 is ESRI’s international GIS day. To mark this, three innovative geography departments are offering training in their school, suitable for teachers at any level of experience with GIS. You will have a chance to see how they use ArcGIS software with pupils and to receive hands on training with GIS.

The day will run from 10am – 3.30pm and is free. To register for the event, please email the appropriate teacher.

Hertfordshire Dr Peter O’Connor, Bishop’s Stortford College peter.o'connor@bishopsstortfordcollege.org

Yorkshire Steve Dunn, The Grammar School at Leeds, sd@gsal.org.uk

Herefordshire Jenny Barlow, Lady Hawkins School, Herefordshire jbarlow@lhs.hereford.sch.uk


There's only one Palin

Interesting Independent article today where Michael talks about "the Palin effect" - nice picture of him with his 'trusty globe'...

SAGT: Phase 2

On Friday night, after setting up the GA stand, had a meal at the very nice, and very French Le Petit Paris restaurant on Queensferry Road.

A windy night followed, and in the morning it rained on and off most of the day.

For the second year, the conference was held at Edinburgh Academy. First thing was to grab a coffee and man the GA stand with the other publications, and to start handing out over 150 free satellite image maps of the earth from space, and also have conversations with the 290 odd delegates. The maps were donated by the GeoSphere project.
At 9.30 the publishers’ awards, presented by John Vannet, were announced. In the Book category, the GA picked up both the awards that were available. A ‘Commended’ award went to ‘Caring for our World’ by Fran Martin and Paula Owens, and the WINNER in the book award went to the Teacher’s Toolkit. Margaret Roberts collected the awards.
It was then across to the Hall for Malcolm McDonald’s Presidential Address, and the morning lecture by Dr Iain Stewart. I left during this to set up my seminar room, and meet a few familiar faces from south of the border, and heard the story of the night train from Euston, where one of the delegates who shall remain nameless realised that they had the word ‘seat’ on their ticket whereas the others had ‘berth’. The weather was now fairly miserable, with strong wind and rain. Into the science area, to deliver the first of my seminars. Seemed to be well received. My basic messages were related to the change from traditional to social media, and how that could be used in the classroom. There were references to the BECTa Web 2.0 report, and the possibilities of being gratuitously creative, but importantly to ‘teach’ students the importance of crediting sources of material sourced online. Some familiar faces in the room too, which is always nice.

Go to SLIDESHARE for the presentation 

If you have other questions, get in touch, particularly if you were unable to attend my seminar (there were lots of other excellent ones after all....)

Over to the dining hall for lunch, and a chat to some familiar faces, and another spot on the stall. Lots of interest in the material that we had, and fortunately most of the magazines and materials were taken so I didn’t have to lug them home in the car. 
Back over for the second seminar, which again seemed to go well. One bonus here was the attendance of Kenny O’ Donnell, one of my blogging acquaintances, HIS BLOG HERE, who had very kindly brought me a bottle of ‘Avalanche’ beer from the Fyne Ales brewery, because he had read an earlier BLOG POST, where I said I liked the look of it. Cheers Kenny - that was very kind of you !

In the afternoon, it was back to the Hall for the Hodder Gibson lecture, which was given by Mark Beaumont, who I followed part of the way around the world on GEOBLOGGING WITH MARK, as he broke the Guinness World Record for solo circum-navigation of the globe. You can read more about Mark’s epic journey HERE.
He was announced by Val Vannet, who did an excellent introduction, which included the classic line “And the rest, as they say, is... GEOGRAPHY”.
He showed a few clips from ‘The Man who cycled the world’, which we heard has been nominated for a BAFTA, and talked through the planning, and used a series of slides that Val and I had used in fund raising assemblies earlier in the year.
Had a quick chat at the end with Mark, who is preparing for his next adventure to row across the North Atlantic.

The day wasn’t quite over, it was back to pack up the GA stall: the last one still standing in a lonely gymnasium, and take down the banner. It all packed into one box, which was handy, and
Meanwhile Dan was very kindly copying me his URBAN EARTH presentation - these movies are incredible pieces of work.

Finally into the Presidents’ reception, to have a few beers and a chat with Dan about some forthcoming book ideas (possibly) which Abi from Folens promised to publish... ;) 
Goodbyes all round - I will certainly be back next year - whether as presenter, or delegate, or exhibitor...

SAGT Awards

Well done to all involved at the GA, editors, authors, production team and anyone connected with either / all publications involved...

SAGT Award Winners: the GA

Quick post from a wet and windy Edinburgh.
Iain Stewart has just started the morning keynote lecture: "Unnatural Hazards: Creating Cultures of Catastrophe", and popped back to get sorted for my seminars.

The GA earlier picked up 2 SAGT awards.
The Primary / Early Years publication "Caring for our World" by Fran Martin and Paula Owens picked up a 'Commended' award in the book category, and the Teacher's Toolkit was the WINNER in the book award.
Both available from the GA SHOP.

KS4 ICT Resources

Not one but two new GA sites to explore today.
The next one is a collection of fully formed resource ideas which were put together by a group of what will probably be quite 'familiar' names to many of you....

KS4 ICT Project has been funded by BECTa.

Looking for GCSE lesson ideas that make the most of ICT? This exciting new project area of the GA website seeks to share ideas regarding the use of digital learning resources in supporting subject learning and teaching at Key Stage 4.

The site contains a number of innovative lesson ideas and activities that have been generated by project team members, all of whom are members of the Geographical Association and/or the Royal Geographical Society with IBG.

The site contains 10 projects ideas organised into curriculum areas - a further 15 will be added in the coming weeks.


The Young People's Geographies website is now LIVE...
It contains materials developed through the first phase of the project, which involved schools from a number of locations: one of them my own school at the time.

The website features a range of responses to a conversation between school students and academic geographers. Some great video pieces which explain the work that was done in the schools, which all had to be led by the students themselves, and also some VOX POP pieces.

There are also some great maps that the students produced of their "learning journey" along the lines of the Atlas of Experience.
Visit the website, and create an account so that you can participate, and follow the next phase of the project, which starts after the half term holiday.

Watch the short video on the home page which gives a flavour for the project...

East Coast Odyssey

A day of travelling today to get ready for the SAGT Conference.
Up early in York and checked inbox first. Some interesting continuing conversations relating to Singapore. YPG and KS4 ICT going live today, which is great news.
The weather was very sunny, but also the wind picked up through the morning, and by mid afternoon it was pouring with rain with a succession of rainbows.
First part was up the A19 to Thirsk, A1 through Scotch Corner, skirting Durham, and the first pause at a prominent man-made landmark, which I had to myself - can you tell which one ?

Shadow of the Angel

Then it was onwards, and into Northumberland: a pause at Barter Books in Alnwick (love it) and tide in, so Holy Island cut off. Berwick on Tweed for lunch, then onwards across the Border, and pootling up the single carriageway sections. A quick trip down the coastal route to Dunbar for fuel and a photo opportunity.


Within 20 minutes of this photo, the sky was pitch black, and it was pouring with rain through the outskirts of Edinburgh, and down through Leith to work round the tramworks in the centre of the city. Into Edinburgh Academy to set up the GA's stand...


Here's the proof that I was there... Thanks to John Vannet for his efficient organisation and for taking the photo below...

GA Stand at SAGT

Now in hotel about to go into Edinburgh for food and a drink.
Conference tomorrow. 
Plenty of new fodder arrived in the last day (predictably) - may have to try to squeeze something else into my presentation...

Are you ?

Teaching Geography

GA members can download the articles etc. from the GA WEBSITE.
Some great articles in this one, including:
  • Alan Kinder on the Teachers Toolkit
  • Emma Johns and Phil Wood on the new GCSE specifications
  • Eleanor Rawling on planning the KS3 Curriculum
  • An activity looking at Polish migration into the UK with all downloadable resources from the website
This was also Margaret Roberts' last issue as editor: she is being succeeded by Mary Biddulph, from the University of Nottingham.

One's travels...

Thanks to Stephen Schwab for flagging up the following article from yesterday's TIMES that includes a rather interesting map of the countries that the Queen has visited.

A nice starter question could be "Who has visited 120 countries but doesn't have a passport ?"

Thought for the Day

Progress is a matter of accumulating experience, at a pace congruent with the realities of workloads.
BECTa Report on use of Web 2.0 (2008)

Urban Earth on US Public Radio

Just listening to Dan Ellison talk on US Public Radio from last night.

You can download an mp3 of the talk, which I strongly recommend that you do.

Dan starts by referring to Doreen Massey and her work on perceptions of urban spaces and also the representation of places. He started by walking across Salisbury and exploring its ecological footprint.

He also talked about the issue of surveillance, and the issues with photography, and how he worked out the route for the walks based on inequality.

Photograph taken every 8 paces, and then turned into stop-motion films.

Also explored school geography, and how the media over-represents certain areas of cities.

Online CPD.... I urge you to listen !

The value of mapping and the new media

Just as you think you have a presentation completed, more information comes to light...

Earlier in the year, I attended an Advanced Google Earth day at the RGS-IBG: I blogged about it over at the Google Earth User Guide Blog. I then read a comment on a post on Ewan McIntosh's blog relating to new social media. The comment was by Jamie Buchanan Dunlop

I think that youth disenchantment with mainstream media is a good starting point. It is not disenchantment with the media, but more the commentators that is the problem. The young people, whom I have had the pleasure of teaching, are more likely to value the views of a peer rather than a politician.

The current citizenship (and GEOGRAPHY Jamie...) curriculum in England should provide pupils with the skills and values needed to investigate the world and become involved. Technology then becomes an enabler for communication between different parties, a motivator as it's oftern fun and an oppportinity to involve wider audiences.

I think that video is not as exciting as mapping as a tool for active citizenship. Of course digital maps can contain video, but maps provide a template for investigating issues and laying out the plans to solve them.

This led me to Jamie's DIGITAL EXPLORER site

Read THIS POST first...

So I now have a new perspective and narrative to explore relating to the use of new media.

Bedford: GIS...

Perhaps see some of you there...

Google Earth Developments

A couple of weeks ago, had a very interesting demo of Google Earth, and since then have been trying to find time for writing it up. While in the middle of doing that, I came across another interesting development.

This video by John Gardiner explains how to add navigation buttons into placemarks, so that users can work through a series of placemarks in order...

Going to have to have a go at this when I get a chance. One for February 2009 when I'm leading a Google Earth day....

Climate Change and Plants

I mentioned yesterday that the BGCI (Botanical Gardens Conservation International) produce a range of useful resources.
Forgot to mention a particular useful booklet, which is available as a PDF download. It explores the impact of CLIMATE CHANGE on plants. Click the image of the report cover to go to the download page.


One of my long term favourite sites for thought-provoking resources has been the nef (New Economics Foundation) website.
Today, I was directed to the nef BLOG.
The "triple crunch" referred to is the "interlinked climate, credit and energy crises"
Worth following in the weeks and months to come...

Teachmeet Midlands 09

Tom Barrett has been very proactive and has managed to organise a Teachmeet for the Midlands which will take place in May 2009.
You can visit the WIKI and sign up
The Teachmeet will take place at the very nice venue that is the National College for School Leadership...

National Teaching Awards

Interesting supplement in Guardian today on the National Teaching Awards. Well done to all those who were recognised at the awards ceremony.
There was an interesting piece in the Guardian today which summarised what Shirley Williams: one of the judges learned from the teachers about what they thought.
Some key points that might be worth considering:

"The things that stand out in a special teacher are enthusiasm and innovation... someone who realises teaching is not just the handing down of knowledge from on high... The really good teacher is somebody who makes learning something challenging and fulfilling. Obviously, the national curriculum is quite a corset and tends to limit children's innovatory capacity by being too closely tied to tests.... What we are looking for is teachers who refuse to be stultified."

The teachers were asked for their views on what they wanted to change...

"Teachers felt very rigidly directed ad rigidly regulated, and they... long for more room - room for their own ability, their own discretion and their own judgement..... there is also a yearning for a greater degree of stability...
They feel there isn't enough time to see if a particular innovation works... there aren't anything like enough pilot schemes.
The link between testing and league tables is insufferable and doesn't reflect outstanding teaching...."

SAGT 2008

A Wordle of my workshop...
See some of you there on Saturday !

Spending a penny...

Although it's more like 20p these days...
Thanks to Stephen Schwab on SLN for pointing out this article (and accompanying book...)
Where's the most scenic place you've taken a "comfort break ?"
The loos at the Flodigarry Hotel on the Isle of Skye are rather good, as are the toilets at the Hoste Arms in Burnham Market, Norfolk. In terms of views, there's a pub near the Ribbleshead Viaduct which I always enjoyed using, and perhaps the most scenic was a wee I once had on the way down from the Folgefonna glacier in Norway... But perhaps that's too much information...

Geography Poetry

A new book of GEOGRAPHY POETRY is available from Mark Cowan.Check out the samples on the website, and order a copy of the book, which comes with a CD.

Down to London, and Show World website

Spent part of the day today at the cafe in the Victoria & Albert museum in South Kensington, having a productive meeting (and a bakewell slice) with the Head of Education from the BGCI. For those who don't know about the cafe, it's in a wonderful room shown above. The glass globe chandeliers are incredible, and the food's nice too !
Thanks to Flickr user Robert UK for the nice image.

And for those who aren't sure what the BGCI is, it's BOTANIC GARDENS CONSERVATION INTERNATIONAL.
We were discussing the role of plants in the issues of food security and climate change, and the discussion encompassed pretty much the whole scope of geography by the time we had finished.
Several BGCI reports were mentioned which might be of use to other geographers. There's a very useful report on MEDICINAL PLANTS
Click the link to go to the DOWNLOAD PAGE.The V&A currently have an exhibition of design from the COLD WAR, and had some good stuff in the shop. I picked up some Cold War badges, and also a replica of Civil Defence Handbook No. 10: takes me back to watching 'Threads' years ago...

Thanks to Paul Sturtivant for the following tip off from SLN.
Try the SHOW / WORLD site. This contains a range of map animations where countries are animated according to particular

Here's an embedded map on WORLD POPULATION - as you can see, they are animated topological maps in the style of WORLDMAPPER.

Rescue Geography: an interesting project

Thanks to David Rayner for pointing out this project, which got ESRC funding, and involves academic geographers and a photographer exploring local landscapes.

RESCUE GEOGRAPHY explores an area of Birmingham and includes personalised mapping,

BBC News report
Take a look if you want to be challenged a little, and perhaps inspired.
There is an exhibition on at the moment in Birmingham, if you're in the area.

Google Street View

Check it out on the Champs Elysees and other streets....


Coming soon to a city near you....

So, let's open the bidding - WHAT USE ARE YOU GOING TO MAKE OF THIS ?

Let's get Quizzical....

Just back from running a quiz for King's Lynn Soroptimists, as a former colleague of mine is in charge of the fund raising. I think we raised about £300, minus some cash for a half-bottle of Glenfiddich: a glass of which I am sipping from as I type...
Going to put some of the questions here for you to test your skills on - answers are on the final slide...
Here's the first round of the quiz: a round I called "THE FIRST ROUND"...

The First Round
View SlideShare presentation or Upload your own. (tags: quiz soroptimists)

Comment if you want more rounds.... 2 teams got 10 out of 10....

NINTENDO DS in Schools

Currently adding some final touches (quite a few to be honest) to my SAGT presentation for next Saturday, and the Scottish Association of Geography Teachers' conference. I have a lot of Scottish 'chums': some of whom I have never met, others I have met once or twice (such as at Teachmeet a couple of weeks ago) and a few I have met numerous times. There seems to be a greater willingness to embrace the use of technology in the classroom in Scotland than other areas.
One recent project, which attracted a great deal of national press attention related to the use of NINTENDO DS consoles and the DR. KAWASHIMA BRAIN TRAINING GAME. Visit the LTS page where you can read about the project which involved Dundee schools, and the work of Derek Robertson and colleagues.

Here is Derek on BBC News: I watched this at the time:

Picked up my local paper today, and there on the front cover was a report on a local school which have bought consoles for use later this year. It will be interesting to see what the reaction to the scheme is locally.

A coincidence here is that I'm going to be at the school tonight as I'm running a Charity Quiz Night for the King's Lynn branch of Soroptimists International, which is held in the hall at the same school. Hopefully, I can arrange to go and take a look at how the project goes...

My World in 60 Seconds

We have had a few queries regarding the format of MINI DV that is needed for the MY WORLD IN 60 SECONDS competition entries.
This adds a slight complication for some possible entrants, but the reason that we have asked for this format is that we need the final "master tape" that is used on the big screens to retain as much as possible of the original picture and sound information. Other video formats would be compressed, which would remove picture detail and result in a lower quality video.
The other complication would be the problem of compatibility if we allowed entries on CD, DVD, USB sticks etc. We are taking your suggestions on board.
We appreciate the effort that anyone entering a video is going to make, but it will be well worth it to see your students' masterpiece in the centre of Manchester, Leeds etc.

Here is a 60 second video I shot this morning on the promenade at Hunstanton

Imagine that on a big screen: the quality would be fairly shocking (I know that it's been reduced for YouTube display, so perhaps I'm being slightly disingenuous, but you get the point :) )

For more details on MY WORLD IN 60 SECONDS, check out the GA WEBSITE

Geograph: 1 million up !

Back in 2005, I first mentioned a website called GEOGRAPH, which was attempting to collect an image for every grid square (1km x 1km) in the country.
Since then it has grown dramatically. Many colleagues have added their photos, sometimes occupying large swathes of their home area. A few selective images of mine were also added. Support was added by the ORDNANCE SURVEY, who could see the benefit of geolocating images which related directly to the OS MAPS that they produced.
A few days ago, the magic MILLIONTH image was uploaded to the website.
All the images are free to use in the Geography classroom.
Plenty of other resources are also available on the GEOGRAPH website, such as OS map symbol keys.

Well done to all involved in the site, and all the photographers who contributed towards the 1 MILLION plus images...

Sport by the Sea...

"You can only bring in kids from a certain radius and a lot of our radius is in the water. Any good fish out there?"

Sunderland boss Roy Keane carps on about the geographical restrictions placed on him.

From BBC Sport site

Feeling Hungry ?

The BBC have produced an interesting resource based around the global impact of FOOD PRICES.
This is an area which the GA are working on at the moment, in a project that I'm involved with.

What are your thoughts on the difficulties of, and the arguments for, teaching about the current issues of Global food supply, and local case studies.

Coming soon: Phase 3 and a new Website

More details soon...

Making Games Based Learning Work

One of my online networking 'chums' is Ollie Bray, who teaches at Musselburgh Grammar School in East Lothian.
I 'twittered' him (as you do) this week when he was down at the Handheld Learning Conference in London, and have managed to catch up with quite a few of the presentations and various information from the events that have been happening there via the web.
Ollie has now posted his presentation and it makes interesting viewing for those people who are perhaps interested, or even sceptical, about the use of gaming in the classroom.

Take a hike...

Early warning of an exciting chance to get involved in one of Dan Ellison's URBAN EARTH adventures.
The plan is to do a NIGHT WALK based around the GA Conference, which will take place in Manchester in April 2009.

Read about Dan's earlier walks in THIS ARTICLE in the Henley Standard.
More on the walk nearer the time...

Blog Action Day: Poverty

This post is for Blog Action Day on Poverty.
I spent the day today in Norfolk, just a couple of hundred yards from my old place of work, at the Students 4 Global Action conference. This was hosted by the Park High School, and organised by NEAD. It was good to work with Sandy Betlem again.

I ran 2 workshops exploring LOCAL CULTURAL DIVERSITY in the context of the local area, and the forthcoming Olympics. Below are a few of my slides, and the presentation will go up on Slideshare when it's been edited a little.The material was a combination from the GA's Teachers' Toolkit: Jenny Brassington's BRITISH OR EUROPEAN and John Widdowson's MOVING STORIES, and explored the idea of IDENTITY. Also a few slides from Tony Cassidy in there, and material from the WHO DO WE THINK WE ARE website.
What was their identity ?
What is Britain's identity ?
What is Norfolk's identity ?
There were some great, perceptive contributions from the students concerned, and there is a little more feedback to come when I get a moment.

It was also a chance to use my FLIP video camera...

I videoed some of the student work, and some of the Action Planning presentations that took place at the end of the day.

The link with Poverty is that some of the other workshops tackled this issue, and Christian Aid were presenting at the event.
More to come tomorrow, but it's late and still got a few other bits to do...

TGIF: a manifesto consultation

Newly up on the GA website is a consultation relating to the new MANIFESTO: Teaching Geography is Fundamental.
There are 4 questions.
Please visit and add your thoughts..

Geographers and the Social Web

The Social Web: New technologies in the Geography Classroom

Snippet from BECTa RESEARCH REPORT on the use of WEB 2.0 ("the social web")

The research found that over half of teachers surveyed believe that Web 2.0 resources should be used more often in the classroom. However, the majority of teachers questioned had never used Web 2.0 applications in lessons, despite being frequent users of technology in their personal and professional lives. Their main concerns involved a lack of time to familiarise themselves with the technology and worries about managing the use of the internet in class.

What use do you make of the social web ?

What barriers are there to its use ?

Probably a little early to start planning this yet, but if you have any thoughts on the issue, add a comment and it will feed in to a proposed session at the Geography Teacher Educators' Conference in Southport in January 2009.

Universal Declaration of Human Rights

What do you do when you have a text-based document which you want people to 'read' or be more aware of ?
One approach is to use animation. This wonderful piece of work by Seth Brau is an example of what could be done.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights from Seth Brau on Vimeo.


Diploma uptake

This BBC NEWS story suggests that there are fewer than 12 000 people registered for the new diplomas.

The content for the Diploma in Humanities and Social Sciences is currently being designed and developed by Creative & Cultural Skills, to be launched in schools for 2011. It aims to provide a new way of teaching Humanities and Social Sciences, offering learners an innovative way to access these areas through practical learning as well as theoretical teaching, which maintains the rigour of subjects but also offers a broad understanding in a multi-disciplinary context.
An online consultation has been launched to provide additional consultation with a wider range of stakeholders including teachers, the HE sector and employers.

A consultation is now underway, so if you want your say on the new diplomas, go to THE ONLINE CONSULTATION HERE.
More information on the diplomas is provided at this link (there are different surveys for different groups: if you are a teacher, take the teacher survey)

In April 2008, the Government announced its plan to develop Diplomas in humanities, languages and sciences that would be first taught in 2011.

What are Diplomas?
Diplomas have been designed for 14-19 year olds. They are broad qualifications which aim to develop the skills, knowledge and understanding necessary to prepare learners for further study, work and life.
“The Diploma is about learning a range of widely applicable skills and knowledge, set within a ‘specialised’ context – a specified group of sectors and subjects. The Diploma offers a unique blend of general and applied learning. Applied learning – acquiring knowledge and skills through tasks or contexts that have many of the characteristics of real work – is at the heart of the Diploma.” (The Diploma: an overview of the qualification, QCA, 2008)

The Consultation Process
The Diploma development process has been designed to ensure that all stakeholders have an opportunity to help shape the content for new qualifications that will meet the needs of young people and society. This survey aims to explore the extent to which existing humanities and social sciences qualifications meet the needs of learners, employers, teachers, those with a specific subject interest and Higher Education institutions. The Diploma development process is led by Creative and Cultural Skills, the sector skills council for the cultural industries. However, the research and consultation process is designed and managed by the Centre for Education and Industry at the University of Warwick. This research and consultation is funded by QCA.

21st Century Challenges

Nice new website launched by our Action Plan counterparts, the Royal Geographical Society. It explores some of the challenges facing us today, and has multimedia elements. To begin with, some resources on razing the rainforests and eco towns, along with details on London under Water and Concreting over the Countryside...

No more playing a round...

If you want to play the Old Course at St. Andrews, you'd better get a move on, as the course is being slowly eroded by the sea, and a recent report suggests that it will have disappeared by 2050.

This BBC NEWS article has the details.

Q. Why did the golfer wear 2 pairs of trousers ?

Handheld Learning Conference

Many geography teachers are encouraging students to use their handheld media devices, rather than telling them to "put that away"...

Handheld Learning 2008 Conference

Monday to Wednesday of this week sees the HANDHELD LEARNING CONFERENCE at the BARBICAN. Over 1000 delegates are attending, and some people that I know are amongst those presenting on how they make use of the range of devices that is now available.
Ollie Bray presents a session on:
A young leader’s perspective - making games based learning work in the secondary school’.
Check out OLLIE's BLOG (I've mentioned it before) for plenty more on Guitar Hero, Graphic Novels and other creative uses of the media in the classroom...

The Action Plan for Geography - are you taking advantage of it ?

Last week, I had a very useful chance to discuss the various aspects of the 2nd phase of the Action Plan for Geography with a range of people from Primary Headteachers to OFSTED / HMI.
Some visitors to the blog may not be aware of the support that is available for all UK geography teachers through the Action Plan, which is a major additional level of support in addition to all the existing Geographical Association projects. Below are some of the slides that I used in my presentation on the Action Plan. If there's anything here that you would like more information on, please get in touch !

Support for new Teachers

I was reading my GTC magazine at the weekend, and came across an interesting article.
According to a survey jointly commissioned by the GTC, 99% of teachers in their second year of teaching see themselves as 'very' or 'fairly' effective teachers. Strengths identified were forming relationships with pupils and good organisational skills.
They felt CPD opportunities are key to their continued progress. The area they most wanted to develop was their subject knowledge.

The report emphasises the importance of continuing indidually tailored CPD for new teachers beyond their first and second year, so that no beginner teachers are left unsupported during the first few years.

If you are in the first few years of teaching Geography, or you're an NQT or PGCE student and a GA member, please e-mail me via the GA website and I'll send you an invitation to join the NING social network that has been established by the Geographical Association to help early career teachers share information and find solutions to issues that may arise.

Urban Earth Ning

Urban Earth Ning has been launched by Dan Raven Ellison, a leading player in the field of participatory geographies.
The concept is to do a walk across an Urban Area and record it in some way. Dan uses a technique which involves him taking an image every 8 paces, and then using animation software to produce a continuous stream of stop-motion imagery.
Dan has already walked across London, Mumbai, Mexico City and Guadalajara, and the resulting videos are starting to emerge on the URBAN EARTH website. They were also featured in the Webwatch feature of the latest issue of GA MAGAZINE.

Join Dan in Bristol on the 15th of November.
Sign up to start your own walk.
Walk the walk...

Geography in the News

Danny Dorling and team's ATLAS OF THE REAL WORLD was featured on Radio 4's TODAY programme at the weekend, and there is a useful web page on the product HERE.

GPS Travel Tracker

Just ordered one of these.
Tracks your travels, and also used to GeoLocate your photos...
Export journeys to Google Earth
Good battery life.
Will let you know how I get on...

Dinosaur Park

A trip through history today: back in time millions of years to go walking with dinosaurs...

A perfect autumn day, with mist burning off to bright sunshine...

What do you call a one eyed dinosaur ?

Could this be you ?

The BBC are looking for nine people with a passion and an understanding of the natural world to take part in a new natural history series called To The Ends Of The Earth. In particular, they are looking for those who would love to explore, document and communicate the natural world and pursue an interest in Wildlife Filmmaking. Those selected will be given the opportunity to spend ten weeks in some of the most remote corners of the world as they face a number of training challenges with a view to winning a year's contract with the world famous BBC Natural History Unit to work on future productions. Anybody interested in applying should email the BBC for an application form and more information.

Applications will be accepted until Wednesday 26 November. Applicants must be over 18 and be UK residents.
For more information go HERE.


Ollie Bray has just completed a series of 5 posts on the use of the iPhone in education.
Plenty of exciting ideas here, and the applications that he mentions are all cheap !
Of course, you first of all need an iPhone and they aren't cheap... You can get them free on certain tariffs, but I don't have £500 a year to spend on my phone.
Of course, they may well come down in price.

Ollie will be doing some seminars at the Scottish Association of Geography Teachers conference in Edinburgh on the 25th of October, as will I. If you're coming along you'll also find me manning the GA stand in between times...

80 Days Revisited

Just had an e-mail from Michael Palin. Not a personal one, it was sent to all subscribers to his website: PALIN'S TRAVELS.

Eighty Days Revisited

A new look at an old adventure

In Eighty Days Revisited we may not be going back to the Reform Club or ballooning over the Rockies, but we will be returning to the scene of one of the best-remembered sequences of any of my travel adventures, the dhow journey From Dubai to Bombay, episode three of Around The World In Eighty Days. As we sailed agonisingly slowly down the Persian Gulf on board one of world's oldest surviving traditional sailing ships we formed a unique relationship with our Indian crew. Mutual incomprehension gradually gave way to friendship and affection, as we accepted the fact that our lives, and the success of our journey Around The World In Eighty Days was in the hands of this band of ragged, under-paid sailors from Gujerat.

After a week at sea together, I found our farewell at Bombay to be one of the most emotional moments on all of my travels. As I said on film at the time : "It's almost impossible to accept that I shall never see them again".

Well, twenty years after we waved each other good-bye in the crowded waters off Bombay I'm trying to prove that nothing is impossible by setting out on a search for the crew of the Al-Sharma.

With the same cameraman who shot the original dhow journey we shall re-visit Dubai and meet those who found us the dhow in the first place, and then on to Bombay, now Mumbai, to see if, in the intervening twenty years that great teeming city has changed in more than just name. From Mumbai we take the over-night train north and west to the little town on the Indian Ocean from where many of Al-Sharma's crew hailed.

What happens here is far from certain, but I'm hoping to make contact with as many as possible of my old ship-mates. If all goes well we'll renew a unique friendship by sitting down together to watch, marvel and laugh ourselves silly at our adventures of twenty years' ago, when, together, we made our slow but happy way from the Middle East to India.

This return journey, the first I've ever attempted, will be as much of a challenge as the originals. There are plenty of if's and but's on the way, but, for me, and hopefully for you, this promises to make Eighty Days Revisited all the more exciting.

Michael P, September 2008

Nice idea for ENQUIRY

By GA Secondary Phase Committee colleague David Rogers...

Enquiry poster
View SlideShare presentation or Upload your own. (tags: geography enquiry)


Don't forget this wonderful visualising tool...Here's the KS3 GEOGRAPHY PROGRAMME OF STUDY...
Make your own WORDLES.
What GEOGRAPHICAL USES can you think of for it ?
David Rogers has already done a blog post with some ideas HERE.

Let us know how YOU use WORDLE !!

Stephen Fry is following me...

...mind you, I'm also following him.
I know, for example, that today, he set off for a trip to Africa, and that he spent this morning drinking coffee and packing.
How do I know that ?
Because we both use TWITTER: a 'micro-blogging' tool which allows users to post to the web from the twitter website, or from their mobile devices, and share their response to the most basic of questions: what are you doing now ?

If you're already online, a quick TWEET is very easy to do.

To get the most out of TWITTER, you might want to download a free HANDBOOK.Tom Barrett, an avid user, and someone who I met at TEACHMEET08 has posted on the VALUE OF USING TWITTER, and there are lots of similar blog posts.

The COMMONCRAFT SHOW FOLK have produced this rather good YOU TUBE video:

It's also FREE of course ("my favourite price")

So what else could persuade you that this might be worth your valuable time ?
Well, Barack Obama is on Twitter...

and BBC Education team are on there....

Also check out TWITTERVISION: a 'mash-up' which displays TWITTER posts on a world map - compulsive for trivia lovers - can't guarantee that it'll all be 'suitable for work' as they say...