Christmas and New Year is often a time for excessive consumption of food, when people stock up as if the supermarkets will be closed for a month, rather than just a day or so.

Came across a TIME Magazine photo essay: WHAT THE WORLD EATS.

Winter Walk

Out for a walk earlier today round the local woods to get a bit of fresh air after 4 or 5 days of stuffing my face...
Now sat back by the fire stuffing my face.... ;)

Asteroid Impact...

This is being passed around the web a lot at the moment...

Risky World starter ?
Happy New Year !

New Stuart Maconie

One of my favourite "travel" books of recent years was Stuart Maconie's "Pies and Prejudice" about 'The North'.
Loking forward to March, and the release of his new book about Middle England...

Michael Palin

Don't forget Michael Palin's documentary tonight on BBC1: 20 years after "Around the World in 80 Days". If you missed it, it will be on iPlayer for a week or so after the broadcast.

Speaking of Dubai, just ordered this book from Amazon. Written by Mike Davis, who has written about cities elsewhere in the world.Been browsing some articles and blog posts which are related to the book, which relates to some themes in Doreen Massey's lecture that I attended last month.
This NEW LEFT REVIEW article is very interesting.

And finally, some rather nice piccies of the Alps courtesy of Val Vannet: from top to bottom they show: 
  • Thorens
  • Temperature Inversion
  • Moraines along the piste
  • Mont Blanc (1000 people have died trying to reach the summit of this mountain...)

Tilt Shift Style Photography

Tilt-shift style photography.
Some examples here.
I love the effect of miniaturising vehicles and people, combined with the enhanced colours.
From top to bottom: Sheffield, Hastings, Dartmouth and the Albert Dock in Liverpool.

Thanks to Danny Nicholson via TWITTER for tipping me off to the TILT SHIFT MAKER site, which produces a 'tilt-shift style' effect on your own photos by giving you a simple interface for deciding which bit of the photograph to keep in focus.

RGS Spring Bulletin

Got my RGS Spring Bulletin today
A few interesting events coming up in the next few months which I plan to attend...
There's a TERRA FUTURE event in late February which I'll take a closer look at.

Also plan to take in two Monday Evening Lectures for members.
The first is by Charley Boorman
The second is by Charlie English. Have just finished reading "The Snow Tourist"

Two interesting details in The Guardian’s Guide on Pop Culture. In the section on Futurology, looking at trends for 2009

“Location based digital services like geotagging are going to grow fast in 2009”


“Sites like allow for subject specific networks to be developed”...

Also later today, the institution that is the ROYAL INSTITUTION CHRISTMAS LECTURES begin on Channel 5. This year's lectures are on the theme of COMPUTERS and intelligence.

And finally, male teachers are more likely to have their lessons disrupted... Well that explains a lot...

The Trial of Alfred Wegener

Richard Allaway has taken an original idea of mine (which I did with my 6th form groups) and taken it to the next level.
The idea is that the students play the defence team trying to defend Alfred Wegener who is proposing the idea of PLATE TECTONICS. They could also play other roles.

Richard has reworked it as an activity for YEAR 9 PUPILS.
Give it a go...


Over to Woolworths to pick over the carcass. A sad day: the High Street will never be the same...
Pictures by my daughter...

What other changes in the retail landscape will we see in 2009 ?

Rural Earth

Noel Jenkins' homage to Dan Ellison's URBAN version... very nice...

Rural Earth from Noel Jenkins on Vimeo.


Yes, it's Christmas, so it's time for the return of the part-work...
The first one is just 99p (or something), but you then need to keep buying them for the next 10 months at £6.99 a week (or something)...

This one was the first one to hit the screens that I saw this year...

Wonder if there's a market for a geographically based part-work. Any suggestions ?

Oh, and Santa is on his way, as tracked by NORAD

Lost and Found

Just watched an instant classic Christmas animation to rival "The Snowman". This is one of my son's favourite books: by Oliver Jeffers, and the immediate sense of place invoked by the animation was remarkable. Loved the coastal village where the protagonist lived, and also the Antarctic animation, and that of the storm.
Interesting to see the inclusion of the rubber ducks, which have been circling the globe for over 15 years since falling off the back of a lorry, or rather container ship back in 1992.

Plenty more images and a preview trailer at the STUDIO AKA site.

Keep an eye out for the repeat on Boxing Day at 12.35 !!

Image copyright  StudioAKA

Gapminder: new features...

You can now compare the gap WITHIN COUNTRIES on GAPMINDER:
  • China
  • India
  • The EU
  • United States of America
Thanks to Bob Lang for the tip-off to this...
There's a PDF tutorial, and you can "share the maps that you create"...


This event will take place on the 5th of February in London.

GCSE Geography is changing and now is the time to plan and prepare for the new specifications and methods of assessment to be introduced in September 2009. This important national conference, in collaboration with the Geographical Association, is designed to help teachers of Geography - and Team Leaders in particular - to make sense of these far-reaching changes and decide the best way forward in their schools. The conference brings together the main Examining Boards to present their new specifications, providing delegates with up-to-date information and enabling them to compare and reconsider the alternatives on offer. In additon, a choice of workshops on topics relevant to the changes identify the key issues, benefits and challenges and provide tried and tested strategies and practical guidance on how best to develop Geography in your school. Geographical Association members are eligible for a discounted conference fee of £195 + VAT

I will be delivering the afternoon seminar on "Physical Geography at GCSE: a changing landscape"

Eco-friendly Font

Thanks to SLN user Trailblazer for leading me to the story about this new 'eco-friendly' font - apparently the tiny holes mean that you use less ink. It's a SANS SERIF font of course, as those little extras use up more ink...
It's FREE to download, and have just installed it. Looks a bit untidy when the text size is small, but prints OK.
Just have to stock up on my green ink now....
As Trailblazer suggests, this might be something that schools could use for all printing to help with their eco-friendly status.
Let's think this through a little more - a possible classroom activity:
The whole business of using a computer in the first place, and then printing materials is not particularly eco-friendly.
How could the impact of working in this way be reduced ?

That could be the basis for the enquiry which students are asked to research and present their action plans for... 

Thanks to Simon Renshaw for telling me about the PIC LENS / COOL IRIS add on for POWERPOINT (as long as you have the 2007 version)
Turns your slides into a 'picture wall' which you can browse through and select just as you can with FLICKR images. Here's a screenshot of my BEDFORD GIS presentation being viewed with the plug in....

Noel Jenkins has also done a demo of another cool tool which Geographers would find useful: RICH CHART, which can be embedded into GOOGLE EARTH placemarks, and produces a range of charts from fieldwork data or other sources.
Some creative ideas for Christmas !

Giant Map of Washington

President Obama's Inauguration

A giant map is being used to prepare the security services for the event on January 20th.  I read one report which suggests that an expected crowd of 4 million people will gather in a city which has a population of around half a million. To visualise the scale of the preparations, a giant map has been produced complete with buildings.
The excellent PRUNED blog has a post which provides lots of detail (and images) on this, as do various other familiar blogs.

One blog had a nice comment from Archie Delaney, which summed up the "retro" feel:

So much for the internet, the computer, and online mapping. At the end of the day, the boots on the ground want a map they can stand on.

Speaking of which, if you come to the GA Conference, you'll be able to see the excellent MAP OF SCOTLAND, which I saw up at the SAGT Conference in October.
MAPLAND SCOTLAND won an award in the non-book category. The GA won 2 book awards at SAGT: one of them for the Teacher's Toolkit, and one for 'Caring for our World'.

Video Games and the Credit Crunch

Who wants a Wii ?
A lot of people it seems....

Coming up to Christmas, while familiar high street names close the shutters for the last time, there are long queues in the game shops. I had to queue up the other day to buy... (oh, I'd better not say in case my daughter is reading this)

Ollie Bray has added an excellent post in this respect to his blog: on Video Game Trends

The embedded presentation contains a range of information that would be relevant to using this as a geographical case study.

This will probably form part of my LIVING GEOGRAPHY presentations at the regional conferences in 2009.
The first conference is in London in January, and will take place near Euston Station on the 27th of January.


Just been sent a link to this site, which has a "shift happens" style film, similar to several I've seen from various sources.

CRISP is/are the Consortium for Research In School Pedagogy.

Slumdog Millionaire

Image by Eric Schockmel under Wikimedia Commons

New film from Danny Boyle: "SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE"...

There's an associated feature in today's Observer, which looks at the area of Mumbai called Dharavi where the film was made...

There are some very useful descriptions of some of the inhabitants of the area, which could form the basis for classroom activities, and help to build up a picture for students.

Interesting detail on the financial surplus that Dharavi creates, which compares sharply with the huge debt that the UK has...

Other movies with associations with being filmed in 'slums':

City of God
Michael Jackson's video for "They don't care about us"- filmed in Rocinha
City of Men
Favela Rising
Line of Passage
The Constant Gardener
La Haine (?) - not quite slums...

Have I missed any ? 
How do colleagues use these films ?

Check the GEOGRAPHY PAGES page on Favelas.
How accurate is the portrayal of favelas ? (Guardian article)

This would fit in nicely as well with the materials on NEW INDIA that are available on the Geography Teaching Today website...

Barry Lopez

Just re-reading "About this Life" by Barry Lopez, one of my favourite authors since reading "Arctic Dreams" in 1987.
Passage in Chapter 8: "The American Geographies"

"Geography is... knowledge that calls up something in the land we recognise and respond to. It gives us a sense of place and a sense of community. Both are indispensable to a state of well being, an individual's and a country's..."

300 posts

Just pointing out an insignificant milestone: 300 posts on this blog since it was set up.
301 now...

Festive greetings to all visitors to the blog...

Living Geography

From the GA's ANNUAL REPORT HIGHLIGHTS 2007-8 which will be arriving in schools shortly.

The theme of LIVING GEOGRAPHY was present across a range of the GA’s activities during 2007-08, including various CPD projects and branch initiatives, and this trend looks set to continue in future years. ‘Living geography’ aims to engage teachers and pupils with the development of innovative and exciting learning, often starting with young people’s perceptions of their own local environment, and emphasising change in response to real problems and issues of regeneration and sustainable development. Living geography is concerned with enabling young people to envision futures and successful living geography projects help to forge new links between teachers and the local authorities, development agencies and such like.

This will be the theme of a range of CONFERENCES.

Speaking of conferences, £1 from every conference delegate at the GA Conference will go to the Katine Project

In October 2007 Guardian News & Media launched a three-year initiative - in partnership with the African Medical & Research Foundation (Amref) and Barclays - to support a community of 25,000 people in the Ugandan sub-county of Katine in overcoming the effects of extreme poverty, civil war and climate change.
Katine Project
The project is funded by donations from Guardian and Observer readers and Barclays, but it is more than just a fundraising push. On the Katine website you can read about how the money is spent, how development works and listen to the people of Katine share their views, watch films about the issues they face and things they do in their daily lives.

The project is focusing on five key areas, education, health, water, governance and livelihoods - find out more about each topic by following the links.

The GA will contribute £1 per paying delegate from the GA Annual Conference and Exhibition towards the project.

Poems for the Geography Classroom & Pimp your lesson

Have mentioned before that one of the nice things about my desk at the GA is that it is next to the shelves where review copies of resources arrive for featuring in GA journals.

Just been looking at a copy of Mark Cowan's book of poems for the geography classroom, which I've blogged about before. It's a great little book, and comes with a CD of the poems.
A Christmas stocking filler perhaps for the geography teacher in your life.

Another fun book I've just been flicking through is "PIMP YOUR LESSON" by Isabella Wallace and Leah Kirkman
P = Prepare
I = Innovate
M = Motivate
P = Perfect...


There is an interesting resource on the TIDE website

It's called CITIES AS A LENS TO THE WORLD. Features the work of Helen Griffiths, who is also involved in the YOUNG PEOPLE'S GEOGRAPHIES project of the Geographical Association.

Coming up in March 2009 is a conference for teachers to be held at the wonderfully named Thinktank Theatre, Millennium Point in Birmingham.
I will be leading a workshop session on "Developing Enquiry Skills" at the conference.

GA Christmas Meal

The GA "posse" hit the bright lights of Sheffield last night for the Christmas meal.
After cocktails at the Buddha Bar it was down to 23 Bar and Restaurant, winner of Restaurant of the Year 2008 in the EatSheffield Restaurant awards.

Then, after drinks at the Red Deer it was down to the Reflex behind Sheffield City Hall to boogie the night away...

...and now it's back to work - geography is for life not just for Christmas!

CfBT Events 2009

More details on these in the earlier post...

Lessons from History

The Geographical Association is not the only subject association... (although it is the best of course...)
Just been working on a project due to hit the web early next year, which deals with the teaching of controversial issues.
As part of this, did some other research.
Just been reading a project which was completed by the Historical Association.
The T.E.A.C.H project has a great acronymic name: it stands for "Teaching Emotive and Controversial History" 3-19
Historians find themselves teaching events such as the Holocaust, and also what are called "social, cultural, religious and ethnic fault lines within and beyond Britain"...
It is related to the issue of inequality and "unfairness".
The current FOOD CRISIS facing families in the UK and across the world is very uneven in its impact, and this is the basis for the work I am doing at the moment.
I'll keep you posted...

End of Year Photo Quiz

Thanks to GA colleague Frances Soar for passing on details of a British Red Cross end of year photo quiz to download.

Social Media

Put this here so that I can find it again. Although not ostensibly anything to do with geography -it's about advertising - it's related to the work that I've been doing to encourage communication and networking between teachers via the internet and try to develop the 'Living Geography brand'...
There are still some issues with this, but hopefully things are starting to change...
The Interwebs
View SlideShare presentation or Upload your own. (tags: media social)
Particularly useful are slides 4, 5, 18, 26 and 28, plus the whole "look" of the presentation.
Very nice resource with thanks to Slideshare user exitcreative


Another way of presenting images on FLICKR.
Spent some time today on a unit on FOOD, and here are some images from my FLICKR set on Food...

Created with Admarket's flickrSLiDR.

Try it with one of your own Flickr sets... (or even someone else's...)


There were a series of events last year relating to the new Key Stage 3, which helped teachers plan and then implement the new programme of study. National Subject leads David Rayner and Ruth Totterdell led a series of conferences, which ended up reaching around 900 geography teachers from Kent to Cumbria.
Some additional funding has now been made available to put on a further 6 events, which are targeting 6 areas of the UK where the take-up of the original events was not as high. These one day events, which will be FREE, will take place as follows, all in 2009 of course...
30th of January at The Russell Hotel, Maidstone, Kent
9th of February at The Derbyshire Hotel, South Normanton, Derbyshire
12th of February at Bishop Grosseteste University College, Lincoln
23rd of February at The Wessex Royale Hotel, Dorchester, Dorset
3rd of March at The Quality Hotel, St Albans, Hertfordshire
26th of March at The Radisson SAS Hotel, Durham
The largest of these events has space for 35 teachers, so book early if you are interested in taking part. We will be posting invitations to these free events to all Heads of Geography in these LAs. The events will be advertised on the GA web site A flyer for the KENT event, the first one to take place is shown below:

Book early...

Iberian connections....

One of the (many) interesting things that has happened over the last three months has been the number of international connections I have made through the various job-related networks. These have included connections with Australia, Singapore, Dubai and France, and more recently with Portugal.
The GEOFACTUALIDADES blog of my latest chum Pedro Damiao has links to many useful resources, and even if you can't speak Portuguese,  a click of the links will still take you to some interesting places, many of them familiar to UK geographers...

There's no need to be afraid

It's Christmastime....
Walk into any city centre shop and the usual Christmas music is playing on repeat...

A superb idea was added to the SLN Geography Forum earlier today by Andrew Boardman. It's to take the lyrics of Band Aid: Do they know it's Christmas ?, and to reappraise them, and assess their accuracy to what 'Africa' is actually like... Will there really be "no snow in Africa this Christmas" ? or "no water flowing" ?
The original single was released in 1984, with another version Band Aid 20 in 2004: 20 years on. Were the lyrics of the remake any better ?

The original video can be seen here, thanks to YouTube....

The World Development Movement have already criticised the lyrics (some years ago now) for their portrayal of African communities, and the apparent 'reasons' for poverty.

This is a nice way in to the portrayal of places in the media, and how the choice of images can influence opinion: something that OSOCIO is always challenging.

Other resources worth checking include a minute by minute reminder of the LIVE AID concert that followed the single, in 1985...
Any other song lyrics that could be examined in this way ?


Discovered a new word today: to stravaig, which is Scottish vernacular for "to wander aimlessly"....
I recommend a little stravaiging now and again... Perhaps in life, perhaps of a weekend, perhaps online... 

There are plenty of image sets on Flickr relating to the idea of Stravaiging...Check out this excellent image from Flickr user WORLD OF JAN (under Creative Commons)
It shows the lower slopes of Sgurr Dearg on the Isle of Skye, which I climbed a few years BC (before children), when I used to do a lot more climbing in the Scottish Highlands. The day ended with conquering the Inaccessible Pinnacle... Spectacular landscapes...


Just came across this particularly good logo: for LOCH NESS....

Does anyone else know of any particularly good LOGOS with a GEOGRAPHICAL theme to them ?

New Flash Interactives...

....have now been added to 2 of the KS3 units on the GEOGRAPHY TEACHING TODAY website.
There are 3 in total.
The first is one which looks at FLOOD TYPES

The second is called PREPARING FOR FLOODING: mouse over the objects in the house for
 some details on how to reduce the flood damage.

My favourite is the 3rd one, which is in the TEENAGE CONSUMERS activity. Which decade did these objects become popular...

Would fit nicely with my old Pilot GCSE CULTURAL OBJECTS lesson.... - in fact, just had a quick browse through some of the 600 odd posts on that Pilot GCSE blog and there's some cracking stuff there !  I'm sure a lot of it would be relevant to the new OCR 'A': something for the holiday will be to go through and extract the relevant posts and make a list....

Climate Change: I can change the future

I have spent part of today going back over the e-mails that I have received over the last month or so, and putting them into folders: a spot of 'housekeeping' is good now and again. The aim was also to follow up some e-mails which I perhaps needed to revisit: the Geographical Association is now involved in so many projects that it's impossible to keep all of them in your head at the same time.
There are also requests almost every day from members and the general public for information on geographical themes including (just from the ones that I have been involved with): university applications, the GAIA theory, Eden Project conferences, GIS queries, help with dissertations,
 suggestions for suitable books to buy and numbers of geography teachers.
One invitation which I was unfortunately unable to take up was to attend a Climate Change conference at the Eden Project in October. I have just been doing a little searching for information on how the event went.

Dartmoor National Park authority have produced what looks to be a very useful travelling exhibition on the theme, which was set up for the duration of the conference.

I visited the Eden Project in Summer 2008, and below are a few of my images. The big bee was my son's favourite bit, and he's called Bombus.*
* - the bee, not my son....

An Ideal Christmas Present...

....for the Geographer in your life.


Cartophilia could be defined as "the love of maps", and obviously as a geographer I would have to say that I have a definite soft spot for them, and also plenty of book shelves full of them too...
Earlier today, spent some Christmas gift tokens on the Onion's OUR DUMB WORLD: Atlas of Planet Earth, and while browsing for a suitable image to add to this blog post, I came across the CARTOPHILIA BLOG.

This has a huge variety of interesting posts on the topic of maps in their various guises - plenty of thought-provoking images and avenues to while away an evening exploring.

Via CARTOPHILIA, I came across the equally fascinating CREATIVE MAPPING blog, which has some great content as well.
For example, here's JEREMY WOOD's work called MAPPING THE WAY, which features an image made up of a large number of separate GPS tracks. This is an activity which geography teachers have completed separately and called it 'geography' rather than 'art' but it shows the possibility for cross over...

Another geographically-related project was one on PERSONAL GEOGRAPHIES. This looks at SHARED JOURNIES, and involved a geography teacher - some very nice images here too. 
Also, if you live in London, a chance to participate in another "PERSONAL" MAPPING PROJECT.

Incidentally, going to the ONION's website shows you their GOOGLE EARTH layer for the OUR DUMB WORLD resource.

Becoming a Geography Teacher....

Continuing my occasional series on "sections of the GA website that you might not have realised were there, but are actually really useful"... is the BECOME A TEACHER section.
This contains a range of advice for those considering teaching geography, including video interviews with PGCE students, and details on how to apply.
Check it out !

Digital Literacy and Education

Just reading the report referred to in this blog post, and thinking about the impact for geography teachers and educators.
It's a report commissioned by the SQA. (PDF download)

It has a lot of interesting things to say about the possible impact of digital literacy on the nature of learning in the future, in particular the extent to which students transfer the skills they will bring with them to their learning, and the opportunities that are made available by institutions to the young people who arrive in them.
I particularly like the ecosystem diagram, which shows the relationship between:

ACTIVITIES: Real world things that people need to do...
TOOLS: Software applications that enable or generate activities... (some of which may not be related to the use that they are eventually put to...)
COMPETENCIES: Capability to choose and use tools to perform activities...

At which point does the teacher come in ?
Which particularly geographical activities, tools and competencies are we anticipating providing ?

There goes my geog-cred....

Send your own ElfYourself eCards

Christmas Pt. 2

Following on from my earlier post on Christmas resources, Tony Cassidy has come up with another winner...
Head over to Tony Cassidy's RADICAL GEOGRAPHY for more Christmas resources, and to download this essential Christmas homework. Another quality Cassidy production....
Where's Christmas from ? 

Shirley near Southampton

An excellent audio-visual SLIDESHOW of a High Street, part of an excellent resource (try the tabs) on the BBC Magazine page.
Living Geography is happening on your High Street right now. Why not go down there and come back with a photostory: no more than 5 images, capture your High Street, before it disappears....

I've set up a FLICKR GROUP called "The Disappearing High Street", and kick started it with a few images from HUNSTANTON. 

Add your pictures...

Britglyph Project

Received an e-mail from Lawrence about the BRITGLYPH project.

·         Guerrilla art is old news and the Turner Prize means nothing to the man on the street

·         A new project is creating a unique piece of ‘user generated art’ that anyone across Britain can contribute to

·         Using the gizmo we all have, a phone, the ‘Britglyph’ project records pictures taken at locations across the UK, forming an image on the map

·         A digital dot-to-dot in simple terms

·         There are 63 locations around the country that will make up the Britglyph

The project website is live.

It's a modern take on the idea of geoglyphs, such as the Cerne Abbas giant. 

Check out the website for more details...

Real or fake ?

Christmas trees that is...
Just finished decorating our tree: went for a Nordmann this year as it had the better shape, and looks like a proper 'grown up' tree.
Helen Nurton has produced a perennial favourite mystery, which you can get from her 4SHARED folder: Artifical or Real tree ?

Turkey blog, in time for Christmas....

One good thing about the blog map is that it tells you where people have come from to get here, and where they go to next. It seems I have a fan in Istanbul, at the blog below - you're very welcome - GeographyJazz is also on the blogroll, along with a load of other UK based geography blogs...

Manchester NO VOTE to Congestion charge...

Earlier today, Manchester said NO to a proposed CONGESTION CHARGE scheme for the city.
The scheme would have involved a large area of the city, inside the M60 motorway becoming a zone where motorists would be charged to enter.

So it looks like a congested drive into Manchester next April for the GA CONFERENCE. The programme is taking shape nicely, and you can register as a delegate via the GA site.
I hope to see many of you there.

It's grim down South....

A very useful Independent article about the problems of RURAL DEPRIVATION. It follows a report by the COMMISSION FOR RURAL COMMUNITIES.

Turns out that large parts of Norfolk fall into this category.
Here's a RURAL Norfolk image I took earlier today, as part of my FROSTY ramble home: see earlier post.
And another one illustrating one aspect of the change that is happening in many rural communities: the closure of the village pub.

Jamie Buchanan Dunlop courses...

Cheeky little "Geo-Blogging" course by Jamie B-D being offered at the RGS.
Also keep an eye out for some more GOOGLE EARTH courses in the new year. Still room in Cardiff, Exeter and Manchester.

The art of getting lost...

"You're lost without geography" the classroom display label says....

Today I deliberately went left instead of right after dropping the kids off at school. 

The title of this post is also a good book by Rebecca Solnit. One newspaper report on this book includes the following interesting quote:

Not long ago in the Adirondacks on the summit of Mount Marcy, New York's  highest mountain, a wilderness ranger was taken aback when a hiker whipped out a cellular phone to call his office more than 300 miles away in Manhattan and report: "I'm not feeling well. I can't make it in to work today."

Is it possible to get lost with today's available technology ?

It was a very frosty morning today, so I took my camera with me on the school run, and decided to take a different route home than the one I use 99% of the time. I took some pictures on the way home, and a few are added below: more for you to use on my FLICKR page.

Try it today - take a different route home and take 3 images of things that you've never noticed before. See the new in the familiar...

I also noticed just now that yesterday was the first day that I hadn't made a blog post since the 1st of September: shows how tied up I was in sorting through various writing projects which are due to be completed before Christmas...

Food Security

Just working on some materials that will also become one of the workshops that I am running at the GA Conference in 2009

Controversial Global Issues: Resourcing the Food Crisis
Geographers occasionally have to tackle controversial issues in the classroom. Food security is an evolving issue, which impacts on everybody. The GA has worked with Oxfam on a CPD unit for this topic. We’ll tell the story of the resource, which is hosted on the GTT website and provides ready-made lessons, and a toolkit of approaches for taking things further.

John McLaverty is Education Practice Project Manager at Oxfam GB
Alan Parkinson is Secondary Curriculum Development Leader at the GA

Hope to see some of you there...

Fieldwork Session for GA Sheffield Branch

Rapid erosion in Alaska

NINGS: help with getting them unblocked....

We are aware that some schools are having a problem with having NING sites blocked, which means that networking is having to be done in the teachers' own time.
For that reason, we have produced a letter which can be downloaded from the main GA network site.
This can be used when approaching those responsible for local authority filtering policies to encourage them to remove the block on school use. Please also tell us of success stories where you have been able to change the policy, so that we can highlight this to other teachers.
Here is the text of the letter, which is available as a PDF from the link above....

Information re: Geographical Association and Geography Champion NING Network sites

The Geographical Association exists to “further the teaching and learning of geography”. One important aspect of this work is encouraging teachers to form networks: whether local or regional, and to engage with national opportunities. This represents one aspect of CPD, and encourages the development of a community of practice.

As part of the Action Plan for Geography, a government funded initiative which has invested in school geography and spawned a wide range of projects, the Geographical Association has created a number of online networks to offer an additional level of support for geography teachers.

We have created a new online “virtual professional network”, which makes use of a web platform called a NING. This is also used by some people for what is known as “social networking”. In many local authorities, these sites are categorised as being in the BLOCKED category along with blogs, e-Bay, Forums and gaming sites.

We would like you to unblock these sites for use by teachers in schools which are involved with the Geographical Association networks. This is not a blanket relaxing of the filtering which obviously has its purpose, but hopefully a recognition that these sites are not ‘chat rooms’ for teachers, but form an important part of their professional development and provide mutual support at a time of major curriculum change.

The networking sites that have been created have the following URLs: – the Geographical Association’s network – the Primary Geography Champions’ network – the network for NQTs and PGCE Geographers

We would be grateful if you would consider making these sites available to schools that contact you with this request. If you would like any further information, please feel free to contact Alan Parkinson at the GA by phone: 01142960088 or e-mail:


Professor David Lambert

Chief Executive, Geographical Association

Teachers should be able to use the NINGS for professional networking and CPD.

"The quality of an education system cannot exceed the quality of its teachers."
Michael Barber