Tuesday, 30 September 2008

Geo School Report

The BBC have teamed up with the GA to offer a chance for students to get involved in the SCHOOL REPORT initiative. This has been organised by David Rayner, who provided the following press release:

The BBC News School Report and the GA have teamed up to create a unique opportunity for geography teachers and their KS3 pupils – the chance to create an online news report, a podcast or a video news clip which will be linked nationally to the BBC News School Report website with the chance to have it broadcast live on local/national radio or tv on March 26th 2009. Full details and teacher resource packs are available from:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/school_report/default.stm

Sign up today and showcase what you and your KS3 geography pupils can do!

A Ning (social networking website) has been set up to offer teachers taking part in the project the chance to ask questions and to provide advice and support for each other. You can access this at:
http://geoschoolreport.ning.com/


The only time I'll probably appear in the "Court and Social" section of 'The Times'.

Primary Champions

Could you be a Primary Geography Champion ?

Are you:

- Passionate about geography as a subject and about the teaching and learning of quality primary geography?
- Enthusiastic about leading and developing existing or new networks of primary teachers?
- Familiar with the aims of the Action Plan for Geography (APG) and the values of the Geographical Association?

The second phase of the DCSF funded Action Plan for Geography will involve the creation of up to 54 Geography Champions across the nine regions of England over the next three years to lead and support local networks of primary teachers.

Benefits include:

-Freedom to identify your local agenda and needs
-A free start up pack of geography resource materials
-Free entry to the GA annual Conference
-£180 per day to cover preparation and administration time used on the project
-Free CPD and opportunities for accreditation
-Access to a dedicated networking website
-Additional funding for special events

Visit the GA website for further information and application forms to download...
www.geography.org.uk/champs

I was in a meeting 2 weeks ago when the project was discussed, and this is an excellent opportunity for the excellent work being done in many primary schools to be showcased and celebrated, and for teachers to be involved in further CPD opportunities.

Monday, 29 September 2008

London 2012 Handover...

Embedded here so that I can access it for something later...



and here's the Paralympic handover...

World Food Day - 16th October

While browsing some materials on food related topics for a forthcoming project, discovered that the 16th of October is WORLD FOOD DAY.
This is in association with the FAO: the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations.
This a time when a lot of scrutiny is being placed on food prices and the rise of issues such as BIOFUELS.

Do something on this day...

How about getting involved in the 4 A WEEK CAMPAIGN ?

Wordle

If you have used WORDLE
Listen to this MP3 file which has an interview from the creator: Jonathan Feinberg. You can also download a transcript. Interestingly, given the use that a lot of people seem to be putting it to: to spot trends in text documents in terms of the frequency of words that appear, this is something that Jonathan distances himself from. "It's just a toy."

Here's my SLF08 Wordle based on my blog posts from SLF workshop.
http://wordle.net/. Images of Wordles are licensed Creative Commons License.

What uses can you think of for Wordle ?

The Atlas of the Real World: Mapping the Way we Live

Had the privilege of looking at an advance copy of the book in the previous post this morning. I will blog more about this once the book has been published, but it's a print-based version of the very useful WORLDMAPPER site, plus additional material.

For more STRANGE MAPS (and wonderful ones too), check this blog, which had a wonderful device on a recent post:
It's a very early 'sat nav', which the user presumably scrolled through as they made their journey. Not so good if there was a detour though...
I bought a Garmin SatNav for my new job, to which some people said "you're a geographer - what do you need one of those for ?", but actually, when you're trying to find Manchester University in the rush hour you can't be unfolding streetmaps at the wheel...

Sunday, 28 September 2008

WorldMapper in print

The superb WORLDMAPPER maps will be available in a hardback ATLAS OF THE REAL WORLD from next week. I've seen a preview copy that came into the GA headquarters, and it's a superb resource.

Available from AMAZON.

Read this article from the TIMES MAGAZINE.
Check out the new "morphing" animation map between land area and population on the Worldmapper site.

Saturday, 27 September 2008

Living Geography Conferences

Huge discount for GA members
My first conference KEYNOTES coming up... (no pressure then...)

Neil Winton Presentation from SLF

Trying to present some of the nice ideas from SLF 2008.
Here's Neil Winton, who was at Teachmeet, and also had a very nicely put together presentation on Wikis. Check out SLIDE 16 in particular....

SLF2008 Wikis (Simplified)
View SlideShare presentation or Upload your own. (tags: slf08 slf2008)




And if you couldn't make it to the keynotes, check out the LTSCOTLAND VIDEOS.

Friday, 26 September 2008

FLASHMEETING


Got 3 hours free (or a chunk of it ?)
You can watch the FLASHMEETING webcast of the Teachmeet2008 event at the Scottish Learning Festival by clicking the image above to follow the link...
Fast forward part the way through to catch my NING input and discussion from participants on Flashmeeting (or skip past it quickly...)
Happy to follow up with anybody about the use of NINGS to develop networks.
Images on FLICKR from the meeting, and also LTS have put up a lot of additional images from keynotes.

BTW, did anyone get any pictures of my NING bit ? I forgot to ask someone to take some in the rush that was my 7 minutes...

"All we need to do, is keep talking...."


Blogosphere map

Still following up the dizzying set of avenues to follow after the TEACHMEET.
One of the presentations I didn't get the chance to hear was Theo Kuechel's presentation on Canaletto and contextualising digital assets.
Exploring Theo's DIGITAL SIGNPOSTS blog, I came across this excellent post on teachers working IN ISOLATION.
A few brief extracts that caught my attention on why teachers continue to work alone....

Is it through choice or by design? Perhaps a bit of both, a hangover from a 19th (20th) century transmissive model of learning, that takes place in closed spaces, which dictate the pedagogy; offering, (until very recently), little or no means of communication with; peers, the class next door or the outside world. Simultaneously, the discrete nature of ‘subjects’ allied with the, (perfectly justifiable), pride in being an acknowledged expert' in a subject or field, may encourage teachers to see themselves as independent and self reliant. Nothing wrong with that of course. Finally, and most importantly, the expectations of the diverse stakeholders in the education system, that include government, its curriculum and testing, together with parents and employers in turn influenced by media perceptions and representations of education and learning, will exert pressures to maintain the status quo.
One of the key aspects of my new role at the GA is to build professional networks to try to reach those teachers who are still unaware of the support mechanisms that exist out there with the rise of the "social web". It can also get a little time consuming and exhausting to follow up leads.

For example, how about Alan Levine's 50 WAYS TO TELL A STORY post at CoGDOGBLOG (complete with mp3 download) - you don't just have to look at GEOGRAPHY sites to find useful content...

Let's keep talking...

To finish, here's a lyric that sprang to mind as I wrote this post:

I'm in a groove now
Or is it a rut?
I need some feedback
But all the lines are cut

from the song "Face Up" on the album 'Counterparts' by Rush (Lyrics: Neil Peart)

Get some feedback, open the lines of communication...

More Scottish Learning Festival stuff...

Always a pleasure to see Ollie Bray...
Here is a link to his Slideshare version of a presentation he gave at SLF...

Thursday, 25 September 2008

This is a super idea, and one that I will definitely be featuring at SAGT in my seminar !
Imagine this as a homework activity for a group of students: find an album cover with an image which you can geo-locate, and explain the geographical significance of it too. OK, it will probably have to be a CD cover, but take a few LPs into school so that the students can say "wow, they're huge !" The images could be of buildings or a landforms: off the top of my head I can think of the cover of 'Tubular Bells' (but which beach was that ?), Dave Lee Roth's 'Skyscraper' with him on a vertical wall (but which one ?)

Time to get out the albums from my loft and see if I can geo-locate some of them.

Someone is already ahead of the game though. The WORD MAGAZINE ALBUM ATLAS is a great idea which has already got quite a large number of albums geo-located on GOOGLE MAPS. Here's an example from David Hepworth (THE David Hepworth ?) of the Pink Floyd album "A Momentary Lapse of Reason", the cover of which featured a load of beds on a beach, but which beach ?

One album that I knew I could find fairly easily was The Stranglers' album: "Norfolk Coast", the cover of which was shot on Hunstanton beach, 4 miles from home.

Here's an image I took during the Summer of the seaweed covered rocks the band stands on.

And here is the album: added to the ATLAS...
Why not add your own and get your students to add one of theirs.
Back up into the loft for more LPs....

More on Teachmeet

When I had my interview for my new job, I referred to this model of CPD as one that should be transferred to south of the border.

Teachmeet has grown dramatically since the first get-together. The idea is simple: get teachers together to share an idea that HAS to have been used in the classroom, NO SALES PITCHES, NO POWERPOINTS (all content has to be web based)

"Crowd sourcing" is a key aspect of the organisation of these events: they are beyond the capacity of one person to create and organise, although having said that, clearly the energy of Ewan McIntosh has played a large part in their success.

I was intrigued by one of the sponsors: the website TUTPUP contains flash-based games which teach basic mathematical processes. This sounds like something that would be helpful for my daughter.

At the end, as Ewan left he challenged Stephen Heppell to take on the job of organising the Teachmeet at BETT. Stephen has been heavily involved with thinking on the places and spaces that people learn, and the influence that can have on the pedagogical practice.

There was a promising GEOGRAPHY component to the teachmeet: it was included in more than just my presentation, and even concluded with the classic WHERE THE HELL IS MATT video.
Here's my ANIMOTO thing...

Val on the Smartboard

On the Smartboard stand, Val Vannet of the High School of Dundee presented some great ideas for using Smart Notebook 10 software to carry out VIRTUAL FIELDWORK. Unfortunately, I missed the end to go and catch a keynote, so missed out on the chance to get a free t-shirt.

'VIRTUAL FIELDWORK': using the features of the Smart Notebook 10 software.

It involved embedded video, layering of objects, drag and drop, teacher toolkit materials, image layering and fading and lots of other creative ideas..

Charles Leadbeater

One of the Thursday Keynotes was by Charles Leadbeater who wrote the book "We-Think"

The Keynote was fully booked, and took place in a packed Clyde Auditorium.
LTS kindly added some images to a FLICKR page.
Image: Creative Commons

The key messages were related to personalising learning and building networks.

"Passionate small communities" was a phrase that recurred several times through SLF2008.

The description in the 'brochure' gave a sense of what Charles talked about....

In this keynote address, Charles will discuss:

  • What is personalised learning? From theory to practice
  • What does personalisation mean for collaboration?
  • Future models of learning.

The key messages that will come across from this keynote address will include: Personalised learning is not a utopian concept. Rather it can be done in practice. It solves problems rather than being ideological and it is not about viewing young people as consumers. The aim of personalised learning should be to turn young people and parents into investors in learning, providing choice and voice as a route to motivation and commitment. Young children should therefore be regarded as the great untapped resource of the learning system.

He will further argue that the building blocks of schools can become obstacles and therefore schools cannot act alone but need to collaborate. The discussion will also consider why collaboration needs to begin with pre-school and also includes external school influences.

Charles will also speculate about the future of learning asking pertinent questions such as:

  • What if the curriculum changed each month, tailored to different places and people?
  • What if education were organised like computer games? Or eBay?
  • What if there was mass peer-to-peer, self-organised learning?
  • And if it does look like this, what does it take to lead that?

Finally, he will identify some of the key challenges for Scotland in the context of Curriculum for Excellence and Glow.

Loved the YouTube anecdote, and the person in the audience who had the quick thinking to find the clip...

The I CAN generation...

Importance of relationships, and the work of Derek Wise at Cramlington School

Learning "with" others...

Watch the presentation at the LTSCOTLAND site

Ewan's Seminar @ SECC

Ewan McIntosh

Channel 4

21st Century Professional Networking: 10.30 at SECC


Blogged as it happened by "the geek at the back who's the only one with a laptop open..." ;)

Any errors in the semantics of what Ewan said are entirely mine...

Referred to Richard Teese Keynote from yesterday: "If you're a teacher you need a personal and professional network."
Proving that it works is an issue: no data which actually supports the idea that it's "worth it"
If used, it changes practice for the better. The users "know" that it does.

Not too many tools mentioned.
3 tools included, and "6 weeks deadline" to do it or you'll never do it...
Trying to satisfy students with the same materials that had been used in the 1980's - need to move the curriculum / pedagogy on...
"Don't tell the dinosaurs the meteors are coming "

BECTa research on use of social media (interviewed hundreds of learners)
Co-ordinating activity (and firming up plans)
News Map: Worldmapper.... 90% of AV output from LA based media

School closure campaigns: Facebook

Networking
Showed connections relating to the media and the classroom....
Media literacy: can't edit the Internet: once up it stays up....
Teachers as gatekeepers can be negative: look at technology or new pedagogy
Writing a small aspect of the way that people communicate.
Gatekeepers can also OPEN the gate as well as CLOSE it.
Digital immigrants / natives nonsense - children didn't grow up with the internet as it exists now
Everyone STILL has to learn.
Number 1 factor is the teacher.
The quality of an education system cannot exceed the quality of its teachers.
S. Korea / USA - recruitment of graduates into the teaching profession: action research - teachers need to be involved in their profession and pedagogy.

The only way to improve outcomes is to improve instruction.

Delivering for every child
Concern about the middle band: "only got 3 colours of paper..."

1. Ordinary tools, extraordinary effects
Tanya Byron mentioned that the technology itself is not transformative
Clay Shirky: technologically boring tools create change...
E-mail...
Filtering: also mentioned at Teachmeet: breaking up words, spelling errors...
"Small passionate communities" - online communities of practice
GLOW: small 'villages'

Digital media
Tagging: the new 'filing'... Media literacy: not safety

Small passionate groups creating themselves...
Geography: different new geographies...

For more, check out the SLIDECAST on SLIDESHARE...

Wednesday, 24 September 2008

Teachmeet 2008

Currently sat in a Holiday Inn in Glasgow drinking a bottle of Peroni and watching Jeremy Paxman doing his usual 'bit' on Newsnight...
Earlier tonight, it was the 10th (Ewan told us about a clandestine meeting in Saskatchewan) Teachmeet which was held in the Forth room (not the fifth...) at the SECC 'Armadillo'. I tried to take a decent picture earlier, but it was a bit grey, and then when I came out it was a bit dark, so here's a nice FLICKR pic instead.This rather impressive pic by FLICKR user innoxiuss made available under Creative Commons

There was a great atmosphere at the Scottish Learning Festival today. If you scroll down, you'll see the ANIMOTO I was going to use but sort of forgot. Did a quick thing on NINGS.
A good (but LONG!) day.
Charles Leadbeater KEYNOTE tomorrow...
Good to see OLLIE BRAY as well today.
Will blog more tomorrow (free WI-FI at SLF...mmmm....)

North of the border...

Yesterday, I used BBC iPlayer to listen to Hardeep Singh Kholi exploring the Scottish border in the first of a 2 part Radio 4 documentary (catch the second part this coming Monday). He started on the coast by the railway line which hugs the east coast near Berwick on Tweed and follows the route of the A1.

And a few hours ago, I passed that very same spot, and entered Scotland, heading up on the East Coast mainline to Glasgow and the SCOTTISH LEARNING FESTIVAL.
Earlier, went through MORPETH, which was badly hit by flooding in August, and also caught sight of the Angel of the North up on the skyline.
Image thanks to Louise Holman: a park in Morpeth, the marks on the grass slope are where the flood waters reached, and then receded from - the highest mark is near the top of the slope...

Tuesday, 23 September 2008

Another free download...

While you're in a downloading mood, you should also grab a copy of the latest issue of MAPPING NEWS, which is produced by the ORDNANCE SURVEY and sent out to all schools. Click the front cover image below to DOWNLOAD.Once again there's a big GA connection here, with details on a range of GA / OS / BECTa projects relating to GIS in the GEOGRAPHY CLASSROOM, and in the new GCSEs, and also some work by Tom Biebrach: chair of the GA's SECONDARY COMMITTEE.

GA Magazine


Latest issue now available to download from GA website.
Features items on:
  • What does the GA do ? (as you can tell from this blog, we do a LOT !)
  • An exploration of Geography within the curriculum by Professor David Lambert
  • Details on Conference 2009
  • Background to the Quality Marks
  • A report from Helen Cowlan in Brunei
  • Details on new resources for geography teachers
  • Primary Geography focus
  • My regular 'Webwatch' feature

Make sure you have a copy of this....

It's been very popular.
You can download a copy from the GA's WEBSITE by following the link (PDF download)

Monday, 22 September 2008

Teachmeet: Meme Me....



Here is my Animoto 'movie' thingy for Teachmeet 2008...

I did a quick 'riff' on using Nings to network, and how they are used for Professional Development.

Will also do a quick demo of NINGS and their features...

Saturday, 20 September 2008

Quality Geography

The GA runs the SECONDARY GEOGRAPHY QUALITY MARK.

The Key Stage 3 Secondary Geography Quality Mark is a framework which has been developed by the Geographical Association to enable subject leaders to raise the standards of geography in school, supporting the teaching of quality geography and promoting department leadership and management.

The overarching strength of the Quality Mark is its capacity to act as an effective 'lever of change' for the development of geography in the schools that take part. Undertaking the Quality Mark engages all staff in the department in a process of reflection about how well the department is achieving its aims and where its priorities lie. The template is based on the whole school Self-Evaluation Form (SEF), well-honed by Ofsted, thus matching the generic SEF which each head teacher goes through annually in reviewing the school's work. Nothing could be more relevant to a subject leader's consideration of how to act next, to improve his or her department.

The whole team takes part in an ongoing process of curriculum review, identifying priorities for departmental CPD, sharing good practice around a framework for encouraging creative and critical thinking about curriculum making and developing a dynamic, relevant KS3.

The latest schools to be awarded the SECONDARY QUALITY MARK are:

  • Allerton Grange School, Leeds, West Yorkshire
  • Aylesbury High School, Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire
  • Bishop Justus C of E School, Bromley, Kent
  • Cardinal Newman Catholic School, Hove, Sussex *
  • Dover Grammar School for Girls, Dover, Kent
  • Drayton Manor High School, London
  • Eggars School, Alton, Hampshire
  • The FitzWimarc School, Rayleigh, Essex *
  • Hadleigh High School, Ipswich, Suffolk *
  • Hardwick Middle School, Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk *
  • Hindley Community High School, Wigan, Lancashire
  • King Edward VI Five Ways, Birmingham *
  • Oldbury Wells School, Bridgnorth, Shropshire
  • Riddlesdown High School, Purley, Surrey
  • Sedgehill School, London
  • Sir Joseph Williamson's Mathematical School, Rochester, Kent
  • St John Fisher Catholic High School, Stoke on Trent, Staffs *
  • Stopsley High School, Luton, Bedfordshire *
  • Tendring Technology College, Frinton-on-Sea, Essex
  • The High Arcal School, Sedgley, West Midlands *
  • The Queen Katherine School, Kendal, Cumbria
  • Thorpe St Andrew School, Norwich, Norfolk

  • This time, schools have also been able to put themselves forward as a "CENTRE OF EXCELLENCE". The schools on the list above that are marked with an asterisk * have achieved this additional recognition
    In July I was involved in the moderation process, and experienced some outstanding examples of quality geography.
    I hope to visit some of these schools over the next year...
    If you would like to apply for the Quality Mark, contact Justin Woolliscroft or Julie Beattie at the GEOGRAPHICAL ASSOCIATION.

    Learning from others...



    One of the important things we all must do is to keep abreast of what other creative colleagues are getting up to. It's even easier to do when they publicise what they are doing, whether by blogging it (as a growing number of us are...) or getting featured in publications.

    Ollie Bray had a nice item published in this week's TES. You can read it HERE.

    I'm meeting up with Ollie next week at the SCOTTISH LEARNING FESTIVAL.This is another interesting aspect of my new post: the chance to attend events during term time which would be very difficult for a teacher to get the time to do.
    I shall blog from SLF, and also on the train back home to tell you about TEACHMEET2008

    Holt, who goes there ?

    I do.... It's a small Georgian town in North Norfolk on the way to Cromer.
    Here's a nice pic I took today of the pier...

    Groyne and Pier

    A beautiful sunny day today, so over to have a hot chocolate at Cromer Pier theatre, and some chips on the promenade. On the way back, stopped off at BACK TO THE GARDEN, which was described in 'The Times' recently as 'the best farm shop in Norfolk'.

    A lot of press has gone into the idea of FOOD MILES, and I did my best to reduce them to a minimum.

    Got some rather nice organic veg from the local organic farm, Yetman ale from Holt (2 miles) and Beeston ale, organic free-range eggs from Gt. Ryburgh near Fakenham and some biscuits made with flour from Letheringsett mill about a mile away.

    Friday, 19 September 2008

    The Power of Networks...

    It's easy to feel that in the classroom you're on your own (which, literally, you are....)

    It's important to 'meet' with other teachers: starting with those in your department (both formally and informally), those in neighbouring schools (try and arrange a local 'cluster' get-together) and those in the 'wider' area, perhaps in association with a local authority adviser (if you are lucky enough to have access to one). Opportunities are provided by subject associations like the Geographical Association for teachers to meet: ranging from branch events, to regional conferences, to the national conference.

    There are 3 books that I have read recently that have all provided important detail on the power of collaboration. There are thousands of geography teachers, who make up a huge collective body of wisdom and creativity. Social networking has the power to bring these people together in one virtual 'space'. My website always acted as a conduit for reaching colleagues local and global.
    Any of the books below would make recommended reading:

    This is a theme which I shall return to on numerous occasions in this blog.When I was still teaching, the word 'OFSTED' was not my favourite one: although I experienced 3 inspections during my teaching career, and they were all 'positive' experiences to some extent.

    OFSTED published a report in January 2008 called "Geography in Schools: Changing Practice" (click the link to download your own copy in PDF or WORD format)

    You can explore what OFSTED had to say about geography teaching. You may have your own opinions on what they say.

    On the 5th of FEBRUARY, a conference was held in London.
    Follow the link to access all the resources from the conference, hosted on the GA website.
    The keynote is detailed below:

    Geography in schools: changing practice Keynote Address by Leszek Iwaskow, Ofsted
    Leszek Iwaskow highlighted the key messages for geography from the recent OFSTED report, noting not only the areas of positivity for GCSE classrooms but also the importance of progression throughout the key stages if we are to achieve well-rounded global citizens.

    It's also worth reading the information on what we are calling LIVING GEOGRAPHY in David Lambert's presentation.

    In preparation for a number of forthcoming events, I read through the OFSTED report

    Interestingly, networks are mentioned in the text on several occasions:

    "Local authorities should encourage the development of networks in schools in order to share and develop good practice in geography." (p.6)

    "Successful departments usually have good networking systems to support the subject, perhaps through subject associations, the local authority or partnerships with geography departments in other local schools. The gradual increase in the number of schools with geography as a lead or subsidiary subject as part of their humanities specialist status has the potential to provide a network for disseminating effective practice to local primary and secondary schools." (p.26)

    Source: "Geography in Schools: Changing Practice" (OFSTED, 2008)

    The GA today launched a new service for Early Career Teachers who are GA members: a social network known as a NING.
    If you're a GA member in your first year or so of teaching, get in touch and we'll send you an invitation to join...


    To see an existing NING in action, check out the EDEXCEL GEOGRAPHY NING.

    Climb every mountain...

    Image by FLICKR user garethmayle

    Have you climbed every mountain in Wales ?
    If so, you may have to go back there because you missed one...
    Proof that everything changes...

    GAIA and other queries....

    One of the new aspects of the job that I have found interesting is the occasional request to deal with telephone queries from a wide range of people. I have dealt with quite a few already.
    One of them was about the GAIA hypothesis, which someone about to start an undergraduate course in Environmental Science was asking for information about.
    Fortunately, I read the original GAIA book 20ish years ago, and earlier this year read "Revenge of GAIA", so was able to provide a potted synopsis of the ideas of homeostasis, and self-regulation. James Lovelock's theory has had an important impact on scientific thinking.

    Re-reading a few sections last night, it also has a great resonance for some of the other projects that the Geographical Association are currently involved in as part of the Action Plan for Geography. More on that to come in the New Year...

    Of course there is ANOTHER WAY of finding the answers...

    What (not) to wear...

    There is a particular obsession that the media have with the clothing of choice of geography teachers.
    In particular we seem to have become 'associated' with bad fashion sense...
    Here are a few quotes from a simple Google search:

    "In England, only geography teachers wear sandals."

    "There are dozens of good reasons not to wear corduroy trousers, most of them to do with the kind of people who seem to like them best. Geography teachers wear them. Librarians like them. Engineering lecturers seek them out. They belong with Thermos flasks and bobble hats. Cords, says received wisdom, are just not stylish"

    "Geography teachers wear tweed jackets with leather elbow pads."


    Of course, members of the Geographical Association have much better taste....
    We had a discussion the other day, and it seems that PARAMO seems to be the outerwear of choice amongst a number of GA staff. I certainly wear my Paramo smock for fieldwork and have always stayed bone dry.

    As with many firms, Paramo are attempting to reduce the impact of their manufacturing on the environment. They are also rather fine clothes.
    Let us know what particular clothing you prefer...

    Thursday, 18 September 2008

    "...and there's dense fog in the Vale of York..."

    Tell me about it !
    The Vale of York is notorious for its fog, and I saw plenty of it this morning on my latest travels down the A1.

    What is a vale ?

    A vale is an area of flat land, often used for agriculture. It is bounded by higher ground, which in the case of the Vale of York includes the famous Escrick moraines. This NATURAL ENGLAND document (PDF) is an excellent resource.
    The Vale of York is notorious for its fog. Driving down the A1, you will also often see man-made clouds, being produced by the coal fired power stations such as Drax and Ferrybridge. On clear calm days, these are far more obvious and can be seen for miles, as in the image below:


    What meteorological peculiarities does your home area have ?

    Wednesday, 17 September 2008

    High and Dry: the Floods of 2007

    One of the great pleasures of my new role at the GA will be the chance to attend GA BRANCH meetings, and meet members and local organising committee members.
    One of the oldest GA branches is the Manchester branch, which operates under the presidency of Professor Michael Bradford, with Sue Bermingham as chair. It is celebrating its CENTENARY YEAR and still going strong as one of the oldest GA Branches in the country.

    Earlier today I travelled across the Pennines to deliver the first lecture in the Manchester branch's 2008-9 lecture series, at Manchester University.

    Thanks to Ernie Savage for the invitation, which was months ago.

    You can see the presentation below, thanks to Slideshare.

    High And Dry
    View SlideShare presentation or Upload your own. (tags: geography flooding)

    How about checking out a GA branch near you ?
    Many of them have lecture programmes that you can take students to.
    The BRANCH PAGE on the GA website has links to most of them.

    Look at the map below. Can you see a gap in your own area ?Perhaps you could be the person to start arranging some events for local teachers ? All the relevant details are on the GA's website.

    Many thanks to the 150 or so students who attended the lecture tonight.

    The next lecture in the series is described below:

    Wednesday 15th October 2008

    17.15.

    Theatre A, University Place*, Manchester University

    Liverpool 2008, Capital of Culture Has the city benefited; has the cultural programme been a success;

    will there be a lasting legacy?

    Miranda Sawyer

    WRITER & BROADCSTER; MEMBER OF THE PANEL THAT AWARDED THE CITY CAPITAL OF CULTURE

    Once over, it was back round the M60 and over the M62, past some of the familiar fieldwork locations from my undergraduate days, and back down into Yorkshire.