Lost in the Post

An 'official' picture of Prof David Lambert from last Tuesday's lecture at the Institute of Education.

A reminder that the paper on which the lecture was based can be bought from the Institute of Education shop....

New York from above...

Thanks to Keir Clarke for guiding me via Twitter to the PIXELCASE Virtual aerial tour of New York, which is very attractive...

There was also a tip off that during the Wimbledon tournament, if you zoom into the area on Streetview, then PEGMAN (the symbol of Street View) is currently wearing a tennis outfit and carrying a racket... Any other suggestions for 'customising' pegman according to location ?

Sounds of the City...

Following an earlier post about a BBC project mapping sounds around the world, I was contacted about the LONDON SOUND SURVEY, which is in many ways even more impressive, as sound files are Creative Commons licensed...
There is also a super map: SEE HEAR: A VISUAL GUIDE, which uses icons to show the relative prevalence of certain sounds across map. The SOUND MAP could inspire your own local sound investigations.

It's hot in the city today, and will be so until next week....

This issue from FLICKR user finkangel under Creative Commons from a previous heatwave...

Watching the temperature at a local RAF base rise steadily during the day on my
WEATHER WATCH LIVE widget, which sits in my toolbar, and shows the temperature and other weather information. Currently showing 23 degrees Celsius and has been rising since 9am, when it was 14 degrees...

Take care in the heat: some advice here

Special prize for first person who can spot the usual: "It's hotter than [INSERT 'HOT' PLACE HERE] ... " newspaper headline....

Prince Philip...

Just been reading some Prince Philip-isms....

"We shall all be old one day - providing of course we can avoid being slaughtered on the roads or beaten up by some hooligan in a peace demonstration..."

"In the event that I am reincarnated, I would like to return as a deadly virus, to contribute something to solving overpopulation."

New Climate Change projections

Part 1 of the outcomes from Flood Management 09 at the Barbican earlier this week...

Many of the speakers referred to the latest climate projections which had been released on the DEFRA website earlier that week, and had been reported in many of newspapers.

Hilary Benn introduces the projections as being very 'sobering'.

5 things that need doing:

1. to protect people from the immediate risks
2. to plan (e.g. motorway drainage, emergency plans) for the future - the adaptation report is currently being consulted on until September (one for 6th formers perhaps to get involved with
3. to work internationally on a climate agreement

Also refers to importance of Copenhagen 2009 - the website is well worth visiting - has plenty of useful resources for teachers and students

4. to play our part - reduction targets need to be met - working towards a LOW CARBON UK
5. supporting individuals e.g. through the Act on CO2 campaign.

The models can be seen by following the links from DEFRA site above.

A Met Office introduction to the projections here:

Delve into the projections page to find all sorts of maps, graphics and information on the likely changes between now and 2080 on a range of climate indicators.

Explore these with students...

Also head over to the UNEP Seal the Deal site.

Ice Age 3

Looking forward to seeing this next week....


Just reading latest 'Countryfile' magazine.
Visit the magazine website for more details.
Geography teachers have been using this programme for decades: the 'magazine' format of the programme means that there are usually relevant items on countryside management, changing land use, food production and similar themes...

There would probably be a place for a guide for geography teachers suggesting how the forthcoming programme might be of use to support some curriculum work. Would also be good to 'chunk' the programme to allow short snippets to be used beyond the usual one week extension.

Another interesting element of the magazine is the walk cards. Could be a useful 'model' for a classroom activity.

You can watch the latest programme on BBC iPLAYER

Each programme has a FACTSHEET.

A good year for poppies....


Image Alan Parkinson

Poppies are a glorious temporary part of our landcape...

We have also attached additional cultural resonance to them with their association with remembrance day...

What other examples of these temporary landscape aspects can you identify, or your students record ?

Why not use the NORFOLK WILDLIFE TRUST's poppy field sighting record cards (link goes to PDF download - survey was carried out originally in 2006)

Poppies are the county flower of Norfolk, and there are certainly plenty in the fields around my village.

North Norfolk (particularly the area around Cromer and Overstrand) is known as 'poppyland' and there are many fields full of these flowers at the moment.

The local Eastern Daily Press reported that the particularly impressive blooms of poppies that can be seen at the moment are the result of changing farming practices...

Farmers growing rape in particular are keen to keep the growth of poppies to a minimum as the plants compete for the available soil moisture and nutrient.
A weedkiller was also taken off the market at the end of 2007, and it was apparently a windy spraying season which means that application would not have been as thorough as it would have been in more ideal conditions.

Interestingly, an article in the Times from last year suggested we may see fewer poppies in the future.

Also noticed fields full of poppies on the approach to Cambridge from the train yesterday evening.

‘Neath the blue of the sky in the green of the corn,
It is here that the regal red poppies are born!’
Clement Scott

New Glacial Environments unit for KS3

Me at the Folgefonna, Norway - 1980s (check the hair and nonchalant pose !) - image by Conor Kostick

Now up on the Geography Teaching Today website is a new unit on Glacial Environments.

Some interesting ideas on teaching about ice, and the landscape changes that it brings about, with 6 resourced units of work.

Don't forget that ice doesn't just produce the dramatic upland landscapes but was also involved in shaping the undulating lowland landscape of Norfolk...

Thanks to Jo Blackmore for directing me to a new BBC clip showing how melting ice has resulted in the need to redraw the boundary between Switzerland and Italy.


Image by Flickr user snarkypuss under Creative Commons

Tens of thousands of festival goers are converging on Glastonbury again this weekend, among them Dan Ellison and URBAN EARTH.

There has been some wonderful work done using the LATITUDE festival in Suffolk by a local Centre of Excellence school.

Also, on the Geography Teaching Today website is a unit based on GLASTONBURY. Plenty of resources for those wanting to use this as a context for teaching about sustainability, consumption, decision making etc...

Why not have a FESTIVAL SEASON in your KS3 curriculum...

The Daily Mail website has a very useful picture-laden item on Glastonbury.

There will obviously no doubt be plenty of FLICKR images and videos appearing, and this will be the first year that TWITTER will be big at Glastonbury too.

So should be able to create an IMMERSIVE experience for students to consider some questions about the geographical impact of these large temporary gatherings...

Planning for Change: OFSTED Report

The Impact of the new KS3 Curriculum

A new OFSTED report was published this week, looking at the progress of some of the new approaches that schools introduced as a result of the introduction of the new KS3 national curriculum.


The new National Curriculum at Key Stage 3 came into effect for students starting in Year 7 in September 2008. This survey was conducted between May 2008 and March 2009 to evaluate the quality of schools’ planning to introduce the new curriculum and their progress in introducing the changes. Inspectors based their evaluations on the progress which schools might reasonably have been expected to have made at that early stage of implementation. The schools in the survey had embraced the opportunity to introduce more variety into teaching and learning to engage and motivate students. They had made less progress in linking subjects and incorporating skills across the curriculum, although there were examples of good and outstanding practice in these areas.

It has some interesting things to say about the introduction of thematic curriculum approaches rather than SINGLE SUBJECT teaching.

Report can be downloaded from OFSTED website


Image of Barbican by Flickr user Julio Albarran under Creative Commons

Down to London for a conference today to update my knowledge on flooding in preparation for several GA branch lectures coming up later in the year, and some website / Toolkit work as well. Some interesting presentations and
The event was held at the BARBICAN.
Hadn't really explored the Barbican before, and was really impressed with the whole ambience and quirky layout (until the end of the day, when I couldn't find the exit that is....)
Just been doing a spot of late night reading about it.
The outdoor space on the Lakeside Terrace was very impressive, particularly the circular seating areas at water level, and I loved the quirky cafe, that can be seen in the image above.
There was plenty of work going on to refurbish Frobisher Crescent.

Brutalism is the architectural style.
There is another example a few miles from where I live, and which has a pool where my daughter learnt to swim: Smithdon High School (some Flickr images on the link)

Tour de France 2009

The greatest sporting event starts once again on the 4th of July, just over a week away, and finishes on the 26th of July...

Just watching a DVD of a history of 'le tour' - I have my wall map and programme at the ready for 'la grande boucle' 2009

Loads of geography from the landscapes, to the mapping of the stages, the weather conditions with the ascents and descents, the globalisation of the sporting coverage and much more...

In 2007, the Tour started in London, and this year it visits Barcelona, and also goes over the Ventoux.
I shall be watching as much as I can, work permitting...

Happy to hear from colleagues who use the tour as a context for geography work...

One of the teams is sponsored by GARMIN, who made my sat nav....

National Primary Conference

Just been catching up with some of the outcomes of the Primary National Conference that took place recently. Some fabulous mapping work...
Mapping Everyday Geographies
Nice work by all those colleagues involved. Read more on the GA NING...

Save our Sounds

Sound adds an extra dimension to the classroom.
The BBC World Service has started a SAVE OUR SOUNDS world map which aims to collect some further sounds from around the world. Some good ones there to begin with for your aural explorations...

Another tip off from Twitter...

Geography in Education

Geography in education
Lost in the post?David Lambert
Inaugural Professorial Lecture
Institute of Education - 23rd June
Some say we live in postmodern times. In addition, many schools now seem to be embracing a post-disciplinary approach to the curriculum. And geography itself has fragmented, struggling for its identity and arguably lost - in the "post". But this lecture does not dwell for long on this argument. On the contrary, it argues that contemporary geography is a school subject of great significance and has a lot to offer children and young people growing up in a confusing, rapidly changing and dangerous world. Well prepared teachers can use this subject in a way that contributes to both their own and their students' "capabilities".Geography is re-emerging as a subject discipline for its times, both in academia and in the public realm. In the context of our collective need more fully to understand the human occupancy of the Earth, geography in schools has a new role to play. Geography in education explores this, and the importance of a "capability" approach. It draws critically on the Geographical Association's recently published 'manifesto' for school geography: A Different View.

Available to purchase from the IoE online shop

June 2009 978-0-85473-857-1 30 pages £5.00

There was an audience of around 250 people at Jeffery Hall for the lecture on a warm and humid night in London
David was introduced by Professor Geoff Whitty, director of the Institute of Education.

A few notes on some key points that David made during the lecture, which was split into 5 sections
  • Why Geography ? - how geography represents the world - based on a question asked at a Harris Federation event
  • The importance of relationships: with the children and learning, with each other and teaching, with the subject discipline (CPD)
  • The difference between 'teaching by sat nav' and mapping out a direction for the subject - teachers need to be confident in the direction they are taking
  • A philosophical 'map' for the subject: motivation, significance and creativity - what we do with students needs to be capable of changing the way they see the world
  • All education is "self education" - possible to have learning without teaching and teaching without learning...
  • Discussion on the 1970s and the 'great debate' - was the purpose of education to prepare people for work ? (link to arguments in 'Shift Happens')
  • Comparison between a 'Vibrant City', which leaves us no time to think, and a 'Garden of Peace'
  • QCA 'Futures agenda': skills removed from human context - re-asserting the creative power of teachers as curriculum makers
  • Capability as a way of considering what is learnt - value-laden rather than value-free...
  • Living Geography and 'A Different View' - the manifesto 'animoto' was shown (Director's Cut version)
  • Conclusion: "subject disciplines such as geography are rich resources to be used by capable teachers in a rapidly changing world..."

A vote of thanks was given by Professor Michael Reiss, Dean of Research at the Institute of Edication.
A wine reception followed...

Any further thoughts from people who attended the lecture ?

Images on slides: Flickr users / Creative Commons - Cheddar, Today is a good day, Premasagar
Wordle produced by http://wordle.net
Geography happens with apologies to Karl Fisch

CENSE - Cheap GPS solution

Image by Alan Parkinson

Just about to set off from King's Lynn train station, which is at:

52.75381 N
00.40429 E

How do I know that ?
Because I'm testing a rugged and basic GPS receiver called CENSE, produced by DRS.
It was designed to be used by census enumerators in various countries, and for that reason it has a very simple interface. Press the black button and it switches on and tells you where you are...
It runs on 3 x AAA batteries.

As the train departed the GPS kept pace with the train impressively

52.72866 N
00.39974 E
as we left the town of King's Lynn and moved into the Fens, the landscape changed.

Into London now, and from switch on, the device showed the location on the terrace at 'The Betjeman Arms' at St. Pancras (recommended if you've got a while to wait for a train...)

51.52959 N
00.12363 E

Then into Russell Square Gardens for lunch

51.52214 N
00.12699 E

These could be typed into Google Earth / Maps location box to find them on a map.
Alternative is to use the NEARBY site to convert them into other formats, such as OS Grid References.
The Ordnance Survey also has a conversion page, and some free software to download to your PC.

A useful, cheap GPS solution for identifying location of fieldwork, photos, questionnaire or survey points, position on salt marsh or other location needs...

On the issue of GPS, there have apparently been some recent problems with the device that is being used to track the famous BBC BOX around the world. The box is shortly going to return to the UK to end its year long odyssey...

Another Ollie classic

Ollie Bray has shared another great presentation on mobile learning, with particular reference to the iPhone.
Plenty of inspirational quotes and images here...

Ollie is currently spending a month cycling across the USA.
Follow his journey at BIKING THE GREAT DIVIDE

Richard Long

Recently visited the Richard Long exhibition at the Tate: Heaven and Earth. Always been a fan of landscape-based art.

There are numerous connections to be made here with geography and the creation of narrative as a response to a landscape. Many of the projects I have been involved with recently are related to this idea. Plenty of student-centred projects, and cultural aspects coming out...

Loved the Norfolk flint circle in particular...

I'd like to see students participating in the creation of more text works relating to the landscape.
Check out Richard Long's textworks: click the titles to see the works...

Some very impressive typography on the walls of the exhibition space at the Tate: wonder who had the job of sticking on all the letters ? Quite a feat ! Anyone know ?

Also worth checking out the work of Hamish Fulton
And of course Andy Goldsworthy

Plenty of inspiration here too...

Good review on the SOME LANDSCAPES blog, which is a useful resource to keep an eye on as well for those teaching about landscape.
Also had a quick TWITTER SEARCH: generally positive reaction to it...

Chris Watson

The use of SOUND is vital in lessons...

I have recently been exploring the work of CHRIS WATSON, via my favourite site SPOTIFY.
This allows streaming of the music, or in this case sound stories into the classroom.

This has 3, 18 minute tracks

Ol-Olool-O: Kenyan savannah...
The Laipach: a Scottish glen in all weathers
Vatnajokull: a glacier sailing in Arctic waters

The weather has created and shaped all our habitats. Clearly it also has a profound and dynamic effect upon our lives and that of other animals. The three locations featured here all have moods and characters which are made tangible by the elements, and theseperiodic events are represented within by a form of time compression. This is Chris's first foray into composition using his location recordings of wildlife and habitats -- previously he has been concerned with describing and revealing the special atmosphere of a place by site specific, untreated location recordings. For the first time here he constructs collages of sounds, which evolve from a series of recordings made at the specific locations over varying periods of time : namely Kenya's Masai Mara, Scottish highland glens and ancient ice formations lurking deep within the Norwegian sea.

Also check out "Outside the Circle of Fire" for more sounds...


An area which is seeing tremendous redevelopment.
Went to O2 recently for first time.

Image: Alan Parkinson

On Roads

Just ordered Joe Moran's new book. Really enjoyed his book "Queueing for Beginners"...
There is so much geography in this book (written by a cultural historian...)
Starts with a quote from Carl Andre.

Beyond Tracing Paper

Spent a couple of hours today at Huntington School in York, which is the proud recipient of a Geographical Association's Secondary Geography Quality Mark.
Delivered a session on GIS from the perspective of:
  • why is GIS being used ?
  • how can real-life data from student enquiries be used ?
  • progression in GIS from maps to more detailed software ?
  • to add other subject material other than numbers
  • using Google Earth as a GIS

An end to textbooks ?

Textbooks are "antiquated and heavy"...
So says Arnold Schwarzenegger...

How do you use textbooks ?

Worth reading this Ewan McIntosh post too...

What links....

Image from Indigo Spot

Carl Friedrickson and Wu Ping ?

With thanks to Deputy Dog & Russel Tarr for the tip-off via TWITTER...

Urban Earth: Canterbury - January 2010

Thanks to the TWITTER FEED of URBAN EARTH, heard about this event: the latest organised by Dan Ellison.


Invade. Capture. Expose.

Invade, capture and expose Canterbury (UK) by joining over 60 people in this intimate URBAN EARTH weekend.

It's all about the Event. An event that we're going to create for ourselves on the Saturday night. Based on a secret mission that aims to capture and expose the city that we're temporarily invading, groups will be challenged to create a film/performance/show ready to display at our event.

FRIDAY 29.01.2010

Arriving. Eating. Briefing. Planning. Sleeping.

SATURDAY 30.01.2010

Eating. Exploring. Creating. Event(ing). Playing. Dancing.

SUNDAY 31.01.2010

Eating. Leaving. Sharing.

How it works...

1. On arrival you'll be placed into a group. We'll be mixing things up, but if you are keen to hold hands with someone we can help make that happen too.

2. After eating on Friday night we'll hold a mission briefing (around 9pm). The brief will be to capture and expose Canterbury... but we'll be leaving the specifics a secret until then.

3. Canterbury is open for missions to be carried out. By Saturday night films/shows/performances should ready to go and at 10pm EVENT: CANTERBURY will begin.

Who can come?

Anyone who is over 18. If you're interested in exploring our urban world and sharing what you've discovered in an interesting way we'd love to have you along.

What will I need?

You'll need to have a video camera, camera, laptop, sound recorder, type writer, wool or whatever you like to work with. There is bedding at the hostel, but feel free to be even more warm and comfy bring your own too. Food, coffee and tea are included in the ticket, other drinks are left to you.

How do I get to Canterbury?

Canterbury is 98km south east of London. It takes around 90 minutes to get there by train from London, around 3.5 hours from Birmingham and 10 hours from Aberdeen. To check out the roads take a look at the map on this page or whack the hostel's postcode (CT1 3DT) into your preferred mapping service.


Visit www.urbanearth.co.uk or http://urbanearth.ning.com to find out more.

What does the cost of the ticket cover?

Two nights in a shared single sex room, food, some random bits and bobs as well as our efforts to make it happen. Any money left over will be used to fund the next URBAN EARTH EVENT.....

Digital Britain

This long awaited document was released today....
Collated by Lord Stephen Carter.

BBC NEWS report here.

Need to digest the implications for curriculum change, and web tools in the geography classroom...

My Chumby is alive !

360 image...

One outcome from Education 2020...
Great work by Noel Jenkins - the video of him in action available soon...

The Still House at the Bruichladdich distillery, Islay in UK

Geography Awareness Week

Each year, the Geographical Association develop a range of resources around GEOGRAPHY AWARENESS WEEK.


Geography Support Blog

Geography Support Blog now open...

If you have an idea for a post, please get in touch...

Primary Champions - it could be you !

The second tranche of Primary Geography Champions will be appointed later this month: a further 11 will be added to the current list, to further support Primary Geographers.

Please contact Paula Owens for further details, and for the ONLINE APPLICATION FORM.

Tomorrow sees the Primary National Conference in London - best wishes to all of those who are attending the event...


Arnold Schwarzenegger has apparently suggested that paper based textbooks will be replaced by digital ones in California.

One interesting viewpoint, which has been pursued by several people is that whatever format they are in, textbooks are still textbooks...

An Open Source 'textbook' resource has been discussed by the Geography FlashMeeting community - the meetings are fortnightly on a Thursday evening.

Check the details of the next meeting HERE and come and join us.

Cool Iris widget

A cool Cool Iris widget of images from the FLICKR set for EDUCATION 2020

Learning Spaces

One of the discussions at the EDUCATION2020 event on Islay last week was the nature of future LEARNING SPACES.
One delegate described this as being "the space between your ears", which is of course, correct, but this particular space then needs to be situated within another place.

A recent addition to the NINGverse is the SPACE MAKERS NETWORK, and I was intrigued by how this idea might connect with developing opportunities for teachers to meet and share ideas. Thanks to Ben Major for letting me know about this.

Long distance American cycling...

No, not the current BBC related journey, but one about to be made by Ollie Bray.
I hope to have some reports on here from Ollie as he makes his way along the great continental divide.
He goes out later this week, and I wish him and his companions the best of luck.
Follow the journey HERE.

Islay Odyssey 2

Some pics from the FLICKR group that I started for those who went to Islay.

Created with Admarket's flickrSLiDR.

Flood Management

Looking forward to a CPD event in 2 weeks time down at the BARBICAN.
It's a flood management conference - here's the outline:

The extreme rainfall and catastrophic flooding of 2007 brought about the biggest British emergency in over 60 years. It is a huge challenge to reduce the flooding risk to vulnerable areas, and to make sure households and communities are prepared to deal with future events before it is too late.

Does Britain have a cohesive response to mitigate the impacts of climate change and extreme rainfall?

08:30Registration and Coffee in the Networking Surgery
09:20Chair's Opening Address - Professor David Balmforth, BSc PhD CEng FICE FCIWEM, Technical Director with international consultants MWH; Editor in Chief of CIWEM’s International Journal on Flood Risk Management. (confirmed)
09:25Anne McIntosh MP, Shadow Minister for the Environment (confirmed)
“Adaptation - Preparing for Climate Change.”
What long term impact will climate change have on flood risk in the UK? Do we need to focus more on land management and town planning or have housing pressures meant we have no options but to expand flood defences?
09:40Keynote Address - Nick Herbert MP, Shadow Environment Secretary (confirmed)
“The Challenges that face Flood Risk Management: The effective and efficient solutions for a successful framework.”
10:00Phil Rothwell BSc. MSc. FRSA, Head of Flood Risk Management Policy, The Environment Agency (confirmed)
Following the Pitt Review final report can we realistically implement the recommendations stated given the constraints on both timescale and resources? Has future funding into Flood Risk Management been compromised by recession and can we achieve flood defence targets before another flood disaster hits the UK?
10:20Main Sponsor
10:35-10:40Question and Answer Session
10:45Masterclass Session 1
A series of Masterclasses will run throughout the day. You have the opportunity to pick a stream from the following three topics: Risk and Resilience, Land Management and Response and Recovery.
11:30Coffee in the Networking Surgery
12:15Masterclass Session 2
13:00Lunch in the Networking Surgery
14:00Masterclass Session 3
14:45Panel Debate
“'Flood Risk Management - How can we support households with a high risk of flooding?'”
Is effective land management the best way to reduce flooding risk or will wider climate changes have a greater impact on our resources? What are the best practice contingency plans to deal effectively with a flooding disaster and what can be done to help rebuild areas and communities damaged by flooding?
Chair - Professor David Balmforth, Technical Director with international consultants MWH; Editor in Chief of CIWEM’s International Journal on Flood Risk Management. (confirmed)
Daniel Johns, Head of Performance & Outcomes, Defra's Flood and Coastal Erosion Risk Management Division(confirmed)
Professor David Proverbs, Head of Construction and Infrastructure Department , SEBE, University of Wolverhampton(confirmed)
Rob Cooke, Policy Director, Natural England (confirmed)
Moya Wood-Heath, Emergency Planning/Civil Protection Advisor British Red Cross Society (confirmed)
Justin Jacobs, Head of Property, Motor and Liability Insurance, Association of British Insurers (confirmed)
Angela Currie, Head of Emergency Services, WRVS (confirmed)
15:45Chair's Closing Remarks - Professor David Balmforth, Technical Director with international consultants MWH; Editor in Chief of CIWEM’s International Journal on Flood Risk Management. (confirmed)
15:55Coffee in the Networking Surgery
16:15Conference Close

Islay Odyssey 1

Today was the first part of a long road trip with an educational background: up to the Isle of Islay for an event which was called Education 2020.
It was put together primarily by Andy Wallis and Ian Stuart: two teachers from Islay High School, after a realisation that students starting their schooling in 2009 will finish Year 11 in 2020.
2020 vision is also 'perfect vision', so we wanted to develop a vision for what education might be like.
The first part of the journey was earlier today, with a dash from the fine city of York, where I spent most of the day working, then up the A19 and A1.

There were some particularly heavy showers on the way, but traffic was generally fine: there was a huge queue southbound near Gateshead after an incident in the fast lane. Glad I wasn't in that...

Paused a few times at geographically significant locations to check in with my mail and keep things ticking over...

Alnwick: this has been voted in the past as the most desirable place to live - took a wander into town for a drink...

Second, longer stop was at St. Abbs, where I took some photos and made a point of walking right to the water's edge on the EAST COAST, before heading further north-west to pause for the evening. Also bought a nice piece of art by a local artist.
Tomorrow will be heading over to the WEST COAST and the ferry from Kennacraig to the Isle of Islay.
Have also booked tomorrow off, which is my first day's holiday for months. Looking forward to a bit of photography and geo-investigations...

Here's a time lapse video of the ferry crossing, with thanks to Armin Grewe...
More in future posts...

Walking the River

WALBROOK by Amy Sharrocks

This sounds like an excellent project which I would like to be involved in, but can also see being adapted by teachers for local investigations.

It is an art project which involves people gathering to walk the route of a river which is now beneath the ground. People are asked to wear blue, and they will then follow their own trajectories along the route of the lost river...

Reminds me of a great book by Tim Bradford: "The Groundwater Diaries".

This STRANGEMAPS blog post is a useful additional resource in this context...

GCSE events in November

One of my new Geography chums is Tim Foster: the head of Blencathra Centre: a Field Studies Council centre.
Those colleagues who are preparing for the new GCSEs might be interested in two events that are being put on by the FSC.

Strategies for fieldwork within GCSE Geography specifications

Blencathra Field Centre - 6th-8th November 2009
Nettlecombe Court Field Centre - 27th-29th November 2009

INSET courses designed to support teachers in the delivery of fieldwork for new controlled assessments.

1912 and all that...

Conference venue today in York was the Royal York hotel. The Oak Room was the main room for the day, and it had a bookcase full of old books. Had a quick look (I can't help browsing through any bookcase I see) and came across an excellent book, which caught my eye.
It was published in 1912 by the University Tutorial Press.
The author was James Welton
The book was called "Principles and Methods of Teaching"

There were some excellent quotes which related remarkably closely to the content of the day. I shall feature this more in future blog posts once I have the chance.

Thanks to Justin Woolliscroft for finding a version to download from the ARCHIVE.
Check out the BLACK AND WHITE PDF download and read the chapter on GEOGRAPHY.

Living Geography

Today was the second of our Living Geography regional conferences.
Many thanks for those people who attended and participated.

I am preparing some additional resources which will go up on the GA's NING shortly.

Blog Map

My ClustrMap is about to be updated, so better put in a quick copy of the current map....
Over 13 000 visitors from around the world.
Thanks for visiting.

Place in School Geography

Just been reading back through a paper that was passed to me at the GA Conference. It was written by Dr. Phil Wood, and looks at the concept of Place in the Pilot GCSE specification.

Update: an excellent resource in 'The Guardian' on Saturday the 13th of June, which looked at some authors who are particularly associated with places, and how their books can help evoke a place, and changes that take place there...

Which books / authors are your favourite invocations of particular places ?

This might be a nice idea to use with learners, in terms of the geography of some classic books.
How about the landscape of 'The Gruffalo', or the Lake District landscape described by Arthur Ransome ?
Add your thoughts below...

Map of the Day

Powered by Google Earth Hacks | More info about this file

“They shall grow not old as we that are left grow old
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.”


Just over a week ago, I ordered a CHUMBY: a weird device which can act as a whole range of objects ranging from an alarm clock to a photo frame for Flickr images...
It is wireless, and can then receive streams of data of various kinds, or run what are called WIDGETS. It intrigued me, and I quite liked the idea of it sitting on the desk and providing another portal for Twitter updates, weather forecast, news headlines etc, Internet radio stations etc.
These widgets are growing in number (though not quite as fast as iPhone apps...) with over 1000 now available and all for FREE (unlike some of the iPhone apps)

Update: up in Scotland at the moment, but my Chumby is waiting for me at a parcel depot - need to pay some import duty... will be back to you next week...

1000 up !

Back in June 2007, I started a NING network to prepare for the planning of the new Edexcel 'A' level course which I was due to start teaching from September 2008, and which I felt was the most innovative of all the courses.

Today was a milestone in the development of the network as it passed the 1000 members mark, when Dave Lawton joined.
Thanks to all the members and all those who have contributed to a discussion or added a resource.

Home - Yann Arthus Bertrand

Now available specially for WORLD ENVIRONMENT DAY.

Free Secondary Geography CPD at Leeds University

The annual event for secondary geographers will take place later this month: on Saturday the 20th of June, at Leeds University.

http://www.geog.leeds.ac.uk/fileadmin/downloads/school/corporate/Teachers_Workshop_May_2009.pdf is a PDF file with all the details that you will need. Some excellent sessions.

Visit the website for more details on how to book - there are still spaces available.

The event is free, and delegates will be given refreshments, a buffet lunch and materials to take away.

Sinking Lands (Cont.)

A few months ago, I blogged about Dan Box, who had won the RGS's Journey of a Lifetime award to fund a trip to the Carteret Islands.
His journey is now complete, and there are various postings on the website of 'The Ecologist' (the latest edition of which has a focus on Sustainable Cities)
The story can be read on Dan's BLOG.

Don't look back in Ongar...

Yesterday was a long day which took me to the mid-Essex Geography network for a living Geography event.
Thanks to Graeme Eyre, who is also a PRIMARY GEOGRAPHY CHAMPION for the invitation to the Anglo European School.
There was a good turnout for the afternoon and twilight sessions that we put on.
First up was an hour of LIVING GEOGRAPHY.

Graeme then ran a session using Google Earth as a GIS, and has kindly shared his handout below....
Met a few new geography chums, including Paul Cornish who is involved with THE GEOGRAPHER website, and also old friend and former SPC colleague Stuart Hitch, who told me of a new licensing agreement for Geological Maps.
Check out the BRITISH GEOLOGICAL SURVEY website (good to see that they are also on Twitter, speaking of which, persuaded a few people to sign up to see what the fuss was about)
Check out the GEO INDEX

Then it was home up the M11 to catch the last 15 minutes of the latest Geography FLASH MEETING.

Meet the British

Excellent BBC4 programme which is made up of 'promotional films' made by the Government in the last century...
Catch them for the next few days on iPLAYER- great stuff !

Union Jack for a month...

Phil Tufnell painted a Union Jack on the One Show last night, and it's available to loan for a month.
Could be a focus for discussions on "Britishness"...

Global Dimension

A global dimension pack: "Exploring Together" has been sent to all headteachers, and contains leaflets on how to explore this curriculum dimension in each of the main subjects.
The weblink above takes you to a web page where you can download each of the leaflets separately if, for whatever reason, that pack has not made it to you....

Google Earth and beyond...

An article in yesterday's "Education Guardian" mentioned a few of the GA's current projects.
There was a plug for YOUNG PEOPLE's GEOGRAPHIES, particularly the work done in Nottingham.

One exciting trend is encouraging young people to help shape subjects with teachers. As a part of the Young People's Geographies project run by the Geographical Association, key stage 3 pupils from three Nottingham schools used handheld devices to capture their experience of the city's market square. Pupils recorded their own narrative while answering a range of more conventional geographical questions about the area. Elizabeth Barratt, director of humanities at the Nottingham Emmanuel school, says: "They were able to capture places and spaces in a more immediate and personalised manner."

There was also mention for the work that is being done in Rotherham as well, with hand-held devices by Tony Doddsworth and colleagues.
Also interesting to see Barrie Morgan from CENT in Rotherham talking about the podcasting work that he's been doing with a primary school in Rawmarsh.

More on this to come...


This is a new, currently BETA only, mapping service produced by MySociety in association with 4ip, and explains what the voting that was going on at SCENIC OR NOT was all about.

Could be of use to Geographers...

"Geography Training" launch day

Geography training has a new face: well, two "new faces" actually, or should that be "old faces"...

From 1st June 2009, a new geography CPD provider is available.

Launching today is a new CPD training opportunity for colleagues in the UK, and beyond...
GEOGRAPHY TRAINING joins together the Geographical Association's own Alan Parkinson, with International Baccalaureate specialist, and creator of Geography all the Way: Richard Allaway.
In addition to the existing face-to-face and online CPD opportunities available from the Geographical Association, we offer a tailored service, with training to match your needs, at a venue to suit you.

Areas of speciality:

  • Creative approaches for the teaching of Geography
  • The use of Information and Communication Technology in Geography teaching
  • Recent changes to the Key Stage 3 and GCSE programmes
  • International Baccalaureate Geography - including the 2009 syllabus change
  • IGCSE Geography
  • Training focused upon application such as Google Earth, GIS applications, web2 tools etc

If you are interested please get in touch to discuss our availability and the necessary fees.