Quality Street....

Have just emerged blinking into the daylight after two days: a total of 15 hours spent moderating almost thirty school submissions for the latest cohort of entries for the GA's Secondary Geography Quality Mark.

There was a tremendous variety of work, plenty of innovation evident, and a host of excellent student projects which show that new geography is very much 'living'...

We are putting together additional guidance for schools who are thinking of undertaking the collection of evidence for the portfolio, and appreciate the many hours necessary to complete this appropriately.

The Secondary Geography Quality Mark is really becoming embedded as a framework for departmental self-evaluation, which is backed up by a focus on quality geography and carefully moderated.

If you would like more information on applying for the Quality Mark, please contact Justin Woolliscroft at sgqm@geography.org.uk

Geography SEN Resource

An area that has interested me, and which I have been asked to produce something for is the area of SEN...
Two recent articles which dropped into my Twitter feed were produced by Teaching Expertise. If you are on Twitter you may wish to follow @teachexpertise

The first article was on transition and in particular on support for autistic spectrum pupils on the theme of tasks and moving from one room / task / year / school / teacher to another...

This geographical dislocation is often a source of concern for students, and the advice given in this article seemed to me to be very sensible, and worth passing on to secondary colleagues in particular.

The second was on Learning from Home using ICT

New CPD resources

Arrived at my desk today to find a few interesting looking items related to CPD...

First up was a useful looking folder badged with the GTC and NCSL

"Professional Learning Communities: source materials for school leaders and other leaders of professional learning"

also a book: "Leading and managing continuing professional development" by Peter Earley and Sara Bubb...

Will take a look over the summer, and feedback....

Here be pirates...

The UK version of WIRED magazine has a very nice graphic-heavy article on the issue of piracy in East Africa and the Gulf of Aden.

There is also a FLASH GAME where you can be a pirate crew and see how successful you are at negotiating ransoms....

TV Spinoff: Crime

Two new BBC series have useful websites with content which colleagues may well find helpful..

The Truth about Crime is filmed in Oxford.

The website includes an OXFORD-located GIS style activity which can be seen below.

Some useful animations on how crime can be explored are included. Thanks to Paul Cornish for the tipoff via SLN
Check out the full SITE.

Another useful area could be to explore the claim that Oxford was chosen for the series because:

it is as close as we could find to a typical British city. In terms of demographics, and particularly in terms of levels and types of crimes, it is typical of the national picture.

Think about how you could investigate this claim, and produce a brief response....

Another programme that has restarted with a new series is COAST.
This explores coasts outside of the UK, such as the Normandy coastline of France.

Twitter ye not...

or actually, get tweeting !
Two stories today...
First one is a report in the New York Times which backs up what many of us have already realised: that people who attend conferences are often twittering about the discussions and the speakers that they are listening to... (or half listening to...)

This morning for example, I am following various conversations about the microblogging tool, which is currently #1 in Jane Hart's 2009 poll on learning tools.

Second one is about the posting of a SCRIBD document which contains ideas for government departments on how to use Twitter...
Coincidentally, I was doing a session at a major awarding body today about the value of social networking...

Update: David Cameron has got into trouble today for language used while giving his comments on Twitter in a radio broadcast...

Knock Knock ! Who's there ? Doctor...

There has been much wailing and gnashing of teeth online over the new Doctor Who's costume. Not sure why....
One aspect which has re-emerged is that old chestnut about the tweed jacket (usually with elbow patches) being linked with geography teachers, which was mentioned in pieces published in the TES, the Guardian and The Sun...
I personally have no problem with Harris Tweed as a textile...
One comment on the BBC Magazine section talks about the Dr. being dressed as a "1980s geography teacher" - I was a geography teacher in the 1980s and I never wore anything like that...

If you want a proper connection, why not try the Teachers TV programme which features the Tardis as the context for exploring Climate Change, an activity which also appears in Nicky Batchen's Teachers Toolkit book...

Eco Sinner Redux...

Just been revisiting the Fred Pearce book: "Confessions of an Eco Sinner" that I blogged about a year or so ago...
Well worth adding to your summer reading list....


The Tour de France has just reached the base of the climb up to Mont Ventoux: the classic summit on the route...

Wonderful image made available under Creative Commons license by stranded_starfish

Food for Thought....

This is an excellent resource, which I have just been revisiting as part of a writing task that has occupied me for most of the day...
How much OIL is 'hidden' in a typical sandwich...

I also made a few new TILT SHIFT photographs, like the one below, of some Norfolk asparagus...
Image credit: Alan Parkinson

RIP John Ryan

Sad news of the death of John Ryan, who was famous for creating Captain Pugwash.
He was also involved with the production of the classic urban geography resource called Mary, Mungo and Midge that was part of my childhood...

Swine Flu Update

Further to my earlier post on Swine Flu (scroll down a little way), here is the Guardian Data Blog's link to a map showing cases by geographical location in England and Wales.

The data can also be downloaded as a spreadsheet....

UK as a village of 100 people...

There have been several iterations of the "If the world were 100 people...." style analysis of statistics.
Yesterday, the Daily Mail published an interesting analysis of the UK
It has since appeared on a number of other blogs.
You can read the full article here, but here are a few sample statistics.

IF BRITAIN was a village of 100 people, then 17 of the villagers would be under the age of 15, while another 16 would be 65 or over (three of them 80 or over).

THERE would be 80 adults (aged 16 or over), of whom 40 would be married and 11 would be alone.

THERE would be 42 households in the village, of which 13 would be home to just one person. (Six of these would belong to lone pensioners, of whom five would be women.)

OF THE 19 villagers aged between 20 and 34, four would live with their parents.

THE village would welcome one new baby this year. The baby would be expected to live for 76 years and six months if it was a boy, or 81 years and seven months if a girl.

ONE person would die this year.

TEN people would have been born outside the village, three of whom would live in London.

Thanks to Twitter for the tip off once again via @LizSmith

The Age of Dependency

The world is approaching another population milestone after the recent crossover from mostly rural to mostly urban population.

This GUARDIAN ARTICLE sums up some of the major issues involved in the new transition from a world of younger people to one of an ageing population, and people aged 65 and over outnumbering infants (children under 5) for the first time in human history.
This will apparently happen sometime in the next decade.

Every month, another 870 000 people turn 65 - amazing statistic !
There are over 100 million people aged over 65 in China...

Life expectancy is increasing as well.

This DOCUMENT shows how the dependency ratio has changed for European countries. It is quite a dramatic change over time.
It's one of many web based resources on this theme, which could be explored at all Key Stages.

A related story was also featured on the BBC News site today: the relaxation of the China One Child Policy in Shanghai, to allow couples (who are themselves only children) to have a second child.
Read the ARTICLE and explore how this is connected to the issue of an ageing population.

Too boring...

My eye was caught by a headline in yesterday's free "The London Paper"...

Parkinson 'too boring'.....

Turned out that apparently Michael Parkinson was being filmed for "Who do you think you are ?" but had no interesting ancestors or skeletons in the cupboard...
Not about me then...


On the train to London yesterday, I read the Summer 2009 issue of GEOGRAPHY.
There were two articles which I particularly focussed on, as I was looking for some links to develop for the unit on FOOD that I am currently writing. Some particularly good sections in the Charles Rawding article on geographies of consumption.

The other reason was that I have been asked to contribute an article related to my FOOD UNIT that was part of the GA Conference last April. Keep an eye out for that next year.

Thought for the Day

Prince Charles
The Richard Dimbleby Lecture
9th July 2009

We face a future where there is a real prospect that if we fail the Earth, we fail Humanity. To avoid such an outcome, which will comprehensively destroy our children’s future, we must urgently confront and then make choices which carry monumental implications. In this, we are the masters of our fate.

On the one hand, we have every good reason to believe that carrying on as we are will lead to a depleted and divided planet incapable of meeting the needs of its nine billion citizens, let alone sustaining its other life forms. On the other hand, we can adopt the technologies, lifestyles and, crucially, a much more integrated way of thinking and perceiving the world that can transform our relationship with the Earth that sustains us. The choice is certainly clear to me.

Full text HERE.

GeoVation Event

It's pouring with rain outside, and I'm just checking the proofs of my KS3 Toolkit book before they go off for the final checking and then it's all systems go on the book...

Travelled down to London today for one of the launch meetings for the GEOVATION project.

The mission statement for the GeoVation project, which is sponsored by the Ordnance Survey is:

"Promoting and supporting innovation for social and economic benefit through the use of geography."

Met Chris Parker from the Ordnance Survey, and various mapping / GIS type folk. The word geography was used more in this meeting than in any other event outside the 'traditional' geography meetings that I attend...

Thanks to Steven Feldman for the invitation and for suggesting some ways that we could encourage the ideas to be taken up by students and teachers.
Apparently there are various 'views' on the project, and the association with Ordnance Survey, and data and stuff, not all of them positive.... All I know is that Ordance Survey have been very supportive of geography teachers through their Free Maps for Schools scheme, Mapping News, Education websites such as GIS Zone, and attendance at numerous geographical events etc.

I look forward to seeing how the project develops.

Swine Flu

The Geography of Disease is a topic which has been introduced into some geography departments as part of the new KS3 (and also before, to be fair...)

On the return from the holidays (and yes, I know that some people reading this may not have broken up quite yet) who knows how Swine Flu may have spread - the holiday may even be extended.
The GA was involved in a project in 2008 with Wellcome, and the resources have a particular relevance to this situation. The GEOGRAPHY OF DISEASE project has a range of resources

and suggestions for exploring the spread of disease and identifying the 'geography'.

There is also a special page on the GA WEBSITE which provides a range of Swine Flu resources.

Graeme Eyre
Graeme Eyre, one of our Primary Geography Champions, is currently in China, and has added a fascinating "Living Geography" post to his blog about his experiences, including images of himself and the Chinese guards and temperature-taking procedures, as well as a picture of some official documents...Would make a nice mystery starter...
See the information HERE, where there is also a link to Graeme's FLICKR images.

The Flu Survey website is now live, and would also be a useful resource for mapping over time.

BBC Map showing the spread of the Swine Flu is another useful resource.


I blogged about the PLASTIKI voyage a while back, and the latest news is that the website is live, and the vessel, which is made from recycled plastic bottles, should set sail shortly.
This will provide a useful context for studies on themes of SUSTAINABILITY.

Check the specification of the boat to see the various equipment that has been installed.
The voyage will take in a number of key locations to explore the environmental impacts they are facing. Click the JOURNEY tab to see the route and Eco Info on the locations that are due to be visited...

40 years ago today....

Google Earth has added the MOON....

New Geography Champions

My primary colleague Paula Owens has just let me know about the appointment of the second tranche (a word I try to use as often as possible) of Primary Geography Champions.

View Geography Champion Network in a larger map

The new Champions will join those who have been working during this academic year to support Primary Colleagues through the many changes that have been happening in Primary Geography.

Flood Warnings

It was a wet and wild night here in Norfolk, but looking at the Environment Agency website it seems like we actually had it not too bad compared to elsewhere in the UK. At the moment (7.30 on a Saturday morning) there are 77 flood warnings in place around the country, including many of the rivers I drove over on the way to Islay recently, and several of which are familiar case study rivers to many geographers.
Best wishes to anyone who is threatened by flood water today...

Olympic Stadium

Danny Nicholson of WHITEBOARD BLOG fame spent some time recently at the 'Gherkin' and managed to take a series of excellent panoramic photos of London from the top floor restaurant.
This one features the Olympic Stadium...
Image by Danny Nicholson made available under Creative Commons license

(No) Jacket Required

Another TWITTER tipoff took me to the TEACHING EXPERTISE site, which included a good post on story telling techniques...

"The storytelling jacket"

Get an old jacket and put items in the pocket such as a train ticket, a letter, a book or a toy animal. Give the jacket to a group so that they can discover the items. The facilitator asks question to prompt imaginative responses from the participants.
  • Who does this jacket belong to?
  • What is in the pockets?
  • Wonder why there is a ...?
  • What do you think they were doing?
  • Does this person have any friends?
The questions help build an idea of the jacket owner’s life.
From this a story can be developed, either by the group as whole or by individual participants.
This could be an extension of the old feely box, or the assembly of artefacts in a box or bag that is used by some teachers.

Any thoughts on a situation where you might use this technique ?

Geography and Golf

This fantastic image of Ailsa Craig by Flickr user atomicjeep and shared under Creative Commons

The Open Golf Championship is taking place at Turnberry at the moment.
This is one of my favourite sporting events, particularly when the wind picks up and the golfers have to use their skill to play conservatively and pick their way around the course. Mind you, with the Ashes and the Tour de France on, the remote is getting a lot of use flicking between the three....

The course at Turnberry has quite a few geographical connections. There have been some good aerial shots of the course as well, showing the rugged coastal scenery.

Ailsa Craig sits in the Clyde halfway to Arran, and is the source of granite which is used to make curling stones.

If ye can see Ailsa Craig, it’s gaun tae rain. If ye canny see it, it’s already raining.
– Old Saying

There is the famour 9th tee at Turnberry which stands on a cliff top promontory. A nice description here by Thomas Bonk. The golfers have to drive over the sea and occasionally a golfer may need to play from the beach.

There is also a GEOGRAPHY AND GOLF page on GeographyPages. This suggests other golf links... (do you see what I did there...)

Bridgeman Art Library Project

I have been involved on the margins of a new project with geographical connections which is being developed by the Bridgeman Art Library.
Here is some further information on the Bridgeman Art Library and the project itself...

The Bridgeman Art Library founded in 1972, is one of the leading sources of cultural heritage imagery, working with museums, private collections and art collections in the UK and internationally. Over a million high quality resolution images cover subjects such as art, archaeology, architecture, history, geography, science and medicine, manuscripts, society, photography, religion and politics. We also have portraits of all the leading personalities throughout history from Archimedes to Obama. These images have traditionally been licensed to educational publishers (in a wide range of materials), fiction/non-fiction publishers, TV/Film companies, electronic producers and the media. We support museums by returning 50% of our fees back to them, enabling them to conserve and exhibit their works.

In 2005, The Bridgeman Art Library introduced an innovative educational image resource (Bridgeman Education –www.bridgemaneducation.com) for scholars, universities and schools. The database is a subscription-based, annually renewable website, drawing from the Bridgeman Art Library’s own archives and permits students and staff to keyword search, download and use over 300,000 images, copyright-cleared for educational use. The emphasis is on simplicity, rapid access and organisation. Bridgeman Education is currently working on several educational programmes and one of them is called the SILVER project.

The project:

SILVER (www.silvereducation.org) is a government-funded research project (Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills - DIUS) that investigates the development of new e-learning technologies for use in education and training. The SILVER project comprises a consortium of three organisations: Bridgeman Education; Lexara (technology partner); and the Knowledge Media Institute, which is part of the Open University.

Prototype 1:

The SILVER team has already developed a first prototype. This prototype is on the topic of Women and the Vote (with a focus on Suffragettes), and is aimed towards KS3 History and Citizenship students and teachers. In order to have a look at this prototype please click on our SILVER website www.silvereducation.org -and register.

A Suffragette selling newspapers to two soldiers, c.1914 © Bridgeman Art Library

Prototype 2:

Currently the SILVER project team is working on the second prototype which is focused on the sustainable development topic (sustainable buildings) a subject relevant to KS3 and KS4 Geography and the Environment and Land-based Studies (sustainability) Diploma.

This prototype is divided in two parts, the first one will explore the topic by tagging and annotating the Bridgeman Art Library sustainable buildings images and the second part will incorporate the use of new technology with a UGC (user generated content) section in which students will upload their own images and comments from their local area.

If you would like to participate on the prototype 2 (sustainable development module), please contact the SILVER E-learning Specialist Susa Rodriguez-Garrido at


It is this second project which I am involved in....

One to watch as it develops...

Earth Science Teachers Association

We have been contacted by the Earth Science Teachers' Association.

They are creating a series of VIRTUAL EXPERIMENTS

ESTA are hoping to develop 10 of the experiments in the ESTA CD Earth Science Experiments into virtual Geological experiments. The computer programs to run the animation for the first two, Strength of Rocks and Metamorphic Aureole have already been mostly developed.
Listed in the NEWS section of the site are 18 other experiments which ESTA thinks can be turned into virtual experiments. The data for the virtual experiments will be based on data obtained over many years of doing real experiments.

There's also details of an experiment on lava flow using Golden syrup which looks good...

Please choose 8 experiments from those listed on the website and email the titles to miketuke@btinternet.com.

Your emails must arrive before August 20th

Tour de France

Just re-reading Tim Moore's "French Revolutions", which is an excellent book about tracking the route of the Tour de France. The Tour is well underway now...
There's also a free iPhone app related to the tour for those of you with iPhones to track the stages...

a different view ANIMOTO

I hope that all visitors to the blog are aware of the GA's manifesto: "a different view".
The website support for the manifesto includes a range of ACTIVITIES for all key stages, related to the large images that have been used in the manifesto booklet. Materials can be DOWNLOADED.

The ANIMOTO movie for "a different view" has now been upgraded to a HIGH DEFINITION version.
The original version can be streamed from the ANIMOTO website - and is embedded below for those who may not have seen the movie.

The movie has now been viewed over 500 times in its various versions.

The music license that we have arranged for the video means that the movie with the Afro Celts music cannot be downloaded, but for those who would like to have a DOWNLOADED version, we have now made available a version with copyright free classical music...

This is available from a 4SHARED file location.
Follow the link to locate and download for your own use...

David Lambert's presentation

Several teachers have created NINGS to support colleagues.
The GA's NING has a list of some of these that we are aware of at the bottom of the main page.

One new one is Tony Batista's SOUTH GLOUCESTERSHIRE NING.
This has a version of David Lambert's IoE presentation that was used at the Geography Alive ! conference last week in Bristol...
Nice work - let us know of any other geography NINGS that you know about...

Dearne Valley

The Dearne Valley is an area which has undergone tremendous changes over the last few decades.
The new plans for eco-developments in the valley can be seen HERE
The Dearne Valley would provide an excellent context for work on urban regeneration for schools in a large area of the north of England, and a useful field study location as well.

Some work exploring the area has been carried out by Tony Dodsworth and shared on the Engaging Places website


Forgot to mention this last week. Have blogged about it in previous years.
Mattanhenge happens twice a year on a day when the setting sun is aligned along the East-West alignment of streets in New York. Plenty of images will come up on a Flickr image search.


I am putting together a CD of resources for a Smartboard training session I am facilitating on Friday. There are teachers of Geography (natch), plus Art and ICT attending, so the focus will be on pedagogy and making use of the board 'interactive' (that's what they're called after all....)

More to come next week after the session....


A new discovery via Twitter is Screenjelly.
This allows the recording of screen activity along with a voice over, so can be used to capture a sequence of activity relating to the use of a piece of software, or perhaps the use of a website.

The recording can then be shared via Twitter or a video.

Branching out... Norfolk plus....

The first port of call for many GA members, and those interested in the work of the GA is their local GA branch.

I have visited quite a few branches this year on my various travels around the country, and there is a tremendous range of activity out there.
Some branches offer lectures and other sessions suitable for GCSE and A level students in particular, others are for interested adults in particular, many of them run the GA's WORLDWISE quiz, and others have field visits and walks organised.

Some offer a range of activities, and others are 'new wave' GA branches.

Find out which is your local GA Branch and get in touch to see what's happening...

I am delighted to have been asked to be the President of the GA's Norfolk branch for 2009-2010.
Why not download the NORFOLK GA programme if you're in the area and come along to some of the events.
Will also be speaking to the OXFORD GA branch.

New Defence Dynamics Resources

Defence Dynamics is the educational website of the MoD.
After producing a range of map packs some years ago now, the latest resources are now available on the website, and look to be interesting !

Sir Trevor in the Caribbean

Last night I caught the last of Trevor McDonald's series looking at the Caribbean.
The programme started with some dramatic aerial shots of Montserrat and the destruction of Plymouth, but there were other useful geographical contexts.
The DVD is out this week.

Young Brits at Art

Many thanks to Helen Carty for telling me about this link just now...

The Equality and Human Rights Commission ran a YOUNG BRITS AT ART competition, which looked at the issue of IDENTITY.
You can see the 100 images which were voted as the best, and the final short list of 10 images as well.
Watch the videos of the final AWARDS CEREMONY too.

When I'm 65....

There are apparently plans to scrap the compulsory retirement age in response to an aging population, and changing economic circumstances.
Apparently over 1 million people over the age of 65 are still working in the UK at the moment.

This would make a useful ENQUIRY context for students.
What might be the impact of this ?

National Parks

Just been exploring the new DIAMONDS IN THE LANDSCAPE, which celebrates 60 years of landscape protection of the NATIONAL PARKS.

One link is to this CPRE film from the 1930s...

The CPRE have an evocative logo...
The site is well worth checking out.

Take a View Competition

Take "a different view" of the British landscape, and get involved in the TAKE A VIEW landscape photography competition.

This BBC NEWS article provides further information on the competition, which has a number of categories which would provide a useful context for a geography homework assignment, or perhaps a summer holiday task...

Why not hold your own school based competition and enter the winners into the national competition ?

Please note that there is an entry fee for this competition.

Scottish Association of Geography Teachers Conference

This annual event takes place this year on the 31st of October at the Edinburgh Academy in Edinburgh.

This year's SAGT keynote speakers include the mountaineer and author Andy Cave, and Ollie Bray. The theme is "Today's Geography , Tomorrow's World".

I will be doing Workshop 10:
"A Different View : what's your view ?"

Go HERE to download your conference programme and book a place. (PDF download)

The conference costs £60 for non-SAGT members, and £35 for SAGT members

The description of my workshop is below:

A Different View”: what’s your view ?
Presenter Alan Parkinson
Secondary Curriculum Development Leader, Geographical Association
In April 2009, the Geographical Association published its ‘manifesto for geography’. Called ‘a different view’, it explores the nature of school geography, and suggests an approach to teaching the subject called ‘living geography’.
The manifesto takes the form of a booklet with stunning images and text, a poster and postcard set, and a website packed with resources including a range of multimedia content. It is entirely self-funded by the GA. As with the last four years at SAGT, I would appreciate some interactivity from delegates (whether or not you opt for my session). Please take the time to visit the manifesto website at: http://www.geography.org.uk/adifferentview and e-mail your ‘views’ to me at aparkinson AT geography.org.uk

The seminar is designed for all levels from S1 upwards: as the manifesto is applicable to all phases. Delegates attending the workshop will go away with a range of materials to use immediately, as well as some suggestions for encouraging students to develop their own ‘different view’ of the
world – the manifesto is intended to provoke debate, and support engaging teaching.

You can also catch David Rogers. Come along to the GA stand too, and meet John Halocha.

Our place in history...

Another new unit has gone up on the Geography Teaching Today website.
Our Place in History provides the resources for a cross-curricular unit looking at Local History.

Discovering the Arctic

The sister site to Discovering Antarctica has now been launched, and is live.

Discovering the Arctic has a range of resources, images and activities which make it an essential visit for those using the Polar regions as a context for learning activities.
Developed by the RGS-IBG in association with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Scottish Association for Marine Science, and the British Antarctic Survey.

Update: thanks to Judith Mansell for explaining that there are some further additions still to come, in particular some further teachers notes. The interactives should work and give a nice introduction to the Poles: useful for the OCR A GCSE specification too....

Diploma Style Working

The Diplomas are coming...

A diploma for Humanities and Social Sciences is due to be taught from 2011. I blogged about this a few weeks ago when I attended a consultation event...

Two other Diplomas with geographical content, which are already underway include

We would like to collect some examples of schools working with exciting geography, but in the spirit of the Diploma i.e. that could be:
  • in collaboration with employers and perhaps colleges and university,
  • perhaps some employer led work,
  • perhaps cross phase,
  • perhaps some off site working.
Does that sound like your department ?

Please contact Alan Parkinson or John Lyon at the GA, or leave a comment below and we'll get in touch.

Making Geography Happen

Image by Alan Parkinson

Last Friday, in very different weather conditions to today's downpours, was spent at the GA in Solly Street in the company of a group of teachers who were involved in one of our projects, which is called MAKING GEOGRAPHY HAPPEN.

More on this project will emerge later in the year, when the accompanying website is launched.

The website will include examples of teachers working with students to explore what happens "when geography happens" and whether that can be captured and articulated...
There will also be a session at the GA Conference 2010

Thanks to all those teachers and colleagues concerned in making the day such a success....

Rotherham GA Branch Meeting

Thanks very much to those Rotherham and Barnsley colleagues who attended my session today in Brinsworth on low cost GIS solutions.
I forgot to ask for details of names and schools, so if you are reading this and attended the session, please contact me via aparkinson AT geography.org.uk, and also do this if you were missing any of the delegate materials.

I would be happy to work with you / students / your department next year if you would find that helpful. Thanks for such a positive response and a large turnout....

Sheffield: no place like home

Sitting on my colleague's desk today at the GA was a copy of Carl Lee's intriguing new book, which I went out to get a copy of later that day. Called "Home: a personal geography of Sheffield"
Have also been invited along to a conference that Carl is organising in September on Inequality.

Article in the Sheffield Telegraph gives a flavour for the background

"I wanted to write a geography book for people who wouldn't normally read a geography book.

"I also wanted to try and get to the heart of why Sheffield was such a great place to live. I've thought the city is one of the best-kept secrets of Britain. I've had a go at exploring the ingredients that make up the city and contribute to it being such a great place to live.

"I hope that Sheffield can continue to be the radical city that shaped its creation, now more than ever we need to think about alternatives to the discredited status quo.

"Sheffield was one of the first industrial cities in the world, one of the first to de-industrialise, and hopefully the city which leads us into a greener, more equal and more sustainable future."

Another connection with the city came today when I was told that my old mate Pete Rawlinson is one of the directors of the new Sheffield Brewery. The names of the beers that they brew have plenty of geographical connections.

Brewing and distilling is an area that I have long meant to develop as the context for a teaching (or learning) resource - got a growing collection of materials now. Perhaps a trip to the brewery would be a good idea...

Ted Talks: 10 ways the world could end

Green Britain Day

10th July

Slightly dubious about link with energy company...

What will you do to save energy on Friday ?

One and other

Me on Crosby Beach, 2007

Antony Gormley is an artist whose work I have come across in numerous locations, from Crosby Beach to the O2 and even on a friend's wall (a long story).
His latest project ONE AND OTHER involves the vacant fourth plinth in Trafalgar Square. The website has a live web feed of the activity.
Was considering applying to go on the plinth in October. There's still a chance to get an hour of Geography up there... Anyone else got a place ?

British Antarctic Survey

Over to the British Antarctic Survey on the outskirts of Cambridge today on a day when I had to run for cover several times due to thunderstorms.

Spent the day in the company of Peter Fretwell, who achieved some fame recently due to his work on tracking penguin movements and locations using their poo (or guano to use the technical term) and Paul Cooper.

We were trialling some new GIS resources which will be coming soon to a classroom near you.

We were using an open source GIS package which was new to me...

Thanks to Judith Mansell at the RGS for inviting me to get involved, and thanks to Chris, Paul, Eleanor and Sarah for their company on the day.

Fix my Street

A late addition to a presentation I'm doing later this week...
FIX MY STREET (part of the my Society group of websites)

This allows members of the public to explore their local area and to mark on things which they would like 'fixed'....
There are various comments attached to some of the requests, which include updates on whether the problem has been 'fixed' or not.
Worthwhile taking a look to get a feeling for what issues there are locally.
Could be adapted in some way - perhaps to add comments about issues on the school grounds ?

Why not switch it around so that the POSITIVE things are mapped rather than the things that need need fixing ?

Young People's Geographies

"Childhood has always been a disputed territory, its true geography quickly forgotten as we grow older, replaced by an adult-imagined universe." (Libby Brooks, 2006)

On Thursday of this week, a meeting took place at the GA's HQ in Solly Street to celebrate the work that has been done during the 3rd phase of the Young People's Geographies project.

To read more about the early stages of the project, visit my GEOGRAPHY PAGES page. My involvement in the project goes back to November 2006 when we had the first project meeting in Leicester.

The third phase involved teachers from schools in the 2 areas: Sheffield, and the North East.

Thanks to Jane Ferretti and Steve Watts: the link ITE tutors, and particularly to Mary Biddulph (the new editor of 'Teaching Geography') and Roger Firth from the University of Nottingham.

Thanks to all the teachers involved...
More details will emerge over the summer...


Have been enjoying reading Geoff Manaugh's BLDG BLOG book this week.

A good review in The Guardian

Was invited by Jeff to the launch event at the Architecture Association HQ in London next week, but unfortunately can't make the date, as I will be at a couple of meetings in Sheffield that day, followed by more meetings the day after...

Will content myself with reading BLDG BLOG instead. I suggest you do too....


Another website worth investigating is one to support the UK version of WIRED magazine.

One particularly interesting recent article referred to the methods that retail and other companies used to gather data about consumers. These include billboards which have cameras with facial recognition software.

Also led me via a circuitous route to the blog of Jim Rossignol, who I've mentioned before.

Rossignol uses an appropriate quote by J.G Ballard (who I also blogged about recently...)

“My advice to anyone in any field is to be faithful to your obsessions. Identify them and be faithful to them, let them guide you like a sleepwalker.”
J.G Ballard

Your favourite beach ?

Today's Independent has a magazine with a feature "The 50 Best British Beaches"...

Interestingly (although they are not necessarily in order...) Hunstanton beach in Norfolk, just 4 miles from where I live, is included as No. 1

Which is your favourite beach ?

Tour de France

My favourite sporting event, as I have blogged about earlier on several occasions...

Thanks to Keir Clarke from Google Maps Mania once again for a tip off about a live tracker being posted by UBILABS.
Vive le tour !

"You could define us solely as a motorway race rather than an island race."

Motorway service stations are "a microcosm of Britishness..."

Will Self

Enjoying reading Joe Moran's "On Roads".

Plenty of TRANSPORT RELATED LINKS on GeographyPages...

Wordle one year on...

Was reading a random page of the seminal GEOGRAPHY PAGES earlier for a completely unrelated reason and discovered that it was a year ago that I first discovered WORDLE.

Here's a celebratory WORDLE of the text of the Michael Chabon article I blogged about earlier.
Wordle: Michael Chabon article

Thanks to Jonathan Feinberg for his creation.

Cheap GIS solutions

Advance notice of a session on "cheap GIS solutions" that I will be facilitating at 4pm next Tuesday at the Brinsworth Training Centre, opposite CENT near the MAGNA centre....
The event is being organised by the GA Rotherham Branch.

I will be talking about the use of cheap GIS solutions: particularly the use of Google Earth, which could be used in a progressive way to map data and connect it to a location.
I will mention a range of projects, including Noel Jenkins' impressive Wellington Stories project.

Michael Palin and Ben Saunders

Earlier this year, Michael Palin was introduced as the new President of the Royal Geographical Society (with the Institute of British Geographers)
There's an interesting article in the Independent newspaper today, which can be read by clicking the link.

A few interesting quotes on what Michael thinks about geography can be found in the article.

"For some reason, geography is not seen as a popular subject in school. It's seen as very unglamorous. Yet when I was at school, I can remember geography offering me the chance to get out and go on field trips and go on walks, and I loved maps, I loved atlases, I loved learning about other countries and places where things were different from our own – and that's all covered by geography."

Good to hear the interest in 'the Boss' too....

Ben Saunders is an Honorary Vice President of the Geographical Association.

Ben Saunders from Ben Saunders on Vimeo.

Follow Ben on Twitter @polarben is his account

A recent tweet by Ben lead me to "The Wilderness of Childhood" by Michael Chabon: an article from the NY Review of Books...

This contains an interesting exploration of the importance of place and exploration in children's lives: a theme that was also picked up in the Michael Palin interview.

All of this fits in completely with many of the projects that are currently underway at the Geographical Association, investigating local area using mapping, GIS and technology. These are certainly "interesting times" for geography.

To finish, a quote from the Michael Chabon article:

"Childhood is a branch of cartography"

David Rogers - star of stage and screen

David Rogers has had film crews in his classroom for the last 2 weeks running...
Last week it was the BBC, filming a lesson looking at the BBC Box. This work is now available to view here....

Today, it was Teachers' TV and a lesson continuing the theme of interdependence and globalisation, but this time with an added bit of piracy, which involved a bit of preparation and interaction using Twitter 'live' - quite a bold idea with cameras in the room. More to come on this later....
Nice work Mr. Rogers !

Islay 2020

Just uploaded a number of images to my Flickr photostream of the outcomes of our group discussion at the evening "unconference" discussions which formed part of the Islay 2020 education event last month.
These were recorded on one of Dan Ellison's 'Thinking Space' maps...