American Samoan quake

Earlier this evening, I went to a lecture at King Edward VI 5 Ways as part of a joint GA / RGS event. I blogged about it HERE.
On arriving at my hotel room, I turned on the TV to see reports of a major earthquake in American Samoa, and started to follow a few leads on it, with relation to the forecast tsunami. One of the threads of Iain Stewart's presentation referred to the 2004 tsunami and the cultural connections.
There was also an unconnected earthquake in Indonesia close to the city of Padang, which has a population of around 900 000

Also worth checking the new SWANWICK SEISMOLOGY blog of Victoria Ellis, and colleagues and students at Swanwick Hall School in Derbyshire.

The school was given a seismometer as part of the scheme.

Worldwise Challenge 2009

Last weekend, a number of GA colleagues were down at Juniper Hall for the Field Studies Council-hosted WORLDWISE CHALLENGE 2009

I had provided a few ideas for the activities that were used over the weekend.
Thanks to John Lyon for nice images at the top of the post.

Well done to the WINNERS (below) and to all who took part in the weekend...

Overall Winners - Bishop Wordsworth's School 'A' Team

Tom Ridley
Sam Ridgeway
Patrick Brennan

Fieldwork - St Cuthbert Mayne School

Daniel Clemence
James Brook
Tim Brook

Presentation - Bishop Wordsworth's School 'B' Team

Guy Niblett
Joseph Hand
Tom Whetstone

Iain Stewart at KEGS 5 Ways

Over to King Edward VI 5 Ways school in SW Birmingham today. A cross-country trip with more amazing weather thanks to the current high pressure.

Took a tour through the southern suburbs of Birmingham thanks to my Garmin which came into its own here.
Thanks to Bob Lang and Paula Cooper for the invitation and for hosting us all so well, and giving me a guided tour of the department and the school.

The school is certainly a geographical "hub". It's a Humanities school with a 'Geography' specialism, a GA branch, and the centre of an RGS local network. The teaching staff include several Chartered Geographers, and the school also holds a GA Secondary Geography Quality Mark and is a Centre of Excellence.

Met up with Professor Iain Stewart from Plymouth University, and a PhD student of his: Kate Donovan, who were delivering a lecture on the theme of geological hazards and their cultural references.
Iain is an honorary Vice President of the GA, and also a Primary Geography Champion.

Image: thanks to Ian Dixson
Left to right: me, Bob Lang, Iain Stewart, Paula Cooper, Kate Donovan

The lecture was excellent, and drew a crowd of between 300 and 350 people to the school's hall. Also good to meet up with colleagues new and old and virtual....

I will be writing a separate report on the lecture with my notes, and also sharing Iain's slides, which he is keen to do...

An excellent evening...

Powerpoint or Powerpointless ?

A nice presentation from David Rogers, on presentation software that might be used in lessons... Lots of geography examples and content...
Nice choice of images too.
View more presentations from geogrocks.

The Geography Collective....

Just preparing the new GEOGRAPHY COLLECTIVE website for launch at the weekend....

If you're going to be at the TES Education Show on Saturday, come and say hello.
I am going to be presenting a seminar at 2pm.
Dan Ellison of URBAN EARTH fame will also be mooching around....

Anyone else there and want to meet up ?

Instant cities...

Not seen the actual INSTANT CITIES iPhone app in action, but it gives me an idea...
A series of blank iPhone screen templates, with content for an INSTANT (insert name of place you want here....)

iPhone image from HERE

Climate Change Walks

Climate Change walks are being offered by a company in Switzerland. The tour shows the likely impacts of climate change in a glacial valley. Saw it on Newsround this morning while getting the kids ready for school...

The Video CBBC CLIP here.

Why not produce a climate change tour of your own location ?

Or read the Climate Change diary of Dario Schwoerer or ONE OF THE OTHERS on the WWF website.

Use the INTERVIEW FORM to conduct, or produce the results of, another CLIMATE CHANGE INTERVIEW.

Oxfam Regional Conferences

Oxfam are holding a series of REGIONAL CONFERENCES in the next month or so.

Responsible citizenship at Key Stages 3 and 4


October’s programme of conferences will focus on the human impact of climate change, and the significance of the forthcoming UN climate change conference to be held in Copenhagen this December.

Learners will be challenged to understand the politics behind this controversial and contemporary human crisis, and work towards a young people’s declaration to go to politicians in the lead-up to the Copenhagen summit.

When and Where

Conferences are taking place in Birmingham, Bristol, London and Manchester.

At each event we will host up to 4 delegates from 25 schools in the local area, and attendance is free of charge


All delegates will have the opportunity to participate in 4 workshops on the following topics:

Inspiring action in your school and community

Influencing decision makers

Understanding the issues

Campaigning to get what you want

Draft Agenda

10.00-10.15Initial address
10.15-11.10Workshop 1
11.15-12.10Workshop 2
12.45-1.40Workshop 3
1.45-2.40Workshop 4
2.50-3.30Final plenary

Reserve Your Place

If you would like to express interest in attending one of these conferences, or discuss in more detail, please contact your nearest regional Youth & Schools Campaigner:

Birmingham Conference, Monday 12 October

Sophia Ireland
Tel 0121 634 3611

Manchester Conference, Monday 19 October

Jo-Anne Witcombe
Tel 0161 234 2793

London Conference, Thursday 22 October

John McLaverty
Tel 0207 802 9981

Bristol Conference, Friday 16 October

Jennifer Martin
Tel 0117 916 6475

Teachmeet Movie by Brainpop

For those people who aren't sure what the Teachmeet is... Here's a video made by the people from BRAINPOP.

New CfBT support for CROSS CURRICULAR working

New Secondary Curriculum

Regional Cross Curricular Conferences

This series of events is designed to help subject leaders to understand how subject areas can work together effectively to deliver the New Secondary Curriculum.

Each event will showcase ways of working together across a range of different subject areas.

The GEOGRAPHY events are outlined below, along with the subjects that we have been 'placed' with for the purpose of the events.

To book your free delegate place please go to the link below and complete the online booking form by the 30th October 2009, as places are limited
(please click on the region you wish to attend)

Art & Design, Citizenship, Design & Technology, Geography and Physical Education

Eastern Friday 9th October 09 Huntingdon Marriott

North West Thursday 15th October 09 Manchester United FC

East Midlands Thursday 22nd October 09 Leicester Tigers

South West Wednesday 4th November 09 Taunton Racecourse Ltd

North East Tuesday 26th January 10 Life Conference & Banqueting

Yorkshire & Humberside Wednesday 10th February 10 Metropole Leeds

West Midlands Monday 1st March 10 Holiday Inn Birmingham

South East Thursday 11th March 10 Wooton House, Dorking

London Wednesday 17th March 10 Marriott Maida Vale

For more details, there is a helpline on 0118 902 1506

On the day, you will meet either Angus Willson or David Rayner (possibly even me...) and be shown a range of projects as well as have time to plan a possible cross curricular event.

Apologies for dreadful formatting on this post...

Major EU flood exercise

A major exercise to test the preparedness of the Netherlands to cope with a storm surge has been taking place this month.

The FLOODEX website has a range of resources, and further information about the exercise, and the threat that coastal flooding, associated with storm surges poses to the low-lying areas of the North Sea coastline.

Thanks to Stephen Schwab for the tip-off.

The BBC had a news feature on the exercise which can be viewed using the link HERE.

A good counterpoint to the Atlantic Rising website I blogged about earlier.

Google Earth Climate Change Tours

Thanks to Ollie Bray for the tipoff to a resource for Google Earth which is being launched in time for the Copenhagen climate change conference in December.

Blog Action Day 09 - Climate Change

Blog Action Day 09
I have taken part in previous Blog Action Days.
The topic this year is CLIMATE CHANGE.

The date is OCTOBER the 15th...
If you have a blog, why not sign up, and contribute a blog post on the topic of Climate Change on the day itself...

Teachmeet SLF 09

Picture by Claire McCallum from HERE

Just spent a good part of the evening taking part in the Flashmeeting which was being broadcast from BBC Scotland, where the Scottish Learning Festival 09 TEACHMEET was being held.
You can watch a REPLAY HERE.
Quite a few faces that are familiar to me were up presenting, and great to see that so many of them were TEACHERS...
When I presented last year at SLF08 I was just out of the classroom and could talk about a project I'd just been doing, but now I'd be happy to sit in the audience and hear from colleagues.

A nice blog post from Claire McCallum of BBC Scotland HERE - Claire also provided the image above...

She mentions my blog post from this year's BETT show Teachmeet. Just re-read it, and brings back some good memories. Looking forward to BETT 2010, although I have the TES EDUCATION show before then.

Oh, and I only just realised that the word "Tech" is in a different colour in the logo...

Edible Geography

Edible Geography - a new find and a new blog "follow"....
This has some interesting BLDGBLOG-esque posts....

This post, for example, looks at the effect of climate change on the taste of beer, and there is also a reminder of Chris Bodle's excellent WATERMARK installation in Bristol, which I blogged about at the time.

The post goes on to suggest that climate change could perhaps be 'tasted' by producing a menu based on crops which will perhaps appear in the UK.
Thought-provoking, intelligent stuff...


A useful resource for Climate Change

TES Education Show

TES Education Show takes place at Olympia on the 2nd and 3rd of October. I am presenting on the topic of ICT in the Geography Classroom.

Please find above the title slide of my presentation: one of many - going to be interesting getting through everything I want to say in 50 minutes (anyone who's seen me present before will not be surprised by that...)
Also embedded below is the handout that delegates will be given on the day - they will also be getting some of the activities from "A Different View"
May see some of you there - come and say hello...

Incredible Sydney dust storm images and video

Sydney was hit by dust storms today. Some amazing images on the FLICKR BLOG.
Loads of geography in these dust storms as well....

Keir Clarke produced a nice map which showed a series of videos that people had posted to YouTube.
At this point I had a major spooky coincidence. Clicked on a video at random and turned out to be made by somebody I did my Geography degree with, who graduated in the same year, and we hadn't seen each other for nearly 25 years...
It's a big world...


Got my new membership card for the RSPB in the post.
Have been a member for over 20 years and am lucky enough to live in a village which not only has an RSPB reserve, but also the famous "Snettisham Spectactulars"
Plenty of overlap with geography too...

Normal for Norfolk

Noticed yesterday a TV ad on Norfolk, which included a range of images of the county, and the hi-tech industries that are located here.
The tagline was "Normal for Norfolk", which has sometimes been used in a negative sense, but is being turned into a positive here.
Rebranding ?

GeoVation Charter

Earlier in the year, I attended a launch event at the Royal Society of Arts for the GeoVation project.
The GeoCommunity conference is taking place this week at Stratford on Avon.

Charter has just been launched online, and can be read HERE, along with other information about the project.


“To encourage and support innovation for social, economic and environmental benefit through the use of geography”


GeoVation’s aims shall be to:
  • promote the use of geography in innovation
  • make innovating with geography easier
  • provide support to new innovations that use geography by connecting people with geographic expertise to those who require it in realising their objectives.

GeoVation’s activities shall be to:
  • maintain an online and offline presence to support Member activities
  • run an annual competition to act as a catalyst for innovation
  • provide talks and meetings for members to meet each other
  • hold an annual Meeting
  • promote the aims of GeoVation.

Relationship to Ordnance Survey

Whilst GeoVation is founded and currently financially supported by Ordnance Survey as the founding sponsor, it’s mission is to: “encourage and support innovation for social, economic and environmental benefit through the use of all geography”; not just the products and services of Ordnance Survey.
GeoVation is an Ordnance Survey initiative that is funded and managed by Ordnance Survey with input from external Champions.

Visit the website if you have an idea for a social mapping project...


Stuffed and Starved
Just read most of this on a train journey, and it's a great book for those teaching about issues related to food.
The supporting website has a range of resources which would be useful for those wanting additional reference material, including useful related YouTube clips.
On the website you can currently "Look inside" the book...

Also lots of mentions of the word geography, which is always a bonus :)

Champion Work...

The latest edition of "Primary Teachers" features a great double-page spread of an article on the work of Anthony Barlow and the other PRIMARY GEOGRAPHY CHAMPIONS.

There is a LINK TO THE ARTICLE here as an on-screen document, or PDF download if you prefer.

This is splendid work, and after hearing about Anthony's work at the recent Making Geography Happen event it was also good to see the giant model that Anthony talked about.

Inequality and the Human Geography of Sheffield

Image by Alan Parkinson, and available under Creative Commons license

A conference for level 3 students of Geography, Humanities, Sociology and Health Studies.
Organised by Carl Lee, and took place at the University of Sheffield.

Danny Dorling and colleagues John Pritchard and Dan Vickers from SASI were present, and presented on the issue of Social Inequality, using images from WORLDMAPPER and talking about their work.

The second session involved a discussion on tackling inquality.

Thanks to Carl for the invitation. Carl has added a range of the resources that were used at the event to the EDEXCEL 'A' LEVEL NING. It is also worth hunting out a copy of Carl's excellent book on Sheffield: "Home: a Personal Geography of Sheffield"

The SASI website features a range of very useful links for those interested in teaching and learning about social inequality.

Some notes that I took in the first part of the day will hopefully be added in due course...

Countdown to Copenhagen

Received my Countdown to Copenhagen pack from Action Aid today.
Just thought I'd share that with you...

Arctic Survey Education

A new resource for those teaching about Polar regions is due to launch shortly.

Arctic Survey Education is produced in association with Polar explorer Pen Hadow.

It contains a range of resources on themes related to surviving in, and exploring the Arctic.

A resource gallery contains a range of video material. An impressive addition to the congested field of resources on this geographical region.

Pigs and Rubbish

A fascinating article in the New York Times on Cairo

For many years, one of the classic case studies of an informal economy was a group of people called the ZABALEEN...

Earlier this year, as a response to the swine flu threat, pigs in Egypt were culled...
Read the article to see what happened next...

5 stages to becoming a 'real' teacher

Interesting article in last week's TES magazine about the 5 STAGES that NQTs apparently go through as they develop as teachers.
Five stages of learning

STAGE 1: Early idealism

- Strong ideas about what you want to do.

- Feeling that everything is possible.

- Belief that relationship with pupils will determine effectiveness as a teacher.

STAGE 2: Personal survival

- Detecting and fitting in with routines and expectations.

- Wanting to be "seen" as a teacher.

- Establishing classroom control.

STAGE 3: Dealing with difficulties

- Beginning to make sense of what is happening in the classroom and identifying solutions.

- Concern shifts from personal survival to survival "as a teacher".

STAGE 4: Hitting a plateau

- Solving problems such as behaviour management and organisation.

- Feeling that you are mastering teaching and beginning to enjoy it.

- Enthusiasm for new teaching styles wanes.

STAGE 5: Moving on

- Understanding the role and responsibility of being a professional educator.

- Willing to try out new teaching styles and take on more responsibilities.

- Willing to move if your school doesn't offer you these opportunities.

Which stage are you at ?

1000 up...

I will soon be passing the 1000 post milestone on this blog, which means 1000 geographical nuggets: sometimes a few lines, sometimes a more major resource or text which took a while to write. This blog has overtaken and replaced most of my other online activities, and is THE place to come to find out where I'm going to be, and what I'm up to.
I hope it gives you a sense of the depth to which I am immersed in the worlds of geographical education, the social web and supporting and building networks of geography teachers all over the country.
Keep reading !

Farmer Chalmers

Followed an interesting conversation on Friday between Kenny O' Donnell, who teaches near Glasgow and runs one of the most useful geography teacher blogs that are out there: full of reflective posts on his pedagogical adventures, and a farmer in Norfolk.
Gerald Chalmers is a friend of mine, and lives on a mixed farm near Bircham in the west of the county.

The reason I could "listen in" was that both of them were using Twitter.
Thanks to Angus Willson for the screendump

Kenny had arranged with Gerry that he was going to have a lesson that day. Some questions that had been prepared in advance were sent, and Gerry provided answers. Others were asked during the hour that the 'conversation' took place.

The students asked some very interesting questions. Kenny has blogged about the lesson HERE, along with a range of screen dumps.

Conversation included topics such as:
  • Organic farming & pesticide use
  • Impact of quotas and removal of setaside
  • Issues of staffing
  • Impact of recession and rising prices of fuel and other costs
  • Profitability of pig farming
  • The difficulties of running a small-scale operation
Richard Benson's excellent book "The Farm" was mentioned, as was the diversification evident at the nearby SNETTISHAM PARK FARM, and the more famous JIMMY's FARM near Ipswich.

To follow Kenny on Twitter: @Kenny73
To follow Gerald Chalmers on Twitter: @Farmerchalmers

This technique of inviting an expert "into" the classroom could be a useful tool for those who want an expert voice, but have a limited budget.

It's an alternative form of "hotseating" as well...
Let me know of any thoughts...

New homes in Norfolk

A useful post from one of the blogs that I follow (feel free to "follow" this blog by the way...)

This explores the issues surrounding the planning for the thousands of new homes which are 'required' for West Norfolk.

The Norfolk Coast blog contains a range of interesting posts on Norfolk issues. There was recently a very good post about the high tides at Thornham with some great images of the water up around the coal barn and the dead trees...

Augmented Aerial Imagery



Memiary was presented at the Teachmeet Sussex Kent (SUKE) which I followed on Twitter earlier this evening by Mark Warner
Here's the presentation he prepared for his blog:
Looks like quite a useful tool for capturing ideas / learning objectives etc., particularly when connected with WORDLE.

View more presentations from Mark Warner.

Talking Point

Bought one of these this, which is called a TALKING POINT, from TLS Education.

It works very simply: press the button, and you can record up to 30 seconds of audio, which are then played back when the button is pressed.

The idea is that these could then form part of a display, and people could press the button and hear a description, or perhaps some questions...
Might be a good way for students who aren't confident enough to participate to record a contribution to the lesson which can be played back later.

Fieldwork in East London - 2012

The Field Studies Council, supported by the Geographical Association, are organising day fieldwork visits related to the London 2012 Olympics site.
The Field Studies Council provides full details of the various days that are offered on their website.

Tuition is by GA Community Geographer Bob Digby, or well known author (and Eastender) John Widdowson

Let us know if you have been on one of these days. Also happy to share further images of the Olympics site...

This view of the Olympic Stadium from the Gherkin by Danny Nicholson and made available under Creative Commons license.

London without the Thames

There has been quite a bit in the paper today (although it was on Twitter several days ago) about the new official Transport for London Tube Map.

Apparently Boris is not happy...

New GA Powerpoint

Thanks to Nicola Donkin for updating the powerpoint which tells you all you need to know about the support that is available for geographers from the Geographical Association.
GA Powerpoint - September 2009
View more presentations or Upload your own.


Had a demo today of XOOLON: an app which keeps a track of your physical activity.
It collects other data, but is deliberately set up to do one thing, and to do it well.
Discussed some uses of it for keeping track of other activity outside the school grounds.
Take a look and see what you think...

GA Conference 2010

"Early bird" ONLINE booking is now open for the 2010 GA conference.
It will take place at the University of Derby between the 8th and 10th

PRICE FREEZE - 2010 registration fees have been held at 2009 prices! The 'early bird' booking fee will also save members £10 per day on registrations! To take advantage of the early bird booking rates you must register by 31 December 2009.
Attendance at Conference will be by pre-registration only

Your registration fee includes refreshments, buffet lunch and full access to lectures, workshops, forums, the resources exhibition and day-time receptions. There will be no additional fee for attending workshops, but pre-booking is advisable as places are limited.

Free student registration

Free registration is available to all full-time and PGCE students. Please attach proof of your student status, e.g. photocopy of your NUS card, with your completed booking form. Online booking for students is available but proof of status will be required by email, fax or post.
Bookings cannot be processed without this proof. Please note: student registration does not include lunch, however there are several outlets situated within the exhibition area where you can purchase hot and cold food.

Information for Overseas Delegates

The Geographical Association welcomes delegates from outside the UK.

Registration Fees
Valid until 31 Dec 2009
9 April 10 April Both days
Personal/Group Member£67.00£45.00£79.00
Associate Member£47.00£35.00£59.00

It really does make sense to JOIN THE GEOGRAPHICAL ASSOCIATION.

There is also a booking form in the latest issue of GA MAGAZINE.

One additional attraction this year will be the Marston's Brewery tour.
I will see you there - just about to BOOK MY TICKET.

Image by Flickr user papalamour made available under Creative Commons License

Marston's Brewery Tour

Thursday 8 April, 19:30, Marston's Brewery

This visit commences at 19:30 with a guided tour of the Brewhouse, Burton Union System and Bottling Plant. At the end of the tour you will have the opportunity to sample 4 x ½ pints of Marston's Ales before tucking in to bangers and mash and a hot pudding with custard! The price of £20 includes all of the above plus return transport. A cash sale bar will also be available and the evening will end at 22:30. A coach will leave the Hallmark Hotel at 19:00.

Finally making some progress on the fabled "Geography of Brewing and Distilling" unit....

Augmented Reality - or reality augmented ?

Augmented Reality has been around for a while, but the latest advances in technology are making it an 'actual' reality...

How could you do this in a non-digital way ?

John Davitt recently used clingfilm and felt tip pens as a lo-tech solution...

The Ordnance Survey demonstrated some ideas similar to this a long time ago. I remember being at an event at the Royal Geographical Society in 2005 ish when it was demonstrated.

More Teachers TV goodness

As part of the Better Learning with ICT series on Teachers TV, there is another excellent geography example which I recommend that you watch.

David Rogers, a GA Secondary Phase Committee member, who teaches at Priory School, Portsmouth was filmed teaching a lesson using social media: Facebook and Twitter to teach about the problem of piracy with a Year 8 class. Unfortunately, the tweets I sent didn't make the cut, but I recognised a few of the avatars from my own PLN.

To access the clip, go to the main video page.
Once the main clip is underway, you will notice a series of icons along the time line. Go to the very end of the clip, and if you mouse over the icon you will see that it says:
"Online Communities: KS3 examples"

This will give you access to two case studies.

David's is the second of the two case studies, but both are worth watching.
David's session starts 2 minutes and 46 seconds in. Give it a watch !