Saturday, 28 February 2009

OS Mapping News article...

Just been reading an article from the forthcoming Ordnance Survey Mapping News - it's an engaging article with lots of ideas for using maps to engage learners - oh, did I mention that I wrote it ?
The article is based around a book I have mentioned on the blog before...
It was published in 1948, and is called "The Map that Came to Life"

The book is also mentioned in my Teachers Toolkit book, of which this article is a companion piece: it can be used as a vehicle for exploring the landscape...

Seems I'm not alone in this - there are several other recent blog postings HERE and HERE which reference the same book and have the same memories of the book. I wonder how many people of similar age have similar thoughts on this book...

Speaking of a vehicle for exploring the landscape, just been reading the chapter on transport in Stuart Maconie's new book, and enjoying the section on the railways. And earlier today, noticed that he's in Oxford the day after I am, which is a pity...

Friday, 27 February 2009

New Dell netbook...


This I want...
Inspiron Mini10 - only seems to be available in black on UK site, but I need a red one to match my XPS.
Thanks to all the Twitter contacts who offered technical support when my dell desktop refused to boot up today.

Update: apparently a Samsung NC10 is quite good too...
Update 2: I think my hard drive has failed :(

Education 2020

Finalised my planning for Education 2020 on the Isle of Islay. A few travel arrangements to tweak yet with CalMac, but accommodation sorted, and a bit of sofa surfing to come too. Booked a nice hotel with a few other geography stalwarts. I have an appointment with some Islay malts...
Going to be quite a geographical trip, with Noel and Ollie confirmed, and Val also hoping to be there. We plan to arrive on Thursday and have a day exploring the island and collecting resources for the fabled Geography of Whisky resource - hopefully a spot of photography too. In fact, that might be just th visit might be just the spur to get the GEOGRAPHY OF WHISKY resource going...
Watch this space for more details...

The WIKI is HERE, and has more details of the event.

The Friday involves a trip to Islay High School, and after a tour, there's a chance to participate in a range of activities at the school. That's followed by a distillery tour of Bowmore, and then the evening Unconference itself.

This diagram below from the Wiki offers quite a lot of food for thought to begin with as to some possible changes in approach to education in the future...

Looking forward to the event very much...

Of course, one thing that there will be in 2020 is plenty of geography: whether it's still called that is another matter, but you can be certain that the GA will be fighting the cause for geography whatever shape the world is in by then....
I'll also be blogging and twittering away during the event, assuming my Vodafone dongle works (which I have no reason to think it won't - it works in Norfolk after all - tho' not in parts of Lincolnshire and Cambridgeshire...)

A little unrelated, but loads of fab pictures in the BESIDE THE SEASIDE Flickr pool.

Thursday, 26 February 2009

Sky Weather visit...

Had a very pleasant day yesterday. Got the early train down to London, with my Vodafone dongle keeping me in touch with all things geographical. Across to Waterloo, a West Norfolk Cornish Pasty (not happy that they've changed the recipe on the vegetable pasties though - it's all tomato now !) Down through Clapham Junction ("Britain's busiest railway station" apparently) and past Kew Gardens, and out at Syon Lane.

Walked into an anonymous industrial estate, and there were the cluster of buildings that make up Sky News and Sports, and the various other broadcasting channels that are produced in the buildings. Security was very tight.

I was there to meet up with Lucy Verasamy: a former pupil of mine, who is now part of the weather presenting team along with Francis Wilson, Isobel Lang et al...

It was a 'quiet' weather day, with the 3rd or 4th consecutive day of anticyclonic gloom, which meant that the visit was possible. News wise, the Turkish airlines crash had happened that morning, so the news team were running with that story.

Had a long chat in the weather office. It was, I think, about 10 years since Lucy left school. She did a degree with Iain Stewart of "Power of the Planet" fame, and even back then was always determined to be a weather presenter. She was also very positive about the value of geography as a subject, and even thought that being a geography teacher might be an alternative career.

Had a tour of the SKY NEWS studio, which is surrounded by a walkway. There were a huge number of people involved in producing the various output: tv of course, Sky News radio, internet / websites and online video production, press and library
Martin Stanford was in the news room at the time, with his tablet pc. Also saw the Channel Five news room.

SKY NEWS has a FLICKR photostream.

Lucy also talked about the impact of the snow in London in February, and the very busy day she had, which started with a 4am journey to the studio. As she'd forecast the snow it would have looked bad if she hadn't made it in !

The WEATHER GIRLS on the SKY NEWS team also have their own BLOG which Lucy contributes posts to.

We talked about the place of weather and climate on the curriculum, and the tendency to focus on extreme weather events.
The weather is very much part of the geography that students 'live' each day.
Hurray for weather...

Terra Future: at the RGS-IBG

Just been catching up with some elements of the TERRA FUTURE 09 event that was held at the RGS-IBG earlier this week. I would like to have attended, but had previous engagements planned.
Via TWITTER I got a flavour for the day, and also some intriguing quotes, snippets and leads to follow, including some new people to follow...

Chris Thorpe presented an intriguing presentation on SOCIAL NETWORKS FOR GRAND CHALLENGES, which was also shared on SLIDESHARE.
The notes under the slides are full of interesting geographical points...



Thought for the Day

One of the most important things you learn from the internet is that there is no "them" out there. It's just an awful lot of "us".
Douglas Adams

On Twitter....

New BECTa analysis piece on TWITTER as an 'emerging technology in education'.
Worth a read...

Spread it all over...

As part of the current series of LIVING GEOGRAPHY conferences, I lead a session on how to use newspapers, and their associated websites to resource a curriculum which has contemporary influences embedded in it.

As part of the session, I mentioned a series of TV ads which suggested that a certain spread that went onto crumpets was the 'preferred choice' of people, despite there apparently being a very slight majority of the very small sample that they collected who preferred the spread.

Now the ad has been banned according to this SKY NEWS report and TELEGRAPH article, and for the reasons that I suggested in my session...

I wonder how many other ads are making claims on the basis of very small sample sizes... Keep an eye for the small print in those ads...
As part of the same session, I use the Sceptic's Toolkit book which is extracted from 'Panicology' which I notice is now out in paperback...

Thanks to Simon and Hugh for their permission to use the toolkit in the workshops.

This is a much better campaign: the WATERMARKS project in Bristol which ran earlier this month. Check it out: projections of possible sea level rises onto buildings. Time for another guerilla projection post ?

New Scientist

How to Survive the Coming Century...

The latest issue of New Scientist magazine has an article with an interactive map on how the world might look with a warming of 4 degrees celsius. 
A fairly dystopian view...

Shelter House of Cards



A video via a Twitter tipoff...
Shelter is a housing and homelessness charity.
Read the ROOF Magazine, and don't forget to make a donation to SHELTER.

There's an interesting article by Joan Bakewell in ROOF magazine, of which the introduction can be viewed.

Queen Mary University of London



A conference will be held on the 3rd of June at Queen Mary University of London. Delegate fee is just £30 per person.
The event will take place at the University and the programme is included below. As you can see, I have a small part to play in the event.

09.45     Registration/coffee

10.15     Welcome

10.30     Professor Miles Ogborn (QMUL) Globalisation and information

11.15     Dr Simon Carr (QMUL) Global climate change: information and disinformation

12.00     Richard Pole (Digital Worlds International) GIS software for Geography in Schools

12.30     Lunch (plus hands-on GIS)

13.15     Richard Pole hands on GIS

14.15     Dr Steve Cummins (QMUL) Visualising and mapping inequalities in health

15.00     Tea

15.15     Question and Answer Panel Current Issues in the curriculum and the teaching of Geography in schools

               Alan Parkinson (GA and 2008 winner of Ordnance Survey Award for Excellence in Geography teaching in Secondary Education)

               Steve Brace/Kate Amis (RGS-IBG)

               Dr Simon Oakes (principal examiner EdExcel and chief examiner IB Geography)

               chair Dr Beth Greenough (QMUL)

16.45     Feedback and close of conference

17.15     optional: wine nibbles etc, tours of department and campus

1830      optional: Professor Jon May inaugural lecture Geographies of homelessness, hopelessness ... and hope

Cape Town Pics...


Been following the recent visit by Angus Willson to Cape Town on his BLOG. He has now made a picture set of CAPE TOWN available on Flickr, and there are some pleasing images from a recent visit organised by TIDE. 
Here are a selection...
Images by Angus Willson

Don't forget that the TIDE event on the 5th of March features a workshop by myself and Tony Cassidy on "Developing Enquiry Skills"...

Wednesday, 25 February 2009

Thought for the day

"Inequality is a spatial matter."  Professor Danny Dorling, University of Sheffield 

CPD as a process...

CPD events are, of course, irreplacable events: face to face networking is the best (some would say the only) form of networking. 

One outcome of the co-constructivist sensitivities of a growing number of geographers is the ability to take vicarious pleasure in events that are not personally being attended, through Twitter posts of people who are there, or blog posts after the event.

Richard Allaway recently delivered a 2 day INSET for IB Geographers.
I was, unfortunately, unable to pop across to Paris for the day, but thanks to the wonders of Slideshare, I don't have to...
Richard has kindly shared a presentation that he used, which is packed with ideas. The missing ingredient with any of these presentations of course is the presence of Rich talking through the slides...
Plenty of ideas here...

Monday, 23 February 2009

Middle England

Just got the new Stuart Maconie. "Pies and Prejudice" was about the North, "Adventures on the High Teas" is a search for 'Middle England'. May start it later...

Update: just over half way through now and enjoying it very much...
Some good quotes: like the section on Tunbridge Wells, which I went to a couple of months ago, the fact that the Quorn hunt now has to make do with a 'meat substitute', the rise of the gastropub, the joy of Marmite and the full English breakfast, and the section on music - on the basis of one section I bought the 'Ivor the Engine' music of Vernion Eliot (which to be fair I'd been considering for a while...)... plenty of cultural geography in there....

Good blogs and Undersea adventures...

The BLOGS.COM site has produced a list of 10 Great Geography blogs and 2 of them are mine, which is nice....

The Google Earth User blog has provided a guide to UNDERWATER NAVIGATION in the new Google Earth 5, which is nice...

Is yours a NEW KS3 ?

That's the title of a presentation by Mel Norman, which can be found on the GTE Conference 2009 section of the GA's website. Just one of the many gems to be found there.

Is it going to rain ?

This has appeared on a number of geography blogs already, but just in case you hadn't seen it, this site is GOING TO RAIN.
Is it going to rain in Sheffield today ?

In the same vein as IS IT CHRISTMAS, which my son likes...

We are Here...

Taken in Southwold, Suffolk yesterday...
I like the geographical sensibilities of this beach hut's owners:Image credit: Sally Parkinson

Prince's Teaching Institute: Africa Day

There are still a few places left on an Africa day, which is going to take place at the Royal Geographical Society on Friday the 6th of March. The day will be led by Graham Goldup, and focus on updating teachers' subject knowledge, and promote collaboration between schools and teachers that have an interest in the continent.
Full details are available by clicking HERE, or on the picture below.
There are some top-notch speakers and the event will take place in the august surroundings of the RGS.


Oscars for Slumdog...

Good to hear that Slumdog Millionaire won 8 Oscars last night: nice work !
A pity that Peter Gabriel lost out on the Best Song Oscar though...

This is a nice review from NDTV

Slumdog is unapologetically life-affirming, fantastical and totally implausible. For years, Bollywood directors have aspired to create a Hindi Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. That is a Hindi film that can shatter barriers of language, geography and sensibility and connect across the globe. Slumdog Millionaire is that film. Only its creator isn’t Indian, he's British. 

Slumdog Millionaire is director Danny Boyle’s passionate love letter to the city of Mumbai. Danny and his cinematographer Anthony Dod Mantle perfectly capture the grime, grotesqueness and frayed glory of our maximum city. 

It’s a horrifying, Dickensian space in which children are casually orphaned, mutilated and prostituted. But it’s also a space in which an improbable love story, which has its origins in a totally Hindi film-like childhood romance, finds a happy ending.

Working from the novel by Vikas Swarup, Danny and his writer Simon Beaufoy have essentially turned the Bollywood film on its head. 

So, instead of realistic emotions tethered to an unrealistic landscape and plot, we have an unrealistic plot tethered to a hyper-realistic landscape. Mantle’s camera pores over Mumbai, from its over-arching high-rises to its filthiest slums. But the story that takes place here is pure fairy tale.

Thought for the Day

“ You can’t be a real country unless you have a beer, and an airline.
It helps if you have some kind of football team, or some nuclear weapons, but at the very least, you need a beer.”
Frank Zappa

Saturday, 21 February 2009

More Slumdog...

Here are 2 new views on the films portrayal of India...
The first from Nirpal Dhaliwal in the Guardian (from January)

The second from Hirsh Sawhney in today's Guardian

An Al-Jazeera news report too....


and an ITN report as well:

Twalter-egos

Following a chat with Tony C and some prompting from Tom Barrett's collaborative Twitter resource, I posted yesterday about creating fictional characters in Twitter that could be used as an educational resource. As my Twitter alter-egos, I have come up with the phrase "twalter-ego" to describe them...

I have now created the first of these: each character your create needs a different e-mail account to log in and create. The idea is to build up a character profile over time before 'releasing them' on the students, who could then be asked to engage with the characters in a number of ways.

What ideas do you have for how the students might interact with the characters ?

Some initial thoughts:
a) go through previous tweets and collate information on the background to the characters
b) prepare questions to ask them
c) suggest the next few weeks activity that might happen
d) create some new interactions between the characters that have been mentioned so far
e) produce a resource that the character could have created for a particular audience and shared via a social web tool
f) write a letter to / from the character on a related issue
g) create a new character who interacts with the character that has been created: a neighbour / colleague / relative (depending on the nature of the original character)

Frank is a pensioner from Rotherham, who has just sold his house and is going to move to a new house on the East Yorkshire coast.
You can follow FRANK on his Twitter account - the idea is to build up a range of details on the characters' life, to allow for some interaction and data collection.
For example here is the website of the village where Frank is moving to: Aldbrough on the Holderness Coast.
I am going to try to flesh Frank and his family out over the next few months...

Here's a GOOGLE MAP of the house that Frank has 'bought' and will 'move in to' in about 2 weeks time.



View Larger Map

I also really liked this mock-up of a twitter page from the 1600s - think that has possibilities as well.

Here's an interesting document on the potential educational impact of Twitter...
Can we use Twitter for educational activities?

ICT History

My ICT History is now available to read on Andrew Field's ICT HISTORY site. This is the place for people to share their first experiences of computers...

Glaciation Poem



Another poem from Mark Cowan: check out his BLOG : "POEMS FOR GEOGRAPHY"

Friday, 20 February 2009

Thought for the Day

"..teachers are, first and foremost, public intellectuals. They really do need to ‘know’ something worthwhile, relevant and enjoyable to teach. That is why teaching is a graduate profession. Teachers need to have learned something, and in a dynamic subject like geography they need to keep learning."

David Lambert from GTIP Think Piece

Twitter alter-ego idea...


If you've been following this blog you'll know that you can follow me on TWITTER.
There are also updates of the latest GA NEWS also on TWITTER.

It's easy to set up an account on TWITTER: choose a name, provide an e-mail and off you go...

In the last issue of GA Magazine, I mentioned a game on the issues in Northern Uganda on the Red Cross 'Traces of Hope' website. (Noticed earlier that this has a 15 year old and above age rating)

How about setting up a TWITTER account and then fictionalising a geographical situation, which the students could 'follow' over a period of weeks...

Here are a few possibilities:
a) a Mexican migrant travelling from her home town to the border, then taking on a 'coyote' to guide her across the border into the USA
b) a storm-chaser tracking a Hurricane as it makes landfall in the USA and trying to make their way into the eye-wall (do this live in Hurricane season perhaps with an actual hurricane)
c) a resident of Dharavi in Mumbai
d) a pensioner living in a house by the Holderness coast keeping an eye on the progress of coastal erosion moving towards the house they thought they would spend the rest of their life in
e) a farmer documenting the changing agricultural landscape in the area around their farm on the rural-urban fringe
f) a resident of a large city in the North of England who is worried about the effects of the 'credit crunch' on various aspects of their life
g) an economic migrant to a European country documenting the change in their life, and the contradictions they face daily
h) a climate change scientist going through their daily routines on the Greenland ice cap coring ice and noticing changes
i) YOUR IDEAS HERE...

Each character could be developed using a series of 140 character tweets...

Students could be asked to research and provide the next tweet in the sequence...

Could also suggest some alternative roles and scenarios...

Extra bonus points for evidence of research and character developments....

Thursday, 19 February 2009

Slumdog Millionaire - Geography resource...

Watched this earlier this week.
Great film...
Let's see how it does at the OSCARS.
How could it be used in a geography classroom ?
It's a certificate 15, so you're looking at GCSE groups at least.
How about the issues of possible "slum voyeurism" or the apparent amounts paid to the child actors compared to the lead actors ? How accurate was the reporting here ? How easy is it to 'assume' things in this way ? (remember the Sceptics' Toolkit)
What about the British orientation of the workers in the call centre ?

Again, BLOGGERS introduce some interesting additional detail and suggestions.
Marc Silvers National Geographic blog (link above) contains an interesting interview with Thomas Chandy of Save the Children (India)

It’s great that the movie talks about poverty, it’s great that the movie is about hope. But let’s move the debate beyond this: The reality is millions of children are working when they should be at school. Can we move beyond talking and do something to change this reality?
Plenty of potential avenues to explore at the WIKIPEDIA article on the film.
Also an interesting BLOG POST here on the "urban geography" of slums, with interesting maps and diagrams.
Or how about this quote from David Denby of the New Yorker:
As slum children, Jamal and his friends are enchantingly beautiful, but the supersaturated color makes not just the kids but every surface and texture shine glamorously, including the piles of garbage that Jamal and his brother live among. Boyle has created what looks like a jumpy, hyper-edited commercial for poverty—he uses the squalor and violence touristically, as an aspect of the fabulous.... Besides the children, what I will remember of “Slumdog Millionaire” is a disorderly exploitation of disorder, a kind of visual salad of glowing rotten fruit, constantly tossed.
So - how are YOU going to use this film in your classroom ?

Earth Hour


Another OSOCIO tip-off.

Earth Hour will take place on the 28th of March.
Switch off your lights between 8.30 and 9.30 pm.

How about an Enquiry...
Will this make any difference ?
Why should I bother turning off my lights ?
What other actions could easily be taken that would have an impact ?

Holiday reading

Took delivery of the new Iain Sinclair on Hackney earlier, and also enjoying reading "Queueing for Beginners'.
Another item on my reading list is an article by LINE which looks at the use of Web 2.0 tools in learning...
It's written by Donald Clark - click the image below to download the report as a PDF. Some interesting thoughts on the value of blogging etc.

Social Networking... Discuss...

"Social networking sites should allow us to embellish our social lives, but what we find is very different. The tail is wagging the dog. These are not tools that enhance, they are tools that displace."

Got this from one of my 'social networks': a link to a BBC article...
Discuss... ;)

"When we are 'really' with people different things happen. It's probably an evolutionary mechanism that recognises the benefits of us being together geographically. Much of it isn't understood, but there does seem to be a difference between 'real presence' and the virtual variety."

We are what we do

Site behind the book "Teach your Granny to Text", which I got for a quid the other day.
The site has a teachers' area. There are lots of downloads and images, and links to a YouTube channel as well...
Videos such as this one could be used to start some participatory geographies...

Olympics 2012 - both sides of the coin...

My daughter is currently doing some half-term homework: designing a 50p coin to commemorate and celebrate the London 2012 Olympics, as part of a competition being run by Blue Peter...

Meanwhile, here is Noel Jenkins with the first of a planned series of videos looking at the impact in Portland, where the sailing events are going to be held.


Impact of the 2012 Olympics on a local business from Noel Jenkins on Vimeo.

Queueing for Beginners


A new purchase thanks to the work of Ian Cook, and his cultural explorations. Joe is a cultural historian, and this book tells the tale of everyday life, and the reasons why things are as they are. It's also full of 'living' geography !

Why do we drink beer in pints ? What about our obsession with the weather ?

One of the stories it includes is when Jeremy Paxman presented the weather (as edited from Have I Got News For You, via YouTube




It starts with something that fascinates me: the MASS OBSERVATIONS project, which ran from 1937 to the early 1950s.
I have a copy of a book called 'Austerity Britain' which contains a similar history / geography crossover looking at the years after WWII, and providing a real sense of place, and a lost England...

Wednesday, 18 February 2009

Geography Teacher Educators' Conference

The materials from the GTE Conference 2009 have been made available on the GA website - nice work from all involved.
Check out my presentation and lots of others.

Next year's conference will take place in Cambridge.

Geography Blogs

Thanks to Pauline Wright and members of the SLN FORUM for starting a list of GEOGRAPHY blogs.




Nice work Anne !

Back from York

Just had 4 days 'off the radar' (a little) in York.
Managed a few cultural highlights.
First of these was Disney's BOLT, which was really great: a great pace to the film, nice "Incredible Journey" subtext in the middle with the road trip section: loved Rhino the hamster...



Second was SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE, which was exhilerating: great claustrophobic soundtrack and gripping. Below one of several films from FOX Official Movie site.



Sure both these films have their place in the GEOGRAPHY classroom...
Also had a nice meal in the Assembly Rooms, which is now an Ask chain restaurant, just round the corner from York Minster, Guy Fawkes' place and all...
Also took in a rather fine Bruichladdich 16 year old which had been in a Margaux cask - rather delicious, and did some serious shopping in the (never ending) sales: some nice North Face and Rohan, plus a soft-shell jacket.
Trip over to Harrogate as well to meet up with Val V and listen to some live jazz in the Harrogate Brasserie.

Catching up on a few other things as well:
1. Nice BLDG BLOG post link to article on the suburbs: the 'new American slums'.
2. Goathland in the North Yorkshire moors fighting to save its 'HEARTBEAT' - importance of tourism to rural economies - more on that to come...
3. Noel's updated WWW REVISITED Web 2.0 links - looking forward to some Olympics 2012 'action' as well...
4. Browsing nearly 900 pictures in #uksnow FLICKR photoset
5. Got a royalty cheque for £15.06 after my WALKING WORLD WALK was downloaded quite a few times last year. Thanks to all those who downloaded it and walked it...
7. Made a superhero thanks to the SUPERHERO FACTORY (thanks to Angela Maiers for tipoff)

Driving up noticed that I passed through an area of Lincolnshire that had been rebranded as districtnk and a guide which had the name yorkshiresouth rather than, er, South Yorkshire.


Monday, 16 February 2009

Snow Patches

Silly idea I had earlier while driving up through snowy fields

Mapping the placement of the final remaining snow patches which are left after heavy snowfall - pretending that they're corries, and mapping their orientation and then marking in the glaciers that would emerge from them should the next ice age start this week...

I'll get my coat...



Saturday, 14 February 2009

One for Ken Robinson fans...

Video from Sir Ken's recent talk at the RSA.
Have to say that I'm actually currently, professionally, "in my element"... (in my opinion)



Love the section on a 3 year old's CV: "is this it ?"

Brighton KS3 topics

Summary of topics taught in schools: I asked for examples of topics taught in each Year group...
YEAR 7
YEAR 8

YEAR 9

Brighton Personal Geographies

Earlier this week, spent a day with Brighton and Hove teachers. One task I asked for was a post it note with some 'first geographical experiences' and was really pleased with the range of answers, which took in local explorations, Mumbai toilets, international migration, childhood holidays and hand rearing a pygmy hippo...

Here's a WORDLE of the responses, and will post a few more of the personal geographies during the week...

Wordle: Brighton Personal Geographies

Click the image to go a larger one: what's interesting is the fact that a lot of the memories are related to activities: particularly playing, going and holidays, and the significance of things being 'different'...
Some powerful personal geographies here: I hope they are shared with students.

Friday, 13 February 2009

Brighton Starlings....

Got round to uploading Flip video to YouTube of starlings - sorry for the wobble at the start...

Thought for the day

The geography we make must be a peoples’ geography… Such a peoples’ geography must have a popular base, be threaded into the fabric of daily life with deep taproots into the well-springs of popular consciousness. But it must also open channels of communication, undermine parochialist world views, and confront or subvert the power of the dominant classes or the state. It must penetrate the barriers to common understandings by identifying the material base to common interests.
(Harvey, 2001)

Brighton Resources

Thanks to Brighton colleagues for yesterday...

UPDATE
Some of the presentations now available on Slideshare. For copyright and other reasons they are not all hosted there, but interested delegates can e-mail me if they would like copies of any of the materials they missed out on...

A reminder of a few of the web addresses that I mentioned yesterday:
ZATTOO
SPOTIFY
ZU3D
WEBKUT
SHRINK-O-MATIC
FLICKR
COOL IRIS
TILT SHIFT MAKER
GENERATOR BLOG
BIG HUGE LABS

Also the weblog of David Rogers: a 'local' teacher for local people...

Here is the embedded version of TRANSFORMING TIRED TOPICS: perhaps one to try at a departmental meeting ?
What are your tired topics and what are you going to do about them ?
What is an 'untired topic' ?
View more presentations from GeoBlogs. (tags: education geography)

Game on (or off)

Had an e-mail today from Claire Denney at FUTURELAB.
Futurelab has been appointed as the UK National Coordinator for a pan-European study of the use of computer and video games in schools. Our Games and Learning project is a programme of research, events and planned publications intended to stimulate discussion and the development of new intelligence.

The overall aim is to demonstrate what challenges and opportunities have emerged from debates and developments in this field to date, and to identify practical actions and interventions to be taken forwards.

We are looking to set up a network of educators interested in the project who would like to receive more information about our research. 

Do you know of anyone who would be interested in becoming involved?  

Anyone interested in becoming involved can email me at claire.denney@futurelab.org.uk.

E-mail Claire if you are interested in the potential of games to enhance education...

My mentor here is Ollie Bray, who has a range of resources already on his weblog, and a quote of his is apposite here, which he said when challenged about the fact that he was spending money buying computer games:

‘We are not investing in computer games..... We are investing in children’

Thursday, 12 February 2009

Back home

I'll post more tomorrow, but just to let my Brighton colleagues from today know that I'm back home (after a 45 minute drive in 4 inches of snow to my village) and that the Twitter colleague that I met earlier wasn't an axe murderer and bought me a pint of 'London Pride' rather than dismembering my corpse...

Wednesday, 11 February 2009

New Iain Sinclair

Just ordered this...
Quote on the frontispiece: "Geography is destiny" - James Ellroy...

Yay or neigh ?

What do you think of the plans for the 'Angel of the South' near Ebbsfleet ?
Mark Wallinger's White Horse (50m tall) has been selected.
Would you prefer this or a wind turbine ?
(Just found that the Guardian used the same headline already, and also used my next idea, which was "4 legs good ?" for their poll)
Some good comments on the poll... I like the phrase 'gigantomania' that was in one of them...

Local schools could well use this as a 'live issue' - will it be the 'mane' attraction in the area ?

God's own Country

Got stuck into this today: a touch of Cormac McCarthy's 'Child of God' about it...
(If you haven't read 'The Road' yet, you really need to)Got me thinking...
When you hear the phrase "God's own country" - where is that referring to ?
I know what I think it means: it's obvious isn't it ? The county of my birth and, well, "God's own country"....
Where do you think it means ?

Brighton Rocks...

...and other Brighton related puns...
A few images from my trip out earlier. The birds swarming around the pier were spectacular...

Tuesday, 10 February 2009

It's back...

Take the phone off the hook, pour a whisky sour and settle in for the start of the 2nd series at 10 tonight...

Down by the Seaside....

Off on the train tomorrow (hope all the flooding delays have eased by then) to Brighton.
Haven't been to Brighton for ages, and looking forward to it.
The reason is to run a day for Brighton teachers and PGCE colleagues...
Below is the SPINE presentation which provides the details of the day and a few additional slides for context.


I will be using the LIVING GEOGRAPHY ANIMOTO which went down well at the first Living Geography event earlier this month.
Below is a Slideshare guide on ANIMOTO produced by Tony Cassidy originally, but with a few updates by me to take on board the new features that have been recently added to this essential TOOL in the teachers' toolkit.

View more presentations from GeoBlogs. (tags: animoto geography)

Living Geography

Living in... favelas, or bustees....
More links with SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE style narratives...
Catch the BAFTA / OSCAR wave...

Slideshare presentation by Jonesy2008
View more presentations from jonesy2008. (tags: geography brazil)

Derbyshire and Yorkshire in the Fog

Two events yesterday.
The first was held in a very snowy Derbyshire, just 15 minutes down the M1 from the hotel I showed you yesterday. Having de-iced the car, it was onto the M1, and to sit in a queue for about 25 minutes and arrived at the venue 3 minutes before my session was about to start, abandoning my car in the snow packed car park... Delayed by geography...
Many thanks to the delegates at the CfBT Derbyshire event.
Image by Alan Parkinson

The second event was held at the huge MAGNA Science park on the outskirts of Rotherham. There were some beautiful snow covered landscapes on the way back up the M1 but sadly no chance to take pictures of any of them...
The MAGNA centre is sited in a building where my dad used to work when he was a steelworker / engineer back in the 1960's/1970's before he moved to a different location. There's an excellent training venue called CENT. Did a quick 40 minutes or so on using Google Earth with a cross-curricular audience including maths, science, music and languages teachers. Impressed that the ICT suite already had Google Earth 5 on all the machines

View more presentations from GeoBlogs. (tags: geography google)

Oh, and just ordered my latest GeographyPages pens: coming soon to an INSET session near you...

And Ollie Bray and I's session proposal is being considered for the Scottish Learning Festival (23rd - 24th September)

Oh, and finally, if you're at the TES Education Show in London in October (3rd and 4th) you might want to come to the session I'm offering there as well, which is highlighted below....

Monday, 9 February 2009

Are you bored o' cauli ?

Cauliflower is about to rebranded....
Coming soon to a store near you...
Image: Alan Parkinson
Fractal cauliflower....

Sunday, 8 February 2009

Driving in Snow

Just had one of those days where you can't make up your mind.
Tomorrow I have 2 sessions: a brief input to a CfBT Regional Conference in Derbyshire, then a Google Earth training day at the Magna centre near Sheffield (in the old Templeborough works where my dad was a steelworker)
So I looked at the BBC forecast and it said snow would come through and then clear within a few hours. Decided to go for it, and drove up, and for the last hour or so it was a bit snowy to be fair... Tried to remember the last time I drove in heavy snow and it's been years ! Remember Pete R in his VW Beetle crossing the M62 with me in the back when it had been closed to traffic around 1983, and a journey back from a concert at the NEC in Birmingham...
Anyway, it was quite fun, and now here I am in my favourite Travelodge in north Nottinghamshire, just 20 minutes-away from the conference venue, and with a big Sainsburys just 2 minutes away for breakfast in the cafe.
And tomorrow we're set for the arrival of a winter storm.

Just following the GRAMMY's on TWITTER and Peter Gabriel has won for 'Define Dancing' from Wall-E soundtrack which is a sublime instrumental track... and also for 'Down to Earth' - the end credits song... superb....

Rafiki


Rafiki describes itself as "an online learning community using simple technology to build successful school partnerships, transforming pupils into global citizens..."

There is a virtual tour available from the home page, and the company also offers a free trial, and resources which outline the membership of benefits for teachers who want to go to their SMT with the 'evidence' that joining will make a difference.Each school has a home page, which can be created easily using a drag and drop interface.
Schools can be searched on a world map.
Rafiki contains a range of tools to allow schools to communicate: moderated forums, chatrooms, e-mail and video conferencing.
Once contact has been made, schools can work on collaborative projects, of which there are already many underway. Each project is curriculum mapped.
"Learning through connecting" is certainly something that I connect with...

#uksnow Google Earth Animation



This is a nice animation showing the results of the #uksnow map, which was being populated with data by Twitter users over the last week.

Friday, 6 February 2009

Digital Urban Strikes Again

...with a fab timelapse movie of the snow in London...



London Snow Timelapse: 21,000 Photographs from digitalurban on Vimeo.

New KS3 Resource

KS3 Resources section of the Geography Teaching Today
New resources have now been added: Who do we think we are ?

Part of the Action Plan for Geography

On Mulberry Street

On Mulberry Street
Just had yet another tip off via Twitter network...
Angela Maiers led me to the WIKI PAGE which has been put together by Paula White.
The project is based around a picture book by Dr Seuss, which my son has a copy of.

It was Dr. Seuss's first book, and is called "And to think that I saw it on Mulberry Street"...
It explores the wonderful things that students could see if they looked at their surroundings in a different way.

How about a fieldtrip in Mulberry Street...
What starts off as a horse and cart is turned into a magical parade as more detail is added at each stage...

Here's an extract from the first page of the book

When I leave home to walk to school,
Dad always says to me,
"Marco, keep your eyelids up
And see what you can see."

What can you see ?

Norfolk Earth Day 2009


After a very popular event last year, this year's event will take place in April at the BURNHAM DEEPDALE venue.
Had an SLN FIELD WEEKEND here last year, and it's a great venue.



GTE - Sunday

GTE - the final blog post from the 2009 Conference

Session chaired by Clare Brooks
David Lambert

Engaging Geography
Seminar Series to be held over the course of the year to look at the area of "Public geographies"
The first event was held last weekend in Newcastle, and David talked about the event.

A Different View
GA Manifesto to be launched at the GA Conference in April 2009
Aims to put geography at the forefront of while curriculum thinking, and help teachers evaluate the quality of geography in their school. Showed the latest draft of the images and the manifesto document, and invited comment.
Living Geography Chris Kington book - £40 for GA members rather than £45 - see the GA SHOP

Some discussion points:

"teachers own the curriculum, but not all teachers have heard this, or perhaps they don't want to hear it...."

"A curriculum should lead the student to unanticipated rather than predicted outcomes."

Stephen Pickering / Nigel Kent
G&T

Had some reservations about the use of the term G&T. Lots of variation between schools about how to identify the 'G&T' geographers.

Jigsaw - cut up into shapes - corners and edges / colours / patterns - have a strategy when doing a jigsaw - more able have a range of strategies - a fun activity which must have taken a while to put together.

What is Sustainable Development ?
Images of what is and isn't sustainable.
Introduction to Dweck's Orientations to learning

Negative cycle: I can't spell, can't be bothered to improve....etc. Need to develop a positive cycle....
Linked the work to the Geographical concepts

At the end of Stephen's session I had to leave to drive across country back home, so missed some of the other sessions in the afternoon...

Presentations will shortly be available on the GA website