Return to Madingley

Image by Alan Parkinson

This weekend was spent in the august surroundings (although it was January) of Madingley Hall, to the North West of Cambridge, close to the American cemetery, and in beautiful rolling countryside.
The occasion was the annual Geography Teacher Educators' conference.

This year's was organised by Liz Taylor and colleagues at the University of Cambridge. I have known Liz for quite a while, as the school I used to teach at worked with Homerton College in Initial Teacher Training/Education - several colleagues started out on the PGCE course there.

I attended the first two days, with a dusting of snow overnight adding a touch of magic to the grounds. The food was great, comfortable accommodation, and a range of excellent sessions to attend. There were also some excellent local ales brewed by the City of Cambridge brewery: one of them: 'Scholars' Choice' was brewed specially for Madingley Hall, and was fairly delicious. I used my iPhone app to work out that it had travelled 12 miles.

I had not been aware of the historical significance of the venue, but this was made clear in an entertaining after dinner speech by Rex Walford.

It turns out that back in the 1960's Madingley was the location of a series of conferences which helped define and frame the shape of school geography for the next 20 years. The conferences were written up in a series of books and papers, and when I got home I realised I had a copy of the key book: "Frontiers in Geographical Teaching".

Rex, it turned out, had kept all the original materials from the conference(s) that he attended at the time, and had a lot of stories about the sessions, and their impact on him.

If you can't wait, the presentation that I used at the conference is reproduced below, although without my inimitable exposition of course...
View more presentations from GeoBlogs.

European Association of Geographers

There have been a few European projects that I have been involved with in the last few years.
One of them is the COMENIUS project, which has now expanded in various directions.

Check out the GEOCUBE from this website too.

Georgie the Gorilla in London

Yesterday, at the Royal Geographical Society, the Geography Collective, of which I am a founder member, were successful, as I blogged earlier, in winning £7000 as part of the Ordnance Survey sponsored GeoVation project.

I was unable to be at the event as I had a prior engagement in Oxford doing a lecture on flood risk and flood management, which was well attended...

I celebrated hearing about the victory in a very fine pub in Oxford...

Here is GEORGIE the Geography Collective gorilla, trying out messages that had been suggested by pupils and Twitter users...

Poland Study Tour

The Geographical Association is organising a Study Tour to Poland for geography teachers in July - August 2010. The trip details are as follows:
Poles to Poles

28 July - 10 August 2010

The GA International Working Group will be leading a north to south journey through Poland from the Baltic to the Tatra Mountains, investigating the impact of EU membership on environment, economy and society.

The programme includes visits to Gdańsk, Toruń, Warsaw, Kraków, Oświęcim and the Tatra Mountains, providing a range of urban and rural environments full of contrasts.

Download: Full Itinerary

With Community Cohesion on every school's agenda and Polish children in our schools the length and breadth of the UK, this trip should be of interest to teachers of all phases, and, with the abundance of budget air services to Polish cities, within the budgets of most teachers.

Costs and Booking

Price: £825 (sharing twin). Single supplement: £295

The price includes all transport in Poland, accommodation (mostly in 3* hotels), breakfast and one main meal per day, plus entrance fees to main venues and geographical visit sites.

Please note that international flights are not included in the cost. Ryanair and Wizz Air operate flights to Gdańsk from Cork, Doncaster, Dublin, Glasgow, Liverpool, Luton and Standsted. Check their websites for further details.

Download: Booking Form

Bursary for new teachers

Two bursaries of up to £200 are available to new teachers within their first five years of teaching. Contact Adam Nichols for further information.

Geovation at the RGS

GeoVation is a project supported by the Ordnance Survey.
The first year (presumably it will be repeated ?) of the project invited individuals, or teams of people to submit a proposal for a project which need financial support, and was based around the idea of mapping and social benefit.
There were 62 Ventures applying via the website and you can see details of them here.

We decided that Mission Explore, a project of the Geography Collective, of which I am a founder member, should apply for a slice of the funding with a project called MISSION : EXPLORE LONDON...

The project involves (possibly younger) members of the public carrying out geographical "missions" which are located within London. More information is available HERE.

There was a shortlisting process, and last week we heard that we had made the shortlist and would therefore be pitching for the prize...

So it was that today we made it to the Royal Geographical Society (when I saw we, I don't include me in that, I was in Oxford at the time preparing to do a GA lecture on the 2007 floods)

Dan and the guys obviously did a great job, as we were successful in gaining the second prize. The winning GeoVation venture was MAXIMAP. They produce, as the name suggests, er... a big map...

We now have £7000 to take the ideas for the MISSION EXPLORE iPhone APP and project to the next stage. Plenty more to come on this blog over the next few months....

Fair Miles: Oxfam report...

A new report published by Oxfam and IIIED is now available from the Oxfam site.
It is available to purchase, or as a FREE PDF download. (link starts download of the resource)

The report is called FAIR MILES.

I have had a quick look and it is a useful document. Thanks to @primageographer for the tipoff to this resource, which will prove useful for preparation for my GA Conference 2010 workshop on this topic....

Here's a description, taken from the Oxfam website:

Today’s food is well travelled. A pack of green beans in a Northern supermarket may have journeyed 6000 miles, or 60. But while food miles loom large in our carbon-aware times, transporting it counts for less than you might think. And there is a far bigger picture. Food is more than a plateful of emissions.

It’s a social, political and economic issue that involves millions of small farmers in poor countries who export produce to the North. They have built lives and livelihoods around this trade. By buying what they grow, you’ve clocked up ‘fair miles’.

This pocketbook delves into the realities of the produce trade between Africa and the UK, examining both sides of the equation in search of a diet that is ethically, as well as nutritionally, balanced.

Nestle: the Cocoa Plan...

I just had a break... and I had a Kit Kat... (dark chocolate one)
The COCOA PLAN website sets out a project by NESTLE to "help cocoa farmers and their families and communities to secure a better future".
This is also in the context of the recent decision to make the 4 finger KIT KAT a FAIRTRADE product.
FAIRTRADE is an issue which many schools use, particularly around the time of Fairtrade Fortnight, which starts on the 22nd of February this year...
Worth investigating for those teaching about farming, food production, development issues etc.

Support Italian Geography

Had a message from a number of contacts today.

Dear colleagues,

in Italy, in these days, we are facing the making a so called “school reform” that may almost erase teaching of geography from Italian schools. The reason is always the same: to cut costs.
An international support may really enforce a lot our struggle in opposition of this - really absurd - kind of “reform”.
We are trying to let the public know that geographical culture is fundamental in every country, in particular in present time and in a globalized societies.
To cut geography does not mean to cut cost: it means to cut our culture and our potential to face the challenges of the world.
We will appreciate very much if you may subscribe our “petition” at this link (it really needs few seconds..):

and if you can help us to let it circulate as much as possible in your geographic society and in your country.

Thank you very much!



Università per Stranieri di Siena, Geografia
Italian Geographic Society and
Italian Association of Teachers of Geography representative in EUGEO

Ti ringraziamo per aver supportato l'appello in favore della geografia!

Moving to Mars... or is it Sheffield ?

Earlier today heard about this move on the theme of MIGRATION.
It's called MOVING TO MARS...
but the Mars in the title is actually Sheffield...

It was described as being a "very human" story of migration and its impacts.

The movie has a WEBSITE which contains a trailer and a very useful PRESS PACK which gives further details of the families who feature in the movie and what happened to them afterwards...
Looks like it would be a useful resource for exploring the issues surrounding migration and the cultural impacts of re-location / globalisation etc.


Sourcemap is a new project which is an open source mapping project and aims to collect the connections involved in products. It's an interesting project which relies on user contributions.

We believe that people have the right to know where things come from and what they are made of.

Good for investigating ideas of interdependence, and connections between the UK and elsewhere...

Renewable Energy Map

A useful Renewable Energy Map - er... enough said...


Thanks to Kye Askins for reminding me of Mythogeography...

The site is linked to the work of Phil Smith.
I like this resource: "a starter kit for drifters"... Worth a small diversion to explore the site...
A Starter Kit for Drifters

BETT 2010: how was it for me ?

Image of BETT by Danny Nicholson - Flickr - CC - GA stand was top right, behind the Weather Store stand
#BETT2010 and #TMBETT2010 are hashtags to search for further content...

I spent Friday and part of Saturday of this week at Kensington Olympia for the annual BETT show.

I have attended the show for most of the last 9 years, usually in the pay of somebody. This time, of course, it was to represent the Geographical Association, who had a small but perfectly formed stand at Q42-2 in the Subject Association area, which was in a better position this year – still on the gallery but at least with a view of the flickering flame of the Promethean stand if you really crouched down and squinted through the other stands in between.

If you came up and spoke to us – many thanks – if you want further information on anything that you saw, please get in touch.

Thanks to David Rayner and Tessa Willy for their company on the Saturday, and to Paula and Tony Richardson and Sophie MacDowall on the Saturday.

The journey to London was a little disrupted both ways due to engineering works, general rush-hour congestion, pouring rain and King’s Cross underground being partially closed, but apart from that it was fine.

It was good to see a lot of teachers on the Friday particularly. Apologies to those who I didn’t catch up with, or to those I just missed as our paths failed to cross. I had been following events at the show from afar using my Twitter network for the previous 2 days.

One of the additional reasons for attending BETT on the Friday is the option to attend the Teachmeet on the Friday, which was fronted this time round by Tom Barrett and Stuart Ridout. There were familiar faces organising the video streaming, and other aspects of the evening, and thanks to all those who sponsors who paid for the cold lager that I drank all night, and the nibbles.

One of the speakers asked the full time practising teachers among the 250 ish crowed in attendance to put their hand up, and it seemed that only around a third of the people who attended were teachers. This didn’t matter to me necessarily as long as the majority of people who spoke were teachers. I spoke at my first Teachmeet: at the Scottish Learning Festival with Ewan McIntosh in the chair, but I was teaching at the time.

The strict time limit did mean that some people were cut off who just needed a few more seconds to provide a rounded conclusion to what they were saying. I would have liked, for example, to have have heard more from David Noble, who was talking about podcasting using Gabcast and iPadio to allow students at the place where he works to articulate what they were feeling, and also facilitate “just in time” learning...

Importantly, though I think everyone went away having heard of something new...

A few new things that I went away with were:

1. LINKBUNCH – shortens links, but shortens multiple links and opens them in tabs on a browser – useful for collating a range of tools and websites for research into one link that could then be added to a VLE or similar location. Works in Firefox web browser.

2. I also really enjoyed Miles Berry’s recreation of the fish tank in Finding Nemo in just 7 minutes using SCRATCH: an animation product that is a free download. It allows for the creation of animations using simple programming steps and drawing tools.

One of the advantages of the location of BETT was that I finally got to meet up with the folks at Healthy Planet, and discuss some potential links with the GA.

Healthy Planet

This is an initiative to connect schools with fund raising and some sort of practical action by funding projects which involve supporting natural resources.

The latest addition to the site is the new £29 + 0 = £29 initiative

It’s fund raising with a purpose, and Healthy Planet will probably be working more closely with the GA during 2010 – keep an eye out for further updates.

ESRI were present at the show, although I never got the chance to head into the area where they were located. I did get the chance to speak to George from ESRI though, and show him some good iPhone apps.

Quick trivia question: what does ESRI stand for ?

Something to remember is that Richard Waite from ESRI will be delivering the public lecture on the 8th of April at the GA Confernece at the University of Derby.

Thanks also to Eylan at Brainpop for being so positive about some of the projects that I showed him. Met Moby too...

AEGIS also had copies of their new SUCCESS guides, written by Helen Young of Geography Geek fame, and there was a lot of interest in the booklets that Diana Freeman left with us at the GA which showed the latest Advisory Unit products.

Thanks also to the Ordnance Survey folks for their kind prize of a compass, even though I got their map question hopelessly wrong. The OS stand had a wonderful floor which was made up of the 1:25 000 map of the area around Keswick, which had apparently attracted a lot of interest from some of the visitors, some of whom event went as far as crawling around on it trying to find their house. I am sure that geography departments would love to have the flooring in their corridors etc., or as a focus for the entry to the department. Would look good on the stairs at Solly Street too...

Margaret from SatMap came over to show us her rugged hand-held GPS device, which is used extensively in outdoor pursuits, but would also find a use in many classrooms.

Also met with Philippe from Navidis: a company based in Issy les Moulineaux, which had some great mapping products based in urban locations. They have developed a product which allows an exploration of a range of cities: currently a range of cities in France, plus Barcelona. The interface is nice and fluid, and doesn’t really look like other products I’ve seen. There is a range of statistical data presented by region, and mapping of different types including relief data which is nicely rendered. Check the website for a taster of what they do.

The product is set to have a new iteration in September of this year, which will allow easier addition of user generated content. This will significantly increase the potential value of the web based product within classrooms.

Check out INTERACTIVE EARTH, or Terres Interactives for more...

The availability of Google Street View and 3D buildings is an issue in terms of take-up, but this product is of a very high quality, and could find a use in schools if appropriate supporting curriculum material was produced.

The product is competitively priced at around 50 euros for a subscription by an individual, and slightly more for an institution subscription.

One issue is to decide which cities to make available ? It was noticeable for example, although I only reflected on this at the time, that Paris is not included. This could be due to its scale: for example, London could well be too large and too complicated to track down the relevant people for all of the boroughs to be able to create an appropriate city image.

If you were to make use of the imagery, mapping and statisitical information on a city in the UK, which city would you like to have available ?

Also caught the start of Jamie Buchanan Dunlop and Ed Parsons’ Google Earth presentation on the Playful Thinking stand, which was closely followed by a demonstration by 2Simple software, which made the important statement that pupils are producers rather than consumers.

Also had a chat to Stephen Heppell about a few things, and we compared iPhone apps. He showed me Voice Band, which is a superb creative product to allows a multi-track composition to be created by singing into the phone e.g. lay down a bass line then add drums etc....

Thanks also Richard Needham from Association for Science Education for the quick chat about projects.

Also met up with Charles Worth again from ULearn. They are beginning to work on a problem which prevents a lot of teachers from using the free mapping data that is available from their local authority. Very often it is not obvious which person to contact at County Hall, and the data may be in different formats from the ones required by the software that is being used in the school.

A number of local authorities have already added their data to the site, and more are following.

They will also offer Free map printing, and also include aerial photography and historical imagery where it is available.

So all in all, lots to follow up...

Will no doubt be back at BETT next year, when I may even make it into both halls.

It's a jungle out there...

Just been reading about the work of David Liittschwager's images of the life that is contained within one cubic metre.
The work can be seen on the NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC website.

A superb set of interactives.
Check them out...


This is the name of one of the people that I follow on Twitter.

BB is the Brecon Beacons, and this person keeps followers updated on the different jobs that they have to do on a daily basis. This helps students to appreciate the importance of the skills that they develop during their geography lessons, and also to see the variety of jobs involved in managing a National Park...

Well worth following...
A good teaching resource...

Could I have a "p" please Bob

Earlier today, I joined the World's Largest Toilet Queue at number 506....
I could be a while getting to the front.

This is an attempt to break the World Guinness Record, but also to publicise World Water Day, and the lack of sanitation that faces hundreds of millions of people.

The earthquake in Haiti has already led to some sanitation problems which have been widely reported.


Just been exploring this iPhone app - one of several like Flook which asks the public to crowd-source locational data...

Urbis to become football museum...

One of the most interesting buildings in Manchester is the URBIS museum.
It houses a range of exhibitions on the theme of urban life, urban culture etc.
I visited when the GA Conference was held in Manchester, and also a few years earlier when Peter Gabriel was in town...

Now a GUARDIAN article reports that this link with the urban is going to be replaced by a football museum....

Government 2.0

A new site for obtaining UK Government data was launched today.

The site has been a bit slow for part of the day because of the high level of interest today.
It allows visitors to search for data on a range of topics. I tried the search string "tourism" and got a range of data, which looked to be from the existing national statistics website...
Might be worth a visit as it develops...

How Earth made us...

Just catching up with the first of 4 programmes in Iain Stewart's HOW EARTH MADE US.

Extreme environments: it starts underground, with a look at an incredible geological location.

The session with the CRYSTAL CAVE of the NAICA mine in Chihuahua, Mexico.

The crystals are made from the mineral gypsum. A nice description and more details on GREEN MUZE.

How about including places like this in your geography curriculum ?

Next episode is on the theme of WATER....

Get an app for $25....

There's a new option for those wanting to have an iPhone APP

A new company called iSites is offering to create a custom APP for just $25.
It uses a template based structure, and offers a range of news feeds and customised graphics to be sent, and the app is then created (not sure where in the world that might be taking place...)

One Primary school in the UK has just launched its own iPhone APP. Read about PORCHESTER Junior here.

Support the work of MapAction by sponsoring the GA's John Lyon

MapAction is a charity which works to supply maps in emergencies, to support the relief efforts that are happening.

John Lyon, the Geographical Association's Programme Director, is running the London Marathon this year, and has chosen to donate the money that he raises to Map Action.

Map Action are working in Haiti, following the recent earthquake.

While we are mentioning Haiti, it's also worth checking out the list of resources that have been collated by the Development Education Association (DEA) at their GLOBAL DIMENSION SITE.
If you would like to sponsor John Lyon, why not visit his JUST GIVING page. UK tax payers will have GIFT AID added to their donation.
And follow the Virgin London Marathon on the 25th of April, 2010

Triangular Google Maps

Came across this posting on a mapping blog.

Triangular Google Maps - a nice mash-up...

All we need now is to think of a reason why you would need to use them. Any thoughts ?

Gyre and bottles...

I am spending part of today finishing off a presentation for use in London later in the month.

One of the elements of the presentation is to explore the issues surrounding the purchase and disposal of plastic bottles. It brings in the 360 Paper bottle, the images of Chris Jordan, and the problems of the Pacific Gyres, which are areas where the sea resembles a soup of small floating pieces of plastic.

The video shows the impact of this on some of the wildlife of Midway... one of the most remote locations on the earth...

Superb Twitter Haiti work...

This post started last week when I noticed an article in The Guardian by Richard Morse. It described how he had used Twitter to post regularly about the events on the days following the Haitian earthquake... The messages act as an alternative narrative to the immediate aftermath of the earthquake...
From there, it was over to John Barlow, who teaches in Liverpool, who mixed up a few resources, notably from Tony Cassidy, who had produced the idea of an emotion graph, and then shared the resulting resources on Slideshare.
View more presentations from John Barlow.

We need more teachers to have the confidence to share what goes on in their classrooms so that we can all learn from each other.


The Royal Meteorological Society are launching a new website which will host a range of weather and climate resources for teachers and pupils.
Called METLINK, it will include a wide range of content, which is appropriate for a variety of age groups and courses.
Why not go and pay a visit to the existing page, and then go back in MARCH, when the site goes live....

25 000 "visitors"

Passed 25 000 visitors on this blog today... A small but significant milestone. Please keep coming back to check on the latest geography news from the motorways of the UK and between...

Valdez Oil still persisting...

Back in 1989, the Exxon Valdez ran aground - some teachers are still using the case study, as an example of the environmental impacts of resource extraction...

This BBC NEWS article gives the details of the oil that is persisting in the area. Although the rocks look clean superficially, digging down a short distance reveals the oil that is still persisting within the local ecosystem.

Mark Beaumont Speaking Tour

Picture by Ollie Bray (I think...): Mark is the one on the right... :)

Mark Beaumont speaking tour.... Starts in March 2010, so let's hope Mark is finished by then... :)

Mark's CYCLING THE AMERICAS blog is here for all the latest on his current challenge, which is going incredibly well. He has summited Denali and Aconcagua, and is now cycling the final leg down to the end of his pan-American adventure. There are some spectacular images and video on the blog.

Mark's website is HERE.

He comes to King's Lynn on the 27th of March 2010

The other dates can be found here:

Tues 16th
DURHAM Gala Theatre 0191 3324041
Wed 17th
CHESTERFIELD The Winding Wheel 01246 345 334
Thur 18th
BOLTON Albert Halls 01204 334400
Fri 19th
HALIFAX Victoria Theatre 01422 351158
Sat 20th
MORECAMBE The Platform 01524 582803
Sun 21st
HAYES Beck Theatre 020 8561 8371
Tues 23rd
TUNBRIDGE WELLS Assembly Halls 01892 530613
Wed 24th
SOUTHSEA The King’s Theatre 02392 828282
Thur 25th
TAMWORTH Assembly Rooms 01827 709618
Sat 27th
KINGS LYNN Arts Centre 01553 764864
Sun 28th
LOWESTOFT Marina Theatre 01502 533200
Tues 30th
BARNSTAPLE Queen’s Theatre 01271 324242
Wed 31st
EASTBOURNE Congress Hall 01323 412000

Tues 20th
BUXTON Buxton Opera House 0845 127 2190
Wed 21st
BARROW The Forum 01229 82 00 00
Thu 22nd
MALVERN Malvern Theatres 01684 892277
Fri 23rd
BRECON Theatr Brycheiniog 01874 611622
Sat 24th
CARDIGAN Theatr Mwldan 01239 621200
Sun 25th
LOUGHBOROUGH Town Hall 01509 231 914
Tues 27th
MIDDLESBROUGH Middlesbrough Theatre 01642 81 51 81
Wed 28th
WAKEFIELD Theatre Royal 01924 211 311
Fri 30th
STIRLING Albert Halls 01786 473544

Sat 1st
ABERDEEN The Lemon Tree 01224 641122
Sun 2nd
INVERNESS Eden Court 01463 234234
Tues 4th
SOUTH SHIELDS The Customs House 0191 454 1234
Wed 5th
LEAMINGTON SPA Royal Spa Centre 01926 334418
Thu 6th
EPSOM Epsom Playhouse 01372 742555
Fri 7th
TELFORD The Place 01952 382 382
Sat 8th
FELIXSTOWE Spa Pavilion 01394 282126
Sun 9th
CAMBERLEY Camberley Theatre 01276 707 644
Tues 11th
SKEGNESS Embassay Theatre 0845 674 0505
Wed 12th
BURNLEY Burnley Mechanics Theatre 01282 664 400
Thur 13th
RHYL Pavilion Theatre 01745 33 00 00
Fri 14th
DERBY Assembly Rooms 01332 255800
Sat 15th
STAFFORD The Gatehouse Theatre 01785 254653
Sun 16th
RADLETT The Radlett Centre 01923 859291
Tue 18th
HIGH WYCOMBE Wycombe Swan 01494 512 000
Wed 19th
WESTON SUPER MARE The Playhouse 01934 645 544


One of the highlights of BETT for me was the Ordnance Survey stand. It wasn't necessarily the freebies (although I did manage to win a Silva compass and picked up a brand new guide to GIS software) but the stand itself.
The floor was printed with a huge format 1: 50 000 Explorer map of part of the Lake District including Keswick and Skiddaw. It proved to be very popular with visitors to the show...
Thanks to Ken for (eventually) taking the pictures :)

iPhone / iPod touch and Fieldwork

I received my iPhone recently (have I mentioned that ?) and have started to explore how devices like it could be used with students to add extra texture to out of classroom experiences.

This is a great post by Tony Vincent on the use of various iPhone APPS to facilitate fieldwork in Washington DC (in this case)... which uses a Comic Creation app.

Learning in Hand: iPods #19: Maps, Screenshots, & Comics from Tony Vincent on Vimeo.

This is a great idea for fieldwork in a city... It uses a range of apps that are already pre-loaded, and also a paid for Comic app: STRIP DESIGN.

The Learning Score

This is the most recent project by John Davitt, and is a way of visually "scoring" a lesson...
You can get a trial version by visiting the LEARNING SCORE website...

This is your Life...

This is your Life was a long running programme which took a public figure, and surprised them with a programme which brought on special guests from different periods in their life.

At the end of the programme, the person was presented with a red book containing their 'life'...

A while back I did a lesson idea on GeographyPages which caught on at the time: it related to the famous Old Harry rocks near Swanage, and the idea was that the students would write Old Harry This is your Life, and talk about his parents, his wife etc...

Now you can get your very own big red book using a little red iPhone app called THIS IS YOUR LIFE.

Using a COMIC CREATION app like STRIP DESIGN, which I have, you could create a similar event now in the field and add speech bubbles while on site...

New RGS funded fieldwork opportunities for students and teachers...

Image by Alan Parkinson - Creative Commons

The Royal Geographical Society (with IBG) is offering funded courses to geography teachers and AS geographers through its Learning & Leading programme:

Funded weekend fieldwork master classes for geography teachers
Funded places are offered on weekend fieldwork master-classes for 16 A level geography teachers experiencing challenges in delivering fieldwork. The next course is:

Dates: Friday 7 (evening) to Sunday 9 May 2010
• Course Location: FSC Rhyd-y-creuau centre, Snowdonia

Course Activities: Planning A level fieldwork, using & evaluating a variety of fieldwork techniques, field visits & case studies of glaciation, a tourist honeypot & rivers, low cost & local activity ideas, sharing ideas & adapting for use in own school

Course fees, accommodation and meal costs are all covered by the project. All you need to pay for is your travel to the course.

To apply for a place: Complete & submit the application form to by Friday 5 March 2010

Funded fieldwork summer-schools for AS/Higher geography students
16 fully funded places are offered on a fieldwork summer school for AS/Higher geography students. The course is aimed to give students who would not normally have such opportunities, a chance to experience high quality residential fieldwork.

Dates: Monday 23 to Friday 27 August 2010
• Course Location: FSC Rhyd-y-creuau centre, Snowdonia

Course Activities: Students will investigate and build-up case-studies of glaciation, flooding and issues relating to rural settlements, use ICT and a variety of fieldwork techniques, plan and carry out independent fieldwork investigations and team building and personal development activities.

All costs of the course are covered including travel, accommodation and meals.

To apply for a place: Student completes application form and their teacher completes a nomination form. Both forms to be emailed to by Friday 23 April 2010

Further details & application forms:
Contact Amber Sorrell, Learning & Leading Project Coordinator:
T: 020 7591 3180

Give GEOrgie a mission...

Georgie is a gorilla on a mission: a MISSION : EXPLORE LONDON mission...
Georgie is going to be in London this Saturday: the 16th of January and wants to carry out some special missions...

For more information see: GEORGIE NEEDS A MISSION on Mission Explore website...

Why not suggest a task for GEORGIE ??

You can send via TWITTER with the tag #GMission or #Gorillamission

If you add a comment here with a mission I'll make sure they get passed on too...

What do you want to be when you grow up ?

It's a question I keep asking myself... :)

There have been quite a few articles in the press lately related to the idea of FUTURE JOBS.

Some of these jobs exist because of geography...
They will exist because of climate change perhaps, or changes to the global economy or population which are predicted to happen in the coming decades.

This GUARDIAN ARTICLE provides a few pointers.

It's not hard to come up with a list of jobs which our parents would have been offered, but which would be unlikely to appear on a list of potential careers for students, and which have disappeared as a result of globalisation, or other forces which would be familiar to geographers....

Environmental Game Competition

Web user Magazine Twitter feed led me to a firm which has announced a competition to design an Environmental Game.
The closing date is the 8th of February which doesn't give you much time...

The theme of the game has to include an ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUE.

What's useful is that they have made available a couple of documents which can be downloaded in PDF form. They can be used to help design a game structure even after the deadline, and even if the game doesn't actually get made: a STORYBOARD sheet is useful.
This relates to an earlier post on the Nintendo DS IMAGINE TEACHER GAME...

This may be an intriguing context for learners to explore and map out an issue...

Farmhouse Breakfast Week

Image by Andreas photography from Flickr under Creative Commons license

They do say that breakfast is the most important meal of the day....
I love pictures of breakfasts for some reason. A favourite site of mine is Russell Davies' EGG, BACON, CHIPS and BEANS.

Farmhouse Breakfast Week is next week: starting the 25th of January.
A range of resources can be obtained if you visit the WEBSITE.

This could be a good starter to a discussion on food: comparing breakfasts that people have in other parts of the world, or in other personal circumstances...
Where do the ingredients that make up a typical breakfast come from ?
Which types of farming and other activities have to happen in order for the breakfast to take shape ?
What are the energy and other "costs" involved in its production ?
..and many more...

New GA Online CPD units

More of the long awaited ONLINE CPD UNITS are now up and 'live' on the GA website, and there are more on the way....

This is how they look on my iPhone and even better on the real thing...
My unit on the GEOGRAPHY OF FOOD offers a look at a range of resources that might be used to connect students with the people who produce the food they eat. As consumers, they have power in what they choose to consume...

The second unit that has been added is called MY PLACE, YOUR PLACE, OUR PLACE
This is for phase: KS1-2
What do sustainability and community cohesion really mean for learners in primary education? This family of courses explores the relationships between identity and place by drawing on some key geographical processes and understanding.

Life vs the Curriculum

The recent Haiti earthquake led a few teachers to have some thoughts about what they were teaching, and whether they should be going with the current story.
I was alerted to this teacher's blog via Twitter. Have I mentioned before how useful it is to have this 'channel' ?

The teacher is Deven Black, who teaches in the Bronx, New York City.

The blog post is Life vs. the curriculum

It describes how the planned lesson was diverted towards something that was driven by the questions asked by the students...

With geography, particularly living geography, life is the curriculum
And if it isn't then it should be...

Animals on the Underground

Just been investigating a few gorilla-related mapping sites, and came across this site, which has some rather nice LONDON UNDERGROUND animals.

Any other geographical patterns to be found on the tube map ?

Mission Explore

Now available to pre-order from the Geography Collective site at just 600 pence.

Pre-ordering will secure the best price for this essential resource for all....

Massive earthquake in Haiti

The first item when I switched on the news this morning was about a massive earthquake which had its epicentre near Port au Prince, the capital of Haiti.
Haiti is in the Caribbean, and is the western half of an island, the eastern half of which forms the Dominican Republic.

Haiti is one of the world's poorest countries, and even before the earthquake many of its population were struggling for survival.

There have been some remarkable images emerging from Haiti, notably at the BOSTON Big Picture site which had a set of images from today.

Update: some other images 48 hours on from the earthquake.

Many teachers will have changed what they were teaching today to take account of this event, which also has a close connection with the idea of inequality.

If you want to help, most of the international aid agencies have started appeals which you can donate to online: why not donate at the OXFAM HAITI EARTHQUAKE RELIEF page.

BBC Mapping - excellent resource
Excellent FREE resource from Richard Allaway's Geography all the Way site: Why was the Haitian earthquake do deadly ?

Urban Sound Week

February 22nd - February 28th is URBAN SOUND WEEK.

This is another project of Urban Earth.

URBAN SOUND WEEK is all about recording urban sounds of the course of a week and then sharing them through Twitter. Make sure you include #usweek in each tweet so that we can track down your sounds.

If you can't tweet, just add a link to your sound file on this page.

Once the week is complete we can use the sounds to create a collaborative urban 'sound track' for the week.

Please spread the word.. the more international #usweek is the better it will be.

If you have any questions or tips for contributing please and your comments on this page.

This idea has come about as a result of some tweeting between @Kenny73 @GeoBlogs and @urbanearth.

Check out
ipadio to take part in this project.

"ipadio allows you to broadcast from any phone to the Internet live. Phone blog, collect audio data, record and update the world, or simply let your mates know what you're doing - ipadio is integrated with Social Media & Blogging platforms."
@ipadio is helping to promote the project!