Dropping Knowledge (via OSOCIO)

Via OSOCIO....

Dropping Knowledge is a collection of powerful images (view and use with caution) alongside thoughts / comments / questions / items for discussion...
Below are a few samples from the collection of postcards...

Each card has a link in the bottom corner which says "click to answer", where you can add your thoughts...

While we're at it, here's another from OSOCIO....
A wonderfully simple campaign by WWF which would be a good starter for lessons on ecosystems and biodiversity... Can you create some others ?

Have I convinced you that you must visit this site and use it yet ? Have been banging on about it for 5 years :)
Remember, there are some controversial and sometimes disturbing issues covered here, and therefore some of the images need to be chosen carefully...

A time for giving...

Christmas is a time for giving, and UNICEF have produced a catalogue called Inspired Gifts.

The School in a Box at £170 would make a useful target for a year group fund-raising effort, for example, or for £23 you could "deliver a baby"....

Snow #twtpoll

I have created a Twitter poll relating to the current snowfall, which is causing all sorts of problems all over the country. We have had a lot of snowfall in the East, and this is now spreading elsewhere in the country, accompanied by record low temperatures.
Please add your thoughts on the current snowfall to the poll... the more responses the better...
At the moment, there seems to be a slight move towards the snow being a bit of a nuisance...

Prince Andrew on Geography teachers....

Prince Andrew has been in the news today with regard to the revelations that are part of the #wikileaks affair.
This has included many potentially damaging statements, but there is at least one bit of news which is more "positive"....

This Daily Telegraph article is one of several which refer to Prince Andrew's support of Britain's geography teachers...
He's not the only Royal with a geography connection of course. Our future king, and the focus of the world in April next year gained a 2:1 in his MA Geography course at St. Andrews, despite the distractions...

David Lambert is quoted in the article too....

Twitter Advent ( #twadvent or #geoadvent)

For the month of December, I am going to be guest blogger on the HODDER GEOGRAPHY NEST, as their latest "Guest Expert" after being asked by So-Shan from Hodder's Geography team...

As it's going to be the month of December, I'm going to try to do an advent calendar theme by opening a "window" for as many days as I can in the month and blogging about it...

This will be my Twitter advent calendar (or #twadvent)

The windows will each be a window on a small corner of the world....

If anyone has ideas for themes relating to the numbers for each of the days, please get in touch....

Use the hashtag #geoadvent please :)

Image by Amanda Rudkin, CC licensed on FLICKR.

#uksnow and new #snowmission tag

The first snow of the winter has been falling in parts of the UK for a few days now, and more is forecast for the next few days, combined with very low temperatures.
Ben Marsh's UK SNOW map has returned (in an updated version), as has the hashtag for #uksnow

Some snow, earlier... Picture by Alan Parkinson

The Geography Collective swung into action to collate some ideas for #snowmission activities.

Some of the results can be seen on our blog...

There are others too that I came up with:
Eat some yellow snow... (make it first with Lucozade)
Collect all the snow from neighbourhood; put it in your headteachers garden to get the day off school when they open the curtains
Move the car on your drive and put up a deckchair in the snow-less patch that it makes; sit on it with sunglasses and shorts on

Can you think of some #snowmission ideas of your own ??

P.S: As I press PUBLISH POST it's snowing again here in Norfolk....

Derbyshire Poetry Walk

If you live within reasonable travelling distance of the Peak District, you might be interested in a poetry / geography / history event being organised by my friend Rob Hindle.

A descent in the traces of the first bombing raid on Sheffield, 12 December 1940

Longbarrow Press invites you to join Rob Hindle on a walk in the traces of the Blitz:

Sunday 12 December

Meet at 1.30pm prompt on Platform A, Sheffield Bus Interchange

The walk will start on Hathersage Road near the village of Dore at 2.30pm

Total distance approximately 6 miles. There is an opportunity to join the walk at Cafe #9 in Nether Edge (see below) at 4pm. The walk from this point is a little under 3 miles.

For the 70th anniversary of the Sheffield Blitz, Rob Hindle has devised a poetry walk that will illuminate the attack on the city by German bombers on 12 December 1940. The journey will begin at Dore Moor and end in Fitzalan Square (Sheffield City Centre), with Rob reading and discussing poems that emerged from his original plotting of the walk last winter, descending from the edge of the city to the site in the centre where the most devastating blast destroyed the Marples Hotel. The walk is timed to start in daylight and finish in darkness.

Everywhere the smoke

like ink in water

everywhere fires like marsh gas.

Admission £5 (includes unique CD package designed and produced by Longbarrow Press).
Bus fare from Sheffield central bus station to Dore Moor is approximately £2.50.
Places are very limited and must be booked in advance through Rob Hindle (email: robhindle361@gmail.com, phone 0114 232 2714); early booking is advised. The walk is moderately paced over mostly level terrain and will take 3½ hours or less. Please wear warm, weatherproof clothing. There will be opportunities to rest during the walk, including a stop at Cafe #9 on Nether Edge Road at around 4pm.

The Farm behind the Food

FACE have produced a very useful set of curriculum materials for use in a range of subjects.
They are aimed at developing an awareness of some of the food labelling codes that are used on food, but provide some nice ideas which could be adapted further.

Geography all the Way...

My subscription to Rich Allaway's "Geography all the Way" has just been renewed for another year, but if you want to avoid VAT being added to your subscription fee, you need to act before the 1st of December...
That is all...


Have spent a bit of time over the last weekend browsing through the available iGCSE Geography textbooks.
This is in preparation for a possible project for 2011...

Some very 'old fashioned' geography topics here...

Would be interested to hear from colleagues who are teaching the iGCSE Geography with answers to a few of these questions:

How is the teaching going ?
Which topics are proving to be the easiest / hardest to teach / resource / engage ?
What additional support would you find useful ?
Which case study areas are lacking in detail and could be fleshed out more ?
What are the best ways of preparing students for the examination ?
Which specification are you teaching ?

Thanks in advance. Don't forget that there is a special iGCSE Forum at the GA Conference


iGCSE: an alternative to GCSE?   P16
Chair: Paul Baker, Chair, GA Independent Schools Special Interest Group
Panel: Robert Morris, iGCSE Ning Leader and Geography Teacher, Shrewsbury School, Peter Price, Head of Geography, Charterhouse School and Lianne Aherne, Geography Teacher, Wycombe Abbey School

Hans Rosling: the last 200 years...

From a forthcoming BBC 4 programme:

Like the look of that ?
Hans Rosling is keynoting the Geographical Association's conference in April 2011
Come and see him in person...

The programme sounds like it's going to be full of geography....

New Education White Paper

"There is no profession more noble, no calling more vital, no vocation more admirable than teaching, and this white paper gives us the opportunity to become the world's leading education nation."  Michael Gove, MP

A busy week for education, with a number of high profile conferences, such as the SSAT conference in Birmingham (hashtag #nc10 for the reflections on Twitter)
The new Education White Paper was released, and there was much discussion on the potential impact on subjects like geography.
The introduction of an "English baccalaureate" is an interesting move.

Professor David Lambert produced a response on behalf of the Geographical Association, and his defence of subjects continued at the SSAT conference...
Click to download a PDF version of David's response to the white paper from the GA website...

Story Cubes

Had the Rory's Story Cubes app on my iPhone for a while now, but my actual cubes arrived yesterday...
My son loves them...

Environment Agency futures...

The Environment Agency have had their conference earlier in the week.

One spinoff from this, which came via their Twitter feed is an excellent set of FLICKR IMAGES...
These are on the theme of FUTURES, and would be excellent for prompting discussion.

They are part of the DEFRA Future Worlds project (click to download PDF)

There was also a link to a useful spreadsheet based tool for exploring future energy scenarios...

Iceland Epilogue 4

Enjoying this video, made by Inspired by Iceland...

2000th post

I started this blog when I took on my current job. After two decades in the classroom, I joined the  Geographical Association, and have since travelled the country (and stayed at home occasionally) doing a huge variety of projects, writing, training and so many other things...
Have now added 2000 posts to this blog, and counting...
I hope you're enjoying reading it, and don't forget to use the LABELS to identify posts that you are interested in...

Adap - adaptation...

Changes in the body to suit a location....

A nice rapping camel video thanks to Danny Nicholson for tipoff...
For those doing natural environments... or "design an animal" type activities...

Choose life, choose geography !!

An interesting report on the website of 'Geographical' magazine.

Apparently the majority of business leaders feel that geography is a useful subject to study...

The survey of 200 business leaders, drawn from the public and private sector, showed that 80 per cent believe most graduates have not been trained in the skills they need to succeed in the world of work.

The skills the business people said they were looking for in new employees included critical thinking, advanced analytical skills, the ability to interpret complex data and advanced technology skills.

‘I believe geography graduates have these skills,’ said Richard Waite, managing director of ESRI UK, the GIS software company who commissioned the survey. ‘They’re taught to think rationally and clearly, and to analyse geographical data, which by its nature is fairly complex.’

‘And now the geography graduates we’re seeing at ESRI are coming with technology skills bolted on too, because it’s becoming part of the geographic world,’ adds Waite. ‘Together it means geography is giving graduates skills which are universally applicable and, this survey is saying, are universally in demand,’ added Waite.

Read the full article, and remember to tell your students this important information !!

Suffolk Secondary Geography Conference

#uksnow permitting, I will be down in Ipswich tomorrow for the Suffolk Secondary Geography Conference.
Thanks to James Woolven for the organisation and invitation...

Below is the brief input that I shall make - the keynote is by Liz Taylor this year...
Six shiny new toys for Suffolk

View more presentations from GeoBlogs.

Went to Ipswich Waterfront and, as promised, here are some pictures....

Thought for the day

Asking if there's enough creativity in schools is like asking if there's enough education in schools. Promoting creativity in all its forms should be one of the fundamental purposes of all schools." 
Sir Ken Robinson

RIGEO: a new journal for 2011

A new geographical journal will appear in January 2011. RIGEO is Research in Geographical Education

Details from the GTIP page of the GA website:

This is not just any "Plan A"....

... this is Marks and Spencer's PLAN A, their CSR (corporate social responsibility) programme with some targets for 2015.
They are apparently well ahead of schedule on meeting those targets.

Just been reading up on this for a writing task that I've been completing, but it seems to me that this might make a useful context for exploring SUSTAINABILITY or FUTURES....

Iceland Epilogue 3

As you may know, I went to Iceland at the start of the month (I haven't mentioned it much since...)

Thanks to Andy Palmer, textbook author and examiner, and someone that I bumped into 3 times in Iceland, and then on a Digitalworlds GIS course the week after, for this link....
Extreme Ice Survey is a useful resource for those studying GLACIATION.

I walked on the Solheimajokull glacier a couple of weeks ago.
Here's a pic of me to prove it. Note the 7 layers of clothing I'm wearing (plus my ancient mountain Gore Tex brought out of retirement), and the outwash plain that you can see in the background. The haze is a dust storm of volcanic ash, and the black ash can still be seen clicking to the ice on the left of the picture.
The suggestion is that the ash made the ice darker, therefore absorbing more heat, and that this may have speeded up the localised melting of this ice, particularly where it was already thinned. The snout was certainly rather thin...

The Extreme Ice Survey website also includes a very handy TIMELAPSE.

This was produced using the webcam here, pointing down on the very glacier that I stood on.
Watch the timelapse by clicking the link above...

It shows the glacier over a period from April 2007 to October 2010, and the ice can be seen melting away and retreating.

British Geological Survey

Just been revisiting the website of the British Geological Survey.

The purpose was to explore the free DATA DOWNLOADS and other resources that might supplement the data in the DIGITAL WORLDS GIS package....

Go to the DOWNLOADS page by following the link from either the right or left hand column on the homepage, or the EDUCATION section.
There is an excellent GEOLOGY VIEWER and some further materials e.g. a guide to the BLAKENEY esker, which is a few miles away from where I live...
More to come on this over the next few weeks...

Cumbrian flooding and the landscape

A story in the Guardian relating to the potential landscape changes which will take place in order to reduce flood risk without needing costly flood defence works...

London : 80 gigapixel image

As reported in the Daily Mail and other places...
Produced by 360 Cities.net this is a huge panoramic image of London, which contains amazing detail of places that are over a mile away from Centrepoint, from which the thousands of images that are stitched together to make the image were taken. Check out the amazing image HERE

Growing up Digital

Quite a bit in the papers over the last few days on the impact of technology on young people.

Thanks to Bob Harrison on Twitter for the lead to a very interesting story in the New York Times on the use of technology by American students and its potential impact on their performance in high school.

Links to a story in the Telegraph which talks about the negative impacts of social networking, although the same paper carried a story about the benefits of blogging last year.

There was also a story today that we aren't happy with just one screen now, a growing number of people browse the internet while watching TV... The iPad is perfect for that of course, and I seem to remember doing other things while watching TV even 30 odd years ago...

Creating the sustainable primary school

Spent most of the day today at Gresham's Prep School in the fine Georgian town of Holt in North Norfolk. The event was a Primary Cluster meeting, arranged by Paul Baker.
The day was lead by Gyles Morris of Naturesbase.

I provided a brief update on GA support for Primary Colleagues, and the presentation (such as it was) is included below for a brief period in case the delegates missed any of the important information.
Several key things:
a) support of Paula Owens and Wendy North: Primary Curriculum Development Leaders
b) publication of updated Primary Geography Handbook (copies were available to view on the day)
c) Primary Geographer - latest issue on "Messy Geographies"... membership means electronic access to 5 or 6 years' worth of back copies
d) Joining the GA costs just £38 for a Primary school

View more presentations from GeoBlogs.

GA Shropshire Branch lecture

If you're in or around Shropshire next week, you might want to head along to Shrewsbury School to hear the lecture by Dr Servel Miller on natural hazards...

Details on the poster below, with thanks to Rob Morris.

Census 2011

Got something about Census 2011 through my door today...

The Census will take place on the 27th of March, 2011.

Census 2011 will be here before too long, and it is an opportunity once again to focus on the importance of Geography in our everyday lives... The information collected will guide policy and other decisions through the following decade, and also provide further information on important social trends...
The official website has a range of really useful information on the census, including a specific area on using the census in the classroom.

This has some good potential for classroom use in the run up to the Census....

2010 Travels

Nearing the end of another year, and this map shows a summary of my travels in 2010...
More to come in 2011 - hope to get to some of the places in between these pins...

Feel free to invite me to a town near you... my fees are very reasonable...
Noticed that the pins aren't always in the right place until you zoom quite close in...

50 islands...

Saw this book a while back when it wasn't readily available in an English version, then saw it in Foyle's the other day, but it was £25, so just ordered it from your favourite online book store, which I know is not the best thing to do if I still expect Foyle's to be there the next time I want them, but the £10 I saved was an issue...

The book is called "Atlas of Remote Islands: 50 islands I have not visited and never will"....

I like the design and overall "vibe" of the book when seen on the shelf, and it has a good feel in the hand...
Written by Judith Schalansky, who also created all the maps...
Got some great reviews

January destination...

Some good news today... Seems I'll be heading here at the end of January...
It's a hard job, but....

Part of the digitalearth project.

Image : CC licensed by Flickr user ZeHawk - used with thanks 

ESRI UK sponsor RGS Geography ambassador scheme

Last week there was the announcement of a new sponsorship deal for the RGS's very successful Geography Ambassadors scheme, which will now be funded by ESRI UK.
If you haven't invited an Ambassador into your school yet, the only question is "why not ?"

From the press release:

Bringing two of the UK’s leading geographical organisations together for the first time, the exciting new partnership will marry the UK’s largest pool of Geographic Information System (GIS) expertise from ESRI (UK), with the nationwide Geography Ambassadors Programme that brings geographical inspiration and knowledge to more than 37,000 young people every year through Ambassador visits to their classrooms. It is a timely partnership, building on the recent introduction of GIS into the curriculum, and the way in which geographers are being sought out by employers for their skills and knowledge. 

GIS is a powerful technology that combines location-based data with mapping and which enables organisations to visualise, analyse and share that spatial information. Estimated to be worth as much as £900 million* in the UK, GIS technology underpins strategic development, services and business processes across the public and private sectors - locally, nationally and globally. 

Director of the Society, Dr Rita Gardner, says the new development is a natural partnership for both organisations. “Thousands of young people have already seen, thanks to our Geography Ambassadors, how the knowledge and skills they learn through geography can make them employable across a variety of fields. 

“With more and more industries relying on GIS in their business planning and decision making, we have a real opportunity with our new partnership with ESRI (UK) to enhance the Ambassadors Programme with a new pool of GIS Ambassadors that will inspire even more young people with the relevance and applications of geography,” she said. 

Managing Director of ESRI (UK), Dr Richard Waite, believes a geographic approach to problem solving ensures better communication and collaboration – key skills for the 21st century: “GIS is becoming an indispensable part of daily life – from telecommunications to public safety, insurance and retail – there is an increasing requirement for people with strong geographical analysis and computer skills to help organisations unlock their true potential,” he said. 

“Now that GIS is part of the national curriculum, I believe there has never been a better time for us to bring our expertise into the Geography Ambassadors Programme. Working with the Society means we are helping the next generation of geographers to become the problem solvers of the future.” 

The importance of GIS stressed once again...

New free GeoPacks resource

I have blogged regularly about the free resources that Rick Cope is generously making available via GeoPacks.
If you register for these updates you'll get a regular free resource.

The latest is on the theme of Sand Dunes.

While you're there, check out the shop too...

2012 London Olympics - where is the merchandise being made ?

Quite a bit in the press recently (and thanks to @kevinmulryne on Twitter for pointing this out) about the country of manufacture of items being made and sold to tie in with the 2012 London Olympics.
Apparently over 90% of these items are made outside the UK, despite the potential to produce a huge source of income for UK manufacturers...

I noticed on a recent visit to St. Pancras that there is an Olympics shop (which was a tad empty of customers the few times I've walked past it, including Wednesday evening this week...)

Sky News has a feature on this issue (video report)

This would of course tie in with numerous GA related Olympics resources:
Planet Sport area of website
Faster, Higher, Stronger KS3 toolkit book - available from GA shop

and also a resource that Fred Martin has produced for use with Digital Worlds, which delegates at the GA's GIS courses will have a chance to see in the new year...

A related story on this could be the potential income and geographical themes related to the Royal Wedding that is apparently going to take place next year.
Apparently there's going to be an extra Bank Holiday so I'm all in favour of it !


Today is World Toilet Day.
A new resources which I had a play with yesterday is called FLUSH TRACKER.
Provide it with a postcode and it (allegedly) tracks where your last flush went, as far as the nearest treatment plant or other suitable location...
The point is that there are many millions of people who haven't got the luxury of a flushing toilet.
Check it out and see where your FLUSH ends up...

Don't forget to join the BIG SQUAT as well.

You'll be part of a big movement...

Join the Fish Fight

Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall's latest campaign is called FISH FIGHT.

There is a website and twitter feed and the campaign made it onto the front page of the Independent newspaper yesterday...

Video here:

GA Conference Programme 2011

Geographical Association Conference & Exhibition 2011 Programme

New Danny Macaskill video

A new bicycle video by Danny MacAskill, whose original cycle tricks video was viewed over 20 million times.

Thanks to @Al_Humphreys on Twitter for the tip-off...

Some great Scottish locations for the cycling here...

Calvin and Hobbes are 25 years old...

One of my favourite cartoon strips is Calvin and Hobbes. I have a number of compilation books on the bookshelf near my desk, and they offer a lot of inspiration...
I use one of the panels from a Calvin and Hobbes cartoon in my presentations, and it's reproduced below. The original illustrations and writing were of course by Bill Watterson
Of course Calvin, and Hobbes his imaginary (or is he real ?) tiger will forever stay the same age, and Miss Wormwood, Calvin's weary teacher will continue to mutter the words "five years until retirement" to herself when Calvin annoys her...

World GIS Day

Thanks to colleagues who joined me today for the 3rd of our ESRI / GA GIS courses.
This was held at an ICT training centre on the outskirts of Southampton and it was a very wet day outside, not that people noticed the weather as they were glued to their screens...

As it happens today was World GIS day so the event was one of many that was happening around the world focussing on the power of mapping and GI
Plenty of food for thought for all concerned, and I hope some ideas for starting on the path to embedding GIS, and also for continuing the process of improving the events as they progress.
I look forward to seeing more colleagues on the remaining courses.
Not enjoying the five and a half hour journey home though...

Sustainable day conference in Norfolk

Reminder of this event, which is taking place next Tuesday at Gresham's School in Holt, Norfolk

Developing the  Sustainable Primary /Prep school
Tuesday 23rd November at Gresham’s Prep School, Holt , Norfolk, NR25 6EY

A one day conference organised through the Geographical Association Cluster Group initiative and Naturesbase by Gresham’s Prep School, Holt  for all  local Primary and Prep Schools .

This conference will provide an overview of current and creative
approaches to teaching of sustainable development in the primary
school and will:
·         Inform teachers how to evaluate the stage their school is at regarding sustainability issues and raise their levels of awareness of the evaluation framework.
·         Inspire teachers on ways to maximise the potential of a cross-curricular approach for creative teaching strategies relating to sustainability.
·         Provide practical examples of how to teach sustainable development.

9.00am             Registration and coffee

9.30am             Welcome and introduction

9.45am             The current context of Education for Sustainable Development

11.00am           Coffee

11.30am           Workshops  - Food, farming and fair trade.

12.30pm           Lunch  

1.30pm             Workshops - Tackling climate change in schools.

2.30pm             Tea

2.45pm             A place to grow: developing the outdoor classroom

3.15pm             Finalising an action plan

3.30pm             Finish

The workshop will be lead by Gyles Morris Director of Naturesbase, and a leading contributor on the Government of the South West’s ‘Developing a sustainable primary school’ programme and lead lecturer on the MA PGCE primary geography specialism at the London Institute of Education.

Communicating Geography...

A blog post which started off with Twitter and then turned into something more useful...

Started with me following the RGS's Geographical Journal twitter feed by following what someone else had said about it...
Scrolled down and noticed a link to an article / editorial written by Nick Middleton, who has been supportive of our Mission:Explore books (and was also going to be involved in a bid that we made for the Go Beyond bursary a few years back...)

Nick Middleton works at the School of Geography, University of Oxford. In the article, he starts by saying:

Geography is a slippery fish. Some like to make a distinction between the subject matter and the academic discipline, a division that others consider unnecessary. Within academe, geographers have become so specialised in their research and teaching interests that many have closer links with other disciplines than with some of their supposed colleagues. This fragmentation has made it gradually more difficult to attain a synoptic view of geography as a discipline, a particular irony to those who see their subject as one with a focus on synthesis. Indeed, the talk now is increasingly not about geography at all, but about geographies.

Article mentioned a guide to Researchers which I followed up (produced by the RGS-IBG) and had some useful sections on the links that could be developed between academic geographers and teachers

This Saturday, Simon Renshaw hosted a seminar as part of an ESRC funded series on Engaging Geography. I went to a previous event in the series, and it was a pity to miss meeting up with some of the people who were involved in this one... Good to see that Young People's Geographies was included in the programme for the event.

So, the message is that teachers can make use of the work that is being done in universities, and should be looking to make any possible links with the nearest institution, or perhaps one that is slightly further away, but to which several students from the school have perhaps secured places in the past....

GA Conference Poster

The GA has produced a rather nice poster which can be displayed in a Geography department near you...

Click to download the poster as a PDF....

Further details and booking are available on the GA website.

MP: Lobbying reminder...

A reminder that it would be really great if you could lobby your MP about the need to maintain geography's place in the school curriculum. (especially given the forthcoming review of the curriculum)
Thanks to Henry Bellingham MP for pursuing the letter that I sent to him earlier in the year, and getting a response from Nick Gibb, which was very helpful...
Full details, and a letter that can be customised for your own usage are available to download from the GA website.

Half the World's Population

Interesting infographic, with thanks to Rich Allaway for the tipoff...

Half the World's population apparently lives in just 6 countries...

Iceland Epilogue 2

Just uploaded a few iPhone vids to my Flickr account.
This is a brief glimpse of Skogafoss. Very impressive...

Updated GA Branch activity...

There has been a flurry of updates and information on branch activity in the last few days which it is worth updating you about. Anne Greaves has been updating a number of pages on the website

GA BLACKPOOL BRANCH - branch programme has been amended through to 2011
This includes some forthcoming events:

Magnetic Trees and Lakes - The Science of Environmental Magnetism
Monday 6 December 2010
Professor Barbara Maher, University of Lancaster
The Azores - The Green Islands
Monday 10 January 2011
Howard Phillips, President of the Blackpool GA Branch

GA CHESTER BRANCH - branch programme has been amended through to 2011
This includes some forthcoming events:

Loss of Innocence: the situation of children in Gaza
Monday 15 November 2010, 7:00pm
Rod Cox from CAPE (Chester And Palestine Exchange)
World GIS Day
Wednesday 17 November 2010, 4:30pm-6:00pm
Digital view of the World GIS workshop and hands-on experience for sixth formers. Limited numbers.
Worldwise Quiz
Wednesday 24 November 2010, 4:30pm-7:00pm
Predicting Climate Impacts on Health
Tuesday 7 December 2010, 5:00pm-6:00pm
Dr Andy Morse, University of Liverpool
Jokulhlaups: the causes and impact of glacier outburst floods
Wednesday 20 January 2011, 4:30pm-5:30pm
Professor Fiona Tweed, Department of Geography, University of Staffordshire

There has also been encouraging activity in areas which have been quiet for a while.

If you'd like to discuss starting a GA BRANCH in your area, please contact me.

Finally, news of an interesting sounding lecture by Mike Hulme of the University of East Anglia at Nottingham Trent University. Details below:

The School of Animal, Rural and Environmental Sciences is pleased to announce that
Prof Mike Hulme of the University of East Anglia will speak at NTU on
“Why we disagree about Climate Change”

Thursday 2nd December in Newton Building lecture theatre LT4

5.30pm for 5.45pm start
Drinks available afterwards

Please email Val Briggs (val.briggs@ntu.ac.uk ) before Monday 29th November to reserve a place

Mike Hulme’s web page is http://mikehulme.org/ and you can read a review of his book at

New Geography blog

Thanks to Morgan Plain for getting in touch about the geography blog that he has started to write. It's called the GEO MESSENGER blog.

Morgan is a 6th form student. It's always good to have another blogging "voice" out there...
You can find Morgan's blog, and many others, listed on the A-Z list on the GA website.

If we've missed your geography blog off the list, let us know and we'll add you to it....

OS activity

A few things from the Ordnance Survey in last day...
First is the launch of Digimap.
Text below taken from the press release:
Ordnance Survey is increasing its support for the teaching of geography at all levels by launching a brand new online mapping service for all schools across Great Britain. ‘Digimap for Schools’ provides schools with easy access to Ordnance Survey's most detailed digital mapping for the whole of Great Britain. For the first time, pupils will have access to maps showing individual building outlines as well as familiar scales of mapping used by outdoor enthusiasts and on websites. 
Baroness Hanham said:
“It’s important for schoolchildren to learn how to tell where places in this country are. ‘Digimaps for Schools’ will provide detailed geographical information for pupils. I’m very pleased to launch this scheme, which will give all children easy access to Ordnance Survey maps through the latest technology in interactive digital mapping.”
EDINA currently provide map and spatial data services for universities and colleges. Based at the University of Edinburgh, they are extending their service to include all schools. The mapping service - Digimap for Schools - is being made available through JISC Collections for Schools – a central source of affordable online subscription resources for the schools sector.
The Director of EDINA, Peter Burnhill said:
 “We are very pleased to be able to extend our mapping services from higher education into schools. Digimap for Schools is tailor-made to provide children with easy access to a full range of Ordnance Survey mapping for the whole of Great Britain. We hope the online service will help pupils of all ages to learn more about places beyond their own familiar area and will be used to add a sense of place to many subjects.” 
The Geographical Association believes that map work and the development of associated skills is an essential aspect of school ‘geography’, Using maps encourages pupils to explore the landscape as it is represented on the map, but then to take a walk outside, and immerse themselves in the ‘real world’. The excellent mapping services provided by the Ordnance Survey enable teachers and pupils of all ages to develop an understanding and appreciation of the development of the landscape, whether urban or rural, that takes them beyond the school gates and into a world of discovery.
Vanessa Lawrence CB, Director General and Chief Executive of Ordnance Survey said:
“I am delighted that we are able to offer such a wide range of Ordnance Survey data available to pupils of all ages and we are keen to encourage teachers to use mapping data to make geography relevant and interesting to pupils.
Ordnance Survey has provided all 11 year-olds with a free OS Explorer map of their area for the last nine years, issuing over 6 million paper maps. The popular scheme had been one of the largest educational initiatives of its kind. This year schools with 11 year-olds have also been given free access to Digimap for Schools until December 2011.
Vanessa continued:
“Our free maps for 11 year-olds has been incredibly successful with over 6 million        OS Explorer Maps being sent out in the last nine years.  However, when we look at how young people engage with technology, it seems very appropriate to provide mapping digitally and in a relevant way that they will continue to use as they grow and develop into adulthood.”
The RGS – IBG’s Director Dr Rita Gardner CBE added
“The Royal Geographical Society (with IBG) believes that it is vital that school pupils learn to read and understand maps. The use of maps should be a central element of their geography lessons. To help young people know more about, and to understand, Britain’s human and physical landscapes there is no better place to start than mapping provided by the Ordnance Survey.” 

Digimap is a mapping service for schools. I wrote an article about the service which can be seen in the latest (electronic) edition of MAPPING NEWS.

The service will be free until the end of 2011, but will then involve a subscription fee being paid.

Digital Worlds subscribers have access to the new maps streamed into the GIS software, so they can begin to manipulate and work with them.
Image copyright: Ordnance Survey made available under CC Non-Commercial license

Second thing relates to the image above, which was taken at a DIGIMAP launch event.

It's from the Ordnance Survey's new OS MAPPING FLICKR account, which has a range of useful images for use in the classroom.
Here's one of an OS surveyor at work with GPS receiver and portable computer.

Image copyright: Ordnance Survey made available under CC Non-Commercial license

World GIS Day - 17th November

This annual event aims to publicise the use of GIS technology.
The website has a range of useful resources to use to publicise your geographical use of the technology, and its value in providing potential employment, or developing geographical skills, as well as providing an alternative way of communicating information, or completing coursework.

As it happens, I am due to be in Southampton that day, working with teachers on one of our ESRI / GA GIS courses, so will definitely be doing my bit for WORLD GIS DAY.

What will you be doing ?

Will you go the extra mile ?

The Frederick Soddy Trust are supporting a competition which is open to Key Stage 2 Geography pupils.

The aim of the competition is to encourage students to develop their local fieldwork 
The deadline is in January, so it might be good to get out in the next month or so, weather permitting. The idea behind the competition is very simple:

Pupils are asked to make a journey of one mile in any direction from their school, looking at people, places and spaces on the way, then record their impressions on an A3 sheet.


Pupils: An interactive globe, a mobile phone, a hand held GPS or a digital camera
Schools: £250 to be used for teaching geography, plus, if you wish to submit the work as part of a Primary Quality Mark application, the Trust will pay the enrolment fee.

Further information

Pupils are asked to walk for one mile in as near a straight line as they can manage (without danger or trespass) in any direction from the school. Working in pairs, they should note what they see of particular geographical interest and relevance. Then, based on an A3 sheet, the pupils are asked to describe their mile in the form of an illustrated map of their own making, showing on it what they observed and any significant comments about the features.
Look and record such aspects as:
  • what words and images describe what there is
  • why is the place used in this way
  • how could it be used
  • how does it make you feel
  • what would you want to change and why
  • what do the locals feel etc
The key task is to explore and uncover the geographical richness of what is immediately round you, however apparently unpromising that might seem at first glance. For example, even an alleyway of garages can provide geographical links.
Investigations into such things as the differential flows of traffic junctions, the flora and fauna of pavements and hedges, underground routings of sewers and wires, trees in the local park, street names and patterns, local places of worship, the age size and shape of houses, and the chains of supply to the local shops all have potential.

How to enter

Staff should limit the help they give (i.e. not direct exactly what should be written on the map), but can act as consultants in advising pupils about their choice of material.
Entries may include the listing of additional questions which could be followed up, thus taking the scope of the fieldwork further.
The competition is for one entry per school of no more than two pupils either in Years 3 or 4, or in Years 5 and 6.
Please complete the application form and send your entries to:
Go The Extra Mile
C/O The Geographical Association
160 Solly Street
S1 4BF
The deadline for submissions is 15 January 2011. We regret that entries cannot be returned.