Saturday, 29 May 2010

Glastonbury

The Glastonbury Festival is just under a month away.

Sadly U2 will not be headlining on the Friday, although Gorillaz have stepped in as headliners...
I'll be doing some workshops with the GEOGRAPHY COLLECTIVE based on our MISSION EXPLORE books.

Don't forget the scheme of work that is based on music festivals and can be seen on the GEOGRAPHYTEACHINGTODAY website.
The scheme of work focuses on GLASTONBURY but could be adapted to other festivals.

I also have an excellent scheme of work based around the LATITUDE FESTIVAL (where Mission Explore will also be...) produced by James and Vicki Woolven.

Glastonbury also featured in the latest Countryfile magazine (I used my supermarket loyalty points to pay for a subscription) - the festival has a great deal to do with geography...

Got a bit of shopping to do in the next couple of weeks: the cheapest tent possible, some wellingtons, some joss sticks...

A few random Glastonbury stats for you:

  • Over 170 000 tickets have been sold
  • 1900 tons of waste will be created, of which around 49% will be recycled
  • around 2 million litres of water will be used each day
If you're at the festival, come and say hello :)

Why Geography Matters

Thanks to various contacts for leading me to this video made by some of the Google Earth folks...

Friday, 28 May 2010

We're England...



Thanks to my colleague Paula Owens for telling me about this World Cup charity record.

What is striking about this is the emphasis on the multicultural nature of the country, something that was picked up on Radio 4 earlier today when Michael Caine was interviewed.
The occasion was the opening of a new exhibition in the Museum of London, which featured Michael as an 'iconic Londoner' and he described the importance of everyone living in the city seeing themselves as "a Londoner", rather than choosing a label which identified them as being somehow separate from the community...

Could you see yourself using this video in the classroom, and if so how ?

What additional materials might be needed to turn this into a curriculum resource...

Don't forget the GA's other WORLD CUP RESOURCES

Notes from a Small Island

Have been accompanied on my travels for the last week by Bill Bryson via a 10 CD audiobook version of his "Notes from a Small Island" borrowed from the library (don't forget your local library !)
I've been developing some activities based around his travels, and the impressions that he gives of some of the cities he visits, compared to the views of others, and also the changes that might have occurred since he visited them in 1995 (which is about the time that GCSE students would have been born, so handy for thinking about changes "in your lifetime"...)

You can also find a range of video clips from the accompanying TV series on YouTube of course, such as this one...
Plenty of cultural geography inspiration, as well as the chance to discuss the nature of the British landscape.
Bill Bryson is currently the President of CPRE: the Campaign to Protect Rural England.

Iapetus


My colleague John Lyon guided me to this app. He'd actually found one before me... :)

Iapetus was the name of an ancient ocean.

Iapetus is also an iPhone app which contains an animated globe allowing you to explore millions of years of history, and explore plate tectonics...
It's FREE as well...

Thursday, 27 May 2010

Twitter ye not...

Down in Bristol earlier in the week...
Made plans with the very excellent Mark Jones for a conference in early July...

I am going to be doing a keynote on CURRICULUM MAKING....
Will also be using Twitter to explore the news of the weeks leading up to the conference...
More later...

The Meaning of the 21st Century

A great movie here to accompany James Martin's excellent book...
Thanks to Stephen Heppell for the tip-off (via Twitter, not personally.....)


The Meaning of the 21st Century from 21C School on Vimeo.

One day this will be a horse...


Geographical futures...
Mystery image starter - check my Flickr stream for more clues....

Twitter visualisations...

This has been an interesting few days...
On Tuesday, I visited the PGCE cohort at UWE (University of West of England) in Bristol - travelling down via the Cotswolds and Westonbirt Arboretum.

As part of the session, I spoke about Twitter as providing a range of ideas and conversations, as well as a source of rich real-life data for lessons on topics such as the Icelandic volcanic eruptions and the ensuing disruption to travel for thousands of people.
I also spoke about how it would be important for the PGCE colleagues to take this information and work to develop it into not just teaching materials, but also a curriculum...

Then I read a rather excellent blog post by Doug Belshaw which confirmed my thinking. The important point is to take some inspiration or stimulation from the content of a tweet, but then to take it further, and work with students to have a (possibly measurable, but not necessarily) impact on teaching and learning, and not just be satisfied with an interesting potential 'pedagogic adventure'. (I know I was guilty of that at times as a teacher...)

With respect to curriculum making, this was a point that was brought up by some of the students in the session.

Followed that up with a great site for visualising tweets called TWEET FLARE by Nikhil Bobb.
Each tweet flares briefly, and creates a sense of conversations emerging into the aether...
But what would you need to do to develop it as a resource in the classroom, if that was your use for it ?

Wednesday, 26 May 2010

"Here is the news from Lake Wobegon, my home town..."

With these words, Garrison Keillor introduces a particular segment of his radio show...

I've been drifting off to sleep for the last few weeks catching up with the archive of these shows on my WunderRadio app from the weekly Prairie Home Companion radio show of Garrison Keillor

They are the weekly updates of the news from the fictional Minnesota town which Keillor created, and has sustained for years. Lake Wobegon Days is a comedy classic from over 25 years ago.

It was also a book that I thought of when I was asked last week for my favourite books on a geographical theme for a forthcoming feature in 'Geographical' magazine.

Also developing a possible activity based around the book for the SAGT conference later in the year, when I am doing a session on literacy in geography

Monday, 24 May 2010

Teachers TV

The three programmes that I recently consulted on for Teachers TV were added to the website on Friday...
There are 3 programmes in the series.
Each was developed by Beth Newell and colleagues at Brook Lapping from original ideas which we discussed in an Italian cafe in Cambridge last year...

Each programmes last for 15 minutes
The first one: Today's Forecast, follows a line across the country from east to west and interviews a number of people whose jobs are dependent on the weather...
The second: The Great Storm tells the story of the 1987 Great Storm, but from the perspective of the storm itself...
The third: Degrees of Change is based on a specially commissioned poem by Mark Cowan and explores the possible impacts of 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 degrees of warming in the future...

I'd love any feedback if you watch them, and particularly if you use them in the classroom....

China Club HQ


Earlier this week, I took a trip through the online resource at CHINA CLUB HQ.
This is an online, subscription based service for schools wishing to teach about China as a cross-curricular context for a range of activities.
The website offers a range of pricing options for schools of different sizes, starting at £195 a year for a single department.
The emphasis is on CHINA as a theme to be explored through the school, and the site offers a range of activities and downloads, image galleries and other inspiration.

Thanks to Fraser from China Club for allowing me guest access to the site, to explore what is on offer.

Members can now see a new BLOG post which features me talking about the links to China that we had in the school where I used to teach, and other ideas for teaching about China.
Also a feature on Bob Lang's Geography and Art project which was supported by an RGS-IBG Innovative Geography teaching grant...

Sir Ken Robinson TED talk

A new Sir Ken Robinson talk from TED in February 2010 can now be seen online.
Some familiar stories, although there are a few new ones too...
There are two types of people....


Sunday, 23 May 2010

Plastiki in 3D

I've been following the Plastiki voyage's story for over a year now...
There were delays in the launch, but I am enjoying following the voyage via the website, and also their TWITTER stream...

The PLASTIKI is now available in 3D via the GOOGLE warehouse...

Friday, 21 May 2010

Teaching Geography: Young People's Geographies



Young People's Geographies is a project funded by the Action Plan for Geography.
It started in 2006, when I became involved as a teacher at King Edward VII School, King's Lynn, and my involvement is documented on the GEOGRAPHY PAGES website, the GTT website, and the dedicated YPG WEBSITE.

We made several visits over to Leicester for project meetings, and got involved in several years of co-construction of the curriculum...

The next phase of the project involved me working from the GA perspective.

The latest cohort of teachers are from the West Midlands and the North West and will be reporting back in July...

The Summer 2010 issue of Teaching Geography has a Young People's Geographies theme, and would make an excellent introduction to the project...

The Geography Collective


This is shaping up to be a very busy summer for the Geography Collective.
We are launching our MISSION EXPLORE LONDON iPhone app...

The Golden Hinde is the venue for our launch event.
The replica of Sir Francis Drake's famous galleon will make an excellent backdrop for all sorts of mission explore related goodness...

The event will take place on the evening of July the 28th

App for iPhone is now installed on my phone in a prototype version, which seems to be working nicely...

I'm also getting geared up for three days of workshops at GLASTONBURY this year. See you there !!

Norfolk's Fine Food

Over to the nearest town today to get a copy of something which featured in the latest FACE newsletter.

It's a game made by Orchard Toys, who produce brightly coloured board games which my children have really enjoyed playing.
This particular game was created by a group of Primary school students from Norfolk, in association with the company.

The game has a series of (geographical) aims relating to the production of local foods.

A useful extension of the old "design a board game" idea...

New issue of 'Geography'


Was excited to receive my copy of the latest issue of the GA journal 'Geography', especially as it contains my article written about "Geographies of Food: Resourcing the food crisis". This documents some of the work that I carried out when looking at the issue of food and writing two online CPD units on the theme, which can be viewed on the GA WEBSITE...

Good to see some of my images being used in the article too. If you do need some pictures of FOOD for whatever reason, please visit my Flickr set It's delicious...

Beautiful short movie...

Q&A from StoryCorps on Vimeo.

Joshua Littman, a 12-year-old boy with Asperger’s syndrome, interviews his mother, Sarah. Joshua’s unique questions and Sarah’s loving, unguarded answers reveal a beautiful relationship that reminds us of the best—and the most challenging—parts of being a parent.

To learn more about StoryCorps, visit http://storycorps.org

GA Server problems

The GA server is a little 'poorly' at the moment...
E-mails to my work address are not getting through...
If you need to get in touch please use my e-mail a.parkinson [AT] gmail.com - please send any e-mails that you may have sent in the last few days to me at that address....
or contact me via Twitter @GeoBlogs

Normal service will be resumed as soon as possible...

This has delayed arrival of World Cup 2010 resources too - they will be with you as soon as possible...

GA Magazine Summer 2010


The latest issue of the GA magazine dropped into my post box yesterday, and it's full of stuff.
There is an illustrated review of the GA conference, and the latest Webwatch column along with plenty of other stuff.

Free to GA members.

One particular feature of the magazine is a trail for something that is coming in September 2010
This is an NQT 'survival' kit, which will hopefully help new teacher colleagues to thrive not just survive...

If you have any thoughts on possible content for this resource, please get in touch...

Wednesday, 19 May 2010

Batchgeo

Batchgeo was a new website that I discovered today...

It allows for the input of locational data from a spreadsheet, which is then turned into a Google Map.
This would get over the faff of creating individual points of interest or bookmarks....

I haven't explored it fully yet, but looks like it has potential...

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

Meeting the Challenge


That is the title of a new report produced by NESTA and the SSAT

30 years ago today...

The eruption of Mount Saint Helens.
Some stunning photos from Boston.com's excellent THE BIG PICTURE...

A(nother) barbeque summer ?

The forecasts are in, and it's going to be a scorcher... perhaps...
We'll keep you posted

Oil slick in the Gulf of Mexico


There has been much coverage of the oil slick that is spreading in the Gulf of Mexico, and the environmental impact of the leaks in the submarine pipe as the oil threatens to come ashore, and also be carried to remote locations by currents in the area.

A recent discovery via Twitter is a Google map tool by the talented Paul Rademacher which takes a map of the spill area, and allows you to compare it with the size of cities to visualise the area that is covered by the spill. It uses the Google Earth plugin in Google Maps to great effect.

Monday, 17 May 2010

Teachers TV Programmes on the way...

There are a number of Teachers TV programmes on the way that I had a hand in producing as a consultant on the content, and also helping to find teachers to provide appropriate lesson experiences that could be filmed.
The first of these is coming up in a couple of weeks time...

Hard to Teach: Secondary Geography Using ICT (J/4125/001)

Available to stream and download on the website www.teachers.tv as of 4th June

First transmission on the channel on 8th June at 08:25 followed by a further transmission that day at 16:25

Further transmissions have also been scheduled as follows:

9th June – 20:00

12th June – 19:00

13th June – 16:00

The programme features 3 teachers using ICT in the classroom.

Helen Young uses data-loggers to explore microclimates

Paul Haigh looks at virtual fieldwork in Sheffield

Bob Lang uses Google Earth, Gapminder and Digital Worlds

Friday, 14 May 2010

I want to tell you a story....

Three story related stories today...
The first was a product which I saw featured in today's TES Magazine.

Rory's Story Cubes are a nice looking product -they consist of a number of dice, which have different pictures on each face....
Shake the phone and you'll get a random collection of images which can form the basis for a story, which possibly has to be on a particular theme, or include a particular word, or be based around a stimulus image(s) I like my story cubes...

The other story link relates to a CPD event for Primary colleagues which is coming up on the 30th of June

The event is organised jointly by the GA and DECSY: the Development Education

The event is titled "Exploring Global Climate change in the primary school through Story"

An opportunity to explore local / global connectedness empowering you to become more effective global citizens, supporting you and your school to take action on climate change.
We will use story as a basis for work with pupils across the primary age range while maintaining a focus on 'pupil voice' and an exploration of issues.

The event costs just £25 for the day, and you can get more details HERE.

The third is the TALES OF THINGS website, which I have mentioned before (and also available as an iPhone app...) The app has now been updated so that it will read all QR codes and not just Tales of Things ones...
The project involves the production of QR codes which are attached to objects.
It's developing nicely...

(Over) the rainbow is over...

The DCSF is now just the DFE... back to just EDUCATION
Gone is the rainbow ....

Worldwise Challenge 2010

My colleague John Lyon has just left for the drive up to Blencathra Field Studies Council centre for the annual Worldwise Challenge Weekend.
Details on previous events can be found at the WORLDWISE page of the GA website.

More details on this event, including some images will be posted shortly....

Thursday, 13 May 2010

WIRED

Image by Alan Parkinson

WIRED magazine's UK edition has some excellent articles in every issue, but this month's issue has a range of particularly good ones for geographers. The magazine's WEBSITE has a flavour of the print edition, but it's worth buying (or subscribing) - the tagline is "the future as it happens".
  • For example, there's an article on what would happen if a SUPER VOLCANO erupted...
  • There's also a GPS ENABLED bra apparently...
  • Pencil vs Reality Art looks at the representation of locations with images amended by inked drawings (you need to read the article to understand what I mean by that....)
  • An article on the use of mapping following the HAITI EARTHQUAKE to aid the relief effort.
You can follow the magazine on Twitter too....

Jarvis Cocker & the National Trust

The National Trust has released an album of sounds recorded at National Trust properties. The sounds have been assembled and turned into an album by Jarvis Cocker, in association with the National Trust, and make for an engaging soundscape...

Visit the site and download your own copy...

How about making a soundtrack album for your school grounds and premises ?

Volcano refugees

Don't usually blatantly rip off someone else's blog post but liked this one from Richard Allaway.
A link to a good YouTube clip...


Watch it through first to see if & how you might want to use with students...

RGS Awards

The RGS-IBG Awards are being handed out at a newly organised awards ceremony in June.

In 2008 I was honoured to receive one, although I never talk about it....

There are some notable names receiving awards this year. I will be going along to the Open afternoon and then the Awards ceremony itself.

Particular congratulations to Helen Young of Geography Geek fame, and Adrian Taylor (both also CGeogs) who will be receiving this year's Ordnance Survey awards "for excellence in secondary geography teaching"...
Congratulations to the award winners, who also include Professor Iain Stewart...

Tuesday, 11 May 2010

Like taking asparagus to Evesham...

Not quite coals to Newcastle, but a story which was in the Daily Mail today regarding the pointy vegetable...

Asparagus is grown in England, and it has a short season. Here's some I bought earlier... You'll notice it wasn't from England...

The story concerns the fact that the asparagus is arriving into Evesham (where much of England's asparagus is grown) from Peru. You'll notice that it's not just the supermarket featured in the article that imports asparagus.

There has been no end of similar stories relating to the sourcing of food locally... The Summer 2010 issue of 'Geography' is on the theme of food - more on that in a future blog post...

Image by Alan Parkinson

Election Worldmapper

My local town was in the news this week because of comments apparently made by local Labour candidate.
Update: King's Lynn also made Have I Got News for You this week as well...



Thanks to my colleague Ruth Totterdell for giving me a link to the work of Ben Hennig, who is a Postgraduate Researcher at the University of Sheffield's renowned Social and Spatial Inequalities Research Group (SASI)

He has an excellent blog, which includes some of the work that he gets up to over at SASI. This also had an election theme to it this week, with some of the images that the group has been producing.

Thanks to Ben for allowing me permission to use the major image that is included in this blog post: a summary of the results of the election.


Head over to WORLDMAPPER for plenty more of these images.

Monday, 10 May 2010

Migrant workers...

I've just had a very moving experience...*

Last Friday left a house my wife and I moved into shortly after getting married. It's the house we brought our two children back to, and spent twelve years in...

It's inland from the Norfolk coast where we were, to an area known as Breckland.
Small village with a few services - ready for us to explore...

* - do you see what I did there ?

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

GeoTube

David Rayner has invested considerable time and money in bringing GeoTube back to life.

GeoTube has almost 400 videos so far, with plenty more to come...
Check out GEOTUBE

City of Staples

A nice art piece
Made from thousands of
staples...

A very different "urban environment"... thanks to the Daily Mail once again...

The city was named Ephemicropolis

Watch the VIMEO VID below of the city being made...

The making of Ephemicropolis from Peter Root on Vimeo.

100,000 staples arranged over 40 hours.
To see photographs go to www.peterroot.com/index.php?/projects/ephemicropolis/

OPAL Water Survey resources

Just had a delivery to the GA.
A box of resources for the OPAL WATER SURVEY

Last year it was the AIR SURVEY...
Free for schools to register and participate...
Look forward to having a go.



Mount St. Helens - 30 years on...

30 years ago, I was sitting my "O levels"...
There was a major news story which I remember, about an eruption in the Cascades range in the NW USA...
It was a volcano called Mt. St. Helens, which became world famous...
That was May 18, 1980 - almost 30 years ago...

Image by Flickr user Bmaas

Why not take your classes back in time for a while on the 18th of May, followed by a look at the volcano today, and the plans for the future...

RSPB and Futurescapes

The RSPB were on the news today as I drove up to Sheffield.
They were talking about a scheme called FUTURESCAPES.

This is a scheme to increase the area of land that is managed for wildlife.

Scottish Geographies of Landscape


Thanks to Ollie Bray for the tip off to a competition for Scottish schools, which is related to the LANDSCAPE

All the details are in Ollie's blog post...

Monday, 3 May 2010

Uneven Geographies

This is coming up in Nottingham

UNEVEN GEOGRAPHIES is an art exhibition on the theme of globalisation and related issues.

Will be going over sometime in June to take a look and possibly meet up with some geography 'chums' there....

Don't forget the MAGNIFICENT MAPS at the British Library as well - that's definitely down for some time in June...


Saturday, 1 May 2010

Agnes Poitevin Navarre

Just been browsing some map links....
Came across the work of Agnes Poitevin Navarre.

Map of London is being exhibited at the RGS-IBG on Exhibition Road from the 6th of May, called CREATIVE COMPASS.
Will check it out next time I'm down in London...



Dan Box coming to King's Lynn

Dan Box is coming to King's Lynn on the 5th of June to talk about his journey to the Sinking Lands of the Carteret Islands - will be going along if I can ....