Sunday, 27 February 2011

Population decline in New Orleans

Good map from the New York Times...
Population decline

Under ten minutes

This is the name of an unusual, but very useful new website which provides short video introductions to a range of web tools including Wallwisher, Dropbox and Twitter...
The plan is to learn how to use them in UNDER TEN MINUTES...
Why not try out a new tool for the first week of the new half term...
Nice work...

Scott Scholarship Sledge Pull

Thanks to Lorraine Silvester for the tip off to the Scott Scholarship Sledge Pull
This event will cross the country and involve a range of schools and other groups in raising money, and awareness of Polar issues.
There are plenty of opportunities for you to find out more and get involved at the website.
Get your Gore Tex, you've pulled...

ESRI ArcGIS

ESRI have launched their ArcGIS explorer: an online GIS-style portal which allows users to explore a range of maps.
This accompanies the existing ESRI app which can be viewed on iPhone or iPad

The ArcGIS explorer has a very interesting interface, and offers a range of potential tools for the creation of map presentations using a range of base maps.

One additional detail which I was interested to read about was produced by Joseph Kerski, the Education Manager of ESRI, who has  produced a range of useful ideas on the supporting blog.
I particularly liked the use of images taken on an iPhone to create a photo layer...
More on this later...

Reading the Sunday papers....

Spent part of yesterday reading the Sunday papers... the papers from New Zealand...

Thanks to the web, you can read the papers from around the world, and with the time difference, there is now a chance to read 'tomorrow's papers...
The New Zealand Herald is available online...

With several hundred people still missing, the impact of this event is continuing to be felt across the country, and around the world.
The wider implications of the event in a developed country are being charted in these pages. There are secondary impacts being reported here that would be in few textbooks...
They are also written in an accessible non-technical way because of the expected range of readers...

Mission Explore Launch Drinks

In just over a month's time, there are two new Mission:Explore books launched on the world by The Geography Collective and Can of Worms Press.
Here are the front covers for those who are interested. They are already available to pre-order on Amazon so make sure you buy at least one copy....


There will be launch events in London on the 1st and 2nd of April, but if you are around in London on the evening of the 31st of March, you can join us at the Old Explorer, just a short walk from Oxford Circus.

Sign up to join us....

Plenty more to come in a month's time...

Saturday, 26 February 2011

Isle of Tune

A strange town-construction cum music site....

ISLE OF TUNE involves building a road layout and adding some features at the side of the road. This is then used to create loops, and sounds to create tunes...
Apparently there's an iPhone app on the way as well...
Take a look at the demo then create sweet sweet music...
The rhythm of the roads...

Edgelands

Holiday reading...
Took the plunge into KINDLE apps....
An interesting exploration of the urban-rural fringe...
References Marion Shoard's classic article... (click to download PDF)

For a taste of the book, see this INDEPENDENT article...

The Brown Sign Way

Have blogged about Amanda Hone's Brown Sign journeys before, and her new website is now taking shape well...

The BROWN SIGN WAY has a range of features...
You have the chance to add your own brown sign image to Amanda's map...

Here's the one that I contributed just now: of my local Brown Sign attraction...

You can find out all about the various types of brown signs HERE.

Thursday, 24 February 2011

From geography to prosperity

That's the title of an article contributed by ESRI UK's Richard Waite to the most recent SEC ED journal.
 
- this can be viewed online


An excellent article which stresses the value of a geographical education, and the use of GIS skills, as well as a mention for ESRI UK's support of the Geography Ambassador's Scheme...

2050 toolkit from the DECC

Had an invitation today from the Department of Energy and Climate Change.

The invitation was to preview material ahead of the launch a new toolkit to allow students and teachers (and other people) to explore pathways through to 2050.

There is more information below - the materials will launch on the 3rd of March.

From the press release...
On 3 March, the Department of Energy and Climate Change will be publishing the next phase of the 2050 Pathways Analysis. In order to reduce UK carbon emissions by 80% we need a revolution in our energy mix and that means major choices for the UK about how to move to a secure, low carbon economy. Government has produced the 2050 Pathways Analysis work to allow people to explore the scale of the challenge and the choices we face. What would you do? Whether it’s more nuclear power stations, driving electric cars or putting solar panels on every roof, the choice is yours as long as you can hit the target to reduce carbon emissions by 80 per cent by 2050. Following the Call for Evidence last autumn and the feedback received from stakeholders, with many thanks to those stakeholders who contributed, we have revised and extended the 2050 products to make it easier to work through the choices and trade-offs:


·         My2050 simulation - Aimed at 16-25 year olds, this is a user-friendly web application designed to help the public have a go at making the hard choices we face when it comes to tackling climate change, and to share their views on the big debates.


·         Revised 2050 Calculator web tool – An updated version of the more advanced Calculator web tool first launched last July, this now includes maps, energy flow diagrams and engaging summaries of each sector.

Will blog more when the tool goes live...
Useful for exploring energy futures, technological fix etc...

Ruth Totterdell on BBC Radio Sheffield

At times when there are important geographical events, the Geographical Association is often called upon to comment.
This week, Ruth Totterdell was speaking on the Rony Robinson show on BBC Radio Sheffield about the reasons for the damage that was caused by the Christchurch earthquake earlier this week.
Here's the interview, as captured on Audioboo....

Listen!

For more information on the earthquake, visit the GA WEBSITE
There is also a particularly dramatic image on the Daily Mail website today...

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Psychogeography

Spent a while earlier thinking about a talk that I am doing later in the year in Leeds.
The audience will be the Leeds Psychogeographers Group.
I am not necessarily a psychogeographer, but some of the activities that I am involved in are vaguely "psychogeographical" in nature...
Will be talking about Mission:Explore, childhood influences and books, geography as "writing the earth" and local investigations...

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

2012 Olympics Legacy

Thanks to John Widdowson for alerting me to the existence of this website from the LEGACY COMPANY, which acts as a tremendous additional resource for those teaching (or planning to teach) about the Olympics 2012. It includes an excellent interactive map with a number of 'layers' which shows the true scale of the Olympic park, and the various developments that are planned.

The GA will be producing a whole range of resources for the Olympics nearer the time, and we have already had a range of Olympics activities including a teacher conference, and of course Bob Digby's ongoing tours of the Olympic Park (there is a chance to take part in one of these on day one of the conference)

There is a large section on the Sustainability of the Olympic site in John Widdowson's GCSE toolkit book, which is now available from the GA shop.

There is also a Top Spec Geography title which is forthcoming, and a KS3 toolkit publication too.
With the opening of the velodrome today, this is a good time to take another look at what is planned for the park, plus there is the ongoing talks about the football future for the Olympics stadium itself.

There is a useful brochure on Scribd which is embedded below...

Future of the Park launch brochure

Census 2011

The advertising has started to make people aware of the Census 2011, which has featured on this blog before...
There was an ad part way through last night's Coronation Street... (I just happened to be in the room when it was on) which was part of this process. There is also a roadshow visiting various towns and cities in the UK. It was in Brighton today according to the Census 2011 twitter feed...

The forms will be appearing shortly, and people will be asked to fill them in online, or post the forms back...
I wonder how many geography teachers will save the forms to use them as a resource :)

Expect to see some supporting weblinks and ideas on the GA website, although as I have already said there are some useful resources on the OFFICIAL CENSUS website.

If you're in London in March until May, you might also be interested in an exhibition at the BRITISH LIBRARY.

Thought for the Day

"I see the city rise up tall 
The opportunities and possibilities 
I have never felt so called..."



Lyrics from 'Discoverer', a track from the new album by REM from album "Collapse into Now"
Sampler currently on Spotify...

AEGIS: new project resource by Helen Young

Regular readers will know that I have mentioned a range of GIS packages, including the Aegis package by the Advisory Unit. This featured in a double workshop that I led at the GA Conference, University of Derby 2007 I think...

The latest addition for owners and users of AEGIS is the Aegis Project Book

This was written, as was the Basic version, by Helen Young, creator of the excellent Geography Geek website.
She has put together 10 new project ideas for using the software...

The resource costs £50, which includes a disc with all the supporting materials for use with the software...

Catlin Arctic Survey

The Catlin Arctic Survey website (@ArcticSurvey on Twitter) has been mentioned before. It has a range of useful resources, and now has a range of video resources, for example crew members talking about equipment and clothing.

Christchurch Earthquake 2011

Woke this morning to find that Christchurch had been hit by another earthquake, a few months after the earlier larger quake. The previous one struck in the early hours of the morning, but this one happened at lunchtime, when people were in school, work or shopping. Buildings which had perhaps been damaged by the earlier quake collapsed, including the city's cathedral, which has been badly damaged.
Turned on the news to find images and reports of fatalities...

A range of places to find further information were quickly assembled by Anne Greaves, and now feature on the GA's website...

Shelterbox, who have also featured here numerous times, were also quick off the mark with some information and advice for people who wanted to help.

Monday, 21 February 2011

Exercise Watermark

The Environment Agency has been planning for one of the largest exercises in flood management and planning
Exercise Watermark will involve a whole range of stakeholders in testing a range of resilience measures...

There is plenty of information on the official EXERCISE WATERMARK website, which has a last chance to get involved.

The exercise will take place between the 4th and 11th of March.

There are a number of local events, and an interactive map where you can see what is happening locally....
If any schools are getting involved, please let me know, I'd really like to get along to an event, but there don't seem to be any taking place in Norfolk

Brighton blank...

A long half term, which saw me away from home for 20 days out of 49, ended last Friday with a trip down to Brighton for the Geography teacher's conference....
Had a nice hotel which was a step up from a Travelodge, and had a sea view...

Did a session on curriculum making in "interesting times" for Brighton teachers and PGCE colleagues.

Asked people via Twitter to complete the phrase 'Brighton _________' and ROCKS seemed to be the most popular reply.

Presentation is available on my SLIDESHARE page, but is not really as useful without me going through the points... delegates will notice that I didn't quite get to the end, but the discussions at the start were really interesting about some of the challenges facing schools and teachers at the moment...
Not just in Brighton schools of course, there are problems for people all over the country...

I shall be back down in Brighton twice in July, and teaming up again with Alan Kinder, who took me to various pubs in Brighton the previous evening, including 'The Cricketers' for a drink, and some planning for future events...
...also saw that bloke from the Fast Show, who did the "this week I have been mostly eating...." character...

Images by Alan Parkinson

We're all going to the zoo tomorrow...

...actually it was today... dodged the rain, and had a great day, although it was a tad chilly...
Out to Banham Zoo, which is a short drive from home... paid for entry with Tesco tokens...
Here are some of  my photos... not too bad considering it was an overcast day...


On the way back, had a quick stop off at the St. George's Distillery, where English whisky is being made...
Helped myself to a bottle of Chapter 9, and will have to come back and do the tour... A good selection of whiskies in the shop...

Rain Today

Planning a day out today, and used the Rain Today website.
It's worth a re-post perhaps as not everyone will be familiar with this site, which provides rainfall radar (it's also great for plotting the movement of snow showers as well)
It's very accurate, and I noticed Lucy Verasamy mentioning it in her @Lucyweather tweets earlier, as she often does...

Prince's Teaching Institute

A useful event being put on at the Royal Geographical Society at the end of March.

The Prince's Teaching Institute are running an event to consider the future of Geography and History in the curriculum, and there are a range of speakers. Paul Cornish will be talking about his geography department, and Professor David Lambert will be on a panel discussion in the afternoon...


A day for Headteachers and Curriculum Leaders with speakers including David Bell (DfE) and Professors Michael Young and Chris Husbands (IoE) which will consider the future of History and Geography in schools and provide delegates with ideas for promoting and enhancing provision in these subjects.

The conference will consider:
- What place do geography and history have in a broad and balanced secondary school curriculum?
- How will the English Baccalaureate affect curriculum planning in history and geography?
- What constitutes excellent practice in history and geography? 
- What is the future of integrated humanities?
Hear from thought-provoking speakers including academics and headteachers on the future of history and geography and review your curriculum in light of the recent White Paper. 

Speakers and debate panel will include: 
* David Bell, Permanent Secretary, Department for Education 
* Professor Michael Young, Emeritus Professor of Education, Institute of Education 
* Professor Chris Husbands, Director of the Institute of Education 
* Elizabeth Reid, CEO, SSAT 
* Bernice McCabe, Co-director of Prince's Teaching Institute and Headmistress, North London Collegiate School for Girls 
The conference will provide headteachers and curriculum leaders with an opportunity to consider: 
* the place of history and geography in school curriculum design 
* ways to promote, reinvigorate and enhance history and geography 
* the impact of the English Baccalaureate on history and geography

Saturday, 19 February 2011

Compass and Maps on iPhone

Just writing a blog post for the Geography Collective blog on the apps that young explorers would find useful...

Came across an interesting feature of the compass on the iPhone 3GS (and 4) which I suppose I was aware of happening, but not made the connection before...
Here's a short movie to explain...



Watch out for the post coming later today, and if you have any ideas for essential apps for "young explorers" please add a comment below...

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Notes and Queries

While at the Oxford Geography Teachers' conference yesterday, I picked up some copies of the latest issue of 'Notes and Queries': the occasional newsletter of the GA's Independent Schools Special Interest Group.
It features a range of interesting articles.
I liked Fred Martin talking about progression in the use of GIS, Simon Ross on the value of overseas fieldtrips, Andrew Lee on teaching "compelling geography" and Paul Baker on literacy in geography using the works of Robert Louis Stevenson.

Well done to Paul Baker and Andrew Lee for producing this excellent newsletter.

There will probably be some copies around at the GA Conference at the University of Surrey in April. I'm sure readers of this blog will be coming along to that....

It was also great to hear Andrew Goudie's entertaining romp through 40 years of studies into Arid landscapes... Plenty to think about and do a bit more research into. Particularly impressed by the high quality imagery of dunes from Google Earth.... A real privilege to hear Andrew talk about his lifetime of research and travels...

Thanks to Garret Nagle for hosting the event once again....

Shackleton on Google...

While teaching in Norfolk, colleagues and I started a Shackleton society, and enrolled a colleague in the James Caird society.
It was good to see 'the boss' as a Google doodle yesterday (although I was too busy to blog at the time....) on the anniversary of his birth....

Cueprompter

Following some tip offs from Joe Dale earlier led me to CuePrompter
This is a web based tele-prompter.
If you're doing a talk, you can paste text into the window and choose from a range of options for display and speed.
This will then scroll the text up, so that you can use the notes when speaking.
It works within the browser and works very well...

Thought for the Day

"Whosoever desires constant success must change his conduct with the times."
Niccolo Machiavelli

Red Nose Day ? - there's an app for that...

I hope you're planning to teach about the issues surrounding Red Nose Day on March the 18th this year.
You might be interested to hear that there's a new Red Nose Day iPhone app....

Monday, 14 February 2011

Masters in Space Residential Weekend

You have a chance to book a place on a weekend with a difference... thanks to the Geography Collective.

Are you playful and creative, with a conceptual interest in space?

Develop new perspectives on the philosophy, production, exploration and representation of space by attending our Master In Space course and gaining a Master In Space qualification.

The Master in Space course is carefully (un)planned around a series of semi-structured units. All units are ‘unknown’ before the course begins, but are likely to include free, thinking, restricted, open, public, child-like, bound, exciting, eventful and other forms of space. While no specific skills are needed you can expect to immerse yourself ‘in space’ by working with paint, ink, typewriters, string, projection, sound and many other tools, mediums and approaches. You must successfully complete three units to become aMaster in Space.

Take this course to:
·               immerse yourself in space and spatial thinking
·               be awarded a unique qualification
·               earn the right to wear (MiS) after your name
·               meet like-minded people from different fields and backgrounds
·               be playful, creative and explorative.

The course takes place over a Master in Residence all-inclusive residential weekend, from 6pm on Friday 18 November to midday on Sunday 20 November 2011.

The course costs £150 and includes:
·               2 nights in shared accommodation
·               Fabulous meals
·               Beer, wine and soft drinks
·               All equipment and resources
·               Official certificate of award
·               Master in Residence Membership for one year.

Where is this course taking place?
Join us, at YHA Medway, a traditional Kentish Oast House in a country park setting, close to historic Rochester, Chatham Dockyard and the Kent Downs. Chatham railway station is two miles away. Trains from London take 40 minutes from St Pancras and one hour from Victoria.

...
Terms & Conditions
The course fee is non-refundable.
You must be aged 18 or more to take part.
We reserve the right to change or cancel this course. If the course is cancelled we will provide a full refund.
All participants will be asked to sign a damage waiver on arrival




Tickets are available from EVENTBRITE.


Detroit - the latest post...

Regular readers will know of my interest in the regeneration of Detroit, and the changing fortunes of this town built on steel and automobiles...

Detroit came back into the nation's consciousness again during the Superbowl last weekend.
An ad for Chrysler, made with Eminem, with the tagline 'Imported from Detroit' has attracted a lot of interesting debate on various blogs, and millions of YouTube viewings...
Watch the ad below:

Environment Agency YouTube channel

YouTube has a wealth of material for use in the classroom (although this will often need to be captured using a website such as Zamzar)
The Environment Agency TV channel has just added a new video on flooding in a catchment in Northumberland. We often visit Belford when we're in the area...

South Downs National Park

We have been working on some resources in association with the South Downs National Park authority, the newest of the National Parks. There was a big map of the park up in the office the last time I went in.
Part of the extension of these materials, which we are developing for the ESRI GIS courses, will make use of the LEARNING ZONE where there is a page of data downloads.
These files include a range of data about habitats, ecosystems and various landscape types.

There is an ESRI shapefile available for free download from the NATURAL ENGLAND website (click data downloads) which has outlines of all the national parks as a useful starting point too...

I shall be travelling through the South Downs later this week on the way to Brighton for a conference where I'm speaking about Curriculum  making... Which reminds me that I need to finish off the delegate resources and send those through....

I am #OneOfOneThousandGeographers - are you ?

If you're a geographer, and are reading this, and also use Twitter, you need to send a tweet with the hashtag here: #OneOfOneThousandGeographers.
This will then be picked up by Dan from the Geography Collective, and we'll add you to the list... We're well over 100 now, and next stop, 1000 !

Happy Valentine's Day

Image by Alan Parkinson
As it's Valentine's Day today, I hope you're teaching the KS3 Toolkit unit: "A Thorny Issue" which explores the question of whether roses from Kenya should be purchased in the wider context of the global flower trade...
It can be bought from the GA Online shop if you haven't already got a copy...

There have also been some stories in the news today about this issue, and the particular problems around Lake Naivasha in Kenya. This one from THE GUARDIAN is particularly useful.

Does buying Fairtrade make a difference here ?

Oxford Geography Teachers' Conference 2011

Over early to St. Edward's School, Oxford tomorrow with a boot full of books and other materials for the third successive Oxford Geography Teachers' Conference that I will have attended...

Will be running the GA stand at the event, and also tweeting some highlights from some of the sessions. Also a chance to meet up with several friends and colleagues, and do a bit of research for my major writing project coming up shortly...

Here's the running order and rough timings for you so that you can check in at the appropriate time...

Challenging Geography in a Changing World

ANNUAL OXFORD GEOGRAPHY TEACHER’S CONFERENCE
(Organised by the Oxford Branch of the Geographical Association and supported by the GA Independent Schools Special Interest Group)

AT ST EDWARD’S SCHOOL, OXFORD ON TUESDAY 15TH FEBRUARY 2011

10.00  Coffee on arrival

10.25 Introduction by Dr Garrett Nagle   President of the Oxford GA Branch

10.30 to 12.45 Challenging Geography in a Changing World
A series of 3 topical Lectures
Andrew Goudie, (Oxford University)   ‘Arid Landscapes’
Alasdair Pinkerton, (Royal Holloway) "Superpower geopolitics of the Cold War"      
David Thomas- Oxford University – ‘Climate Change’

12.45  to1.50
We will be having a selection of events going on over this time
There will be two 30 minute seminars in the Old Library on Changing Fieldwork. 
1.      12.45 to 1.15 John Widdowson – on Urban Regeneration and the Olympic site- fieldwork opportunities
2.      1.20 to 1.50 Dave Holmes and Nick Lapthorne – Challenging Fieldwork in a Changing World.
      3.      Also Peter Price, Rob Morris and Garrett Nagle will be available in the publishers area to answer questions on IB, Pre U and IGCSE .

Also during the hour there will be a Publishers Exhibition with a glass of wine and a chance to talk to Publishers and browse all the latest publications.

1.45 Lunch with Dr Tony Lemon as our special guest as we mark his retirement from Oxford University Geography Dept and the great support he has always given to our Conference

3pm- 4pm   ‘Lecture    Tony Lemon
 'Geography, Politics and Change in Southern Africa'
(Tony will draw out some lessons and reflections from the region to illustrate wider geographical themes - governing plural societies, democratic consolidation in postcolonial states, small / landlocked states, regional integration, Global North-South relations.) 

Looks like a great line-up as always...

Sunday, 13 February 2011

Climate Week - starting 21st March

Climate Week starts in just over a week's time.

A number of partners and supporters, including Michael Palin are involved.
Why not visit the website and see what you can do to support the idea of combating Climate Change...

iPlayer app

Hurray for the new iPlayer app for the iPad...
This allows you to watch a rather excellent selection of current programmes: notably the wonderful 'Human Planet' and Bruce Parry's 'Arctic'.


This is a free app, which I have now installed on my device, and am really impressed with the quality of the experience. I have used it to catch and up repeat the Human Planet experience.
Using some of this in a session in Brighton next week too...

Got the excellent Human Planet book earlier this week, and the DVD is on order...

If you have an iPad, this is a great way of playing TV catch-up...

Snowdrops


Image by Alan Parkinson

A good Sunday morning stroll at Lexham Hall, a mile or so across the fields from home... There's a snowdrop walk each spring, to raise money for charity through the National Gardens Scheme. Wandered through woodlands, across farmland, past a Saxon church where we saw graves of WW1 airmen and others... then back through gardens. Came home with a big fat cream filled Victoria sponge baked by a local lady... Nice start to a Sunday...

Saturday, 12 February 2011

Thanks for visiting...

Visitor numbers to the blog have been steadily rising over the last few months, and we are now hovering around 200 visitors a day, which is great news ! Please feel free to comment on any blog post that you find useful - it would be nice to have some comments that weren't spam ;)

Bitesize App

BBC Bitesize has been around for quite a few years now..
It started out as a  TV and latterly web based resource, but there have been other formats: quizzes and games on the expanded website, programmes on BBC which included a range of case study material (they were always a stand by at revision time...), also Sky Interactive. There were books and exercises, and now there is the Bitesize iPhone app, which allows you to revise on your phone !!
Plenty of questions on a range of topics...

OFSTED Subject Specific Report 2011: ICT

In my CPD events, I always use a slide from John Lasseter, which says that it's not the technology it's what you do with it that counts... Disney Pixar are the masters of using technology to create movies, but what matters is the story..

The OFSTED report had this to say about Primary ICT use:

They (teachers) often used ICT to entertain and engage pupils and missed opportunities to develop real geographical learning.
ICT was generally under-used by pupils to improve their learning in geography. Its most frequent use was to research information. When this was done well, pupils were directed to specific websites and clearly understood the need to select, synthesise and organise information. When pupils were given parameters which were too broad and did not clearly specify expected outcomes, work was often substandard or was just directly downloaded from internet sites.


For more appropriate use of ICT in Primary, you need to visit our Primary Geography Champions NING


More OFSTED feedback to come next week...

OS Open Data - ESRI GIS extra

Thanks once again to the colleagues who joined me and my colleague John for the GIS event on Thursday of this week.
A reminder of the OS Open Data release.
My DVDs arrived on Wednesday, just in time for the event. They took around 5 days to arrive and were nicely packaged and (importantly) free of charge...

One of the useful resources that I have in reserve for the 2nd day of the course (which is in May) is a resource from the Grammar School at Leeds, which was produced for a day at the RGS-IBG.
There is a very useful summary of the value of GIS in a document called "Spatial Thinking: Catching the Wave", written by Mark Smith and Steve Dunn from the school.
It includes some very useful advice from a former student at the Grammar School, who is now studying Geography at university...

"GIS helped me to explore and understand the geographical concepts I was studying at school as it brought geographical theories and statistics to life. The use of GIS meant that instead of merely talking about disease mapping and the spread of diseases we could actually watch how a particular disease had spread and numbers increased..." - she also talks about the benefits that having used GIS gave her when she started her undergraduate studies...

A great reminder that if we use GIS in schools, students will be prepared for future opportunities....

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

Fieldwork Survey

If you have a few minutes that you could spare to fill in the GA's Learning Outside the Classroom Special Interest Group survey on fieldwork that would be appreciated.

Human Planet

Just ordered my DVD copy of this amazing series, which should perhaps be an essential part of every geography department's multimedia library... It should perhaps sit alongside Planet Earth, Coast, and various other DVDs which I bought...

There are so many clips and aspects of this series that should find their way into the curriculum in lower school, as well as supporting many GCSE contexts.
There are 8 episodes in the series.

There are chances to watch some of the previous episodes that haven't yet been broadcast on the iPlayer page

Check out the BBC HUMAN PLANET EXPLORER for more details.
Some fabulous images and other media on the HUMAN PLANET BLOG.

Check out the SURVIVAL SKILLS resource too... splendid..

Following on from last week's FORESTS episode, there's an excellent GUARDIAN INTERACTIVE on the world's endangered forests.

Finally, don't forget that you can get embeddable videos from each programme too, such as this one of the CEMETERY dwellers of MANILA

Monday, 7 February 2011

Where will your Valentine's flowers be from ?

Image by Alan Parkinson
As it's coming up to Valentine's Day (don't forget !) this might be time to be teaching the KS3 Toolkit unit: "A Thorny Issue" which explores the question of whether roses from Kenya should be purchased in the wider context of the global flower trade...
It can be bought from the GA Online shop if you haven't already got a copy...

Friday, 4 February 2011

Moving Pictures

Thanks to So-Shan Au for leading me to a great set of Flickr images made from Lego by Flickr user Brixe63 - part of a larger Flickr group of album covers done in Lego...

Particularly taken by the Rush front covers, and the best one is "Moving Pictures"

Going to be seeing the Rush Time Machine tour in Sheffield in May - it's going to be awesome...

Thanks to Brixe63 for permission to reproduce the image above, which is cool...

Tessa Willy on Radio 5 Live

Listen!
If you want to hear the rest of Tessa's contribution, including a geography quiz, listen from around 158 minutes in...

Countryfile

My latest issue of the Countryfile magazine arrived today.
A good article by Mike Parker is featured in the magazine.

He is the author of Map Addict, a book about his obsession with Ordnance Survey maps, for which he wrote an item for GA mgazine last year.

Mike's new book comes out in April, the day after he does the public lecture at the GA's conference at the University of Surrey.
You can come along for the lecture, and stay for the conference :)

Looking forward to the lecture. Mike and I were both scheduled to speak at an event earlier in the year the British Library which was unfortunately postponed.

Look forward to reading the book too....

Salzburg and digital-earth.eu - Day 4

Sunday January 23rd
Final few hours in Salzburg
With a lunch-time flight there was now time to have a lunch time wander having checked out of the hotel and had breakfast, and said goodbye to Luc and Harry, who were the last of the team still to leave.
Another beautiful crisp sunny day, with fresh mountain air.
I walked into the centre, cutting across to the river from the hotel, and came across the first of many churches with their bells ringing for Sunday morning. There was an amazing sunny and crisp feel to the city.
Wandered into the centre, and borrowed some of McDonalds' wifi to upload photos and catch up with various networks.
People were heading for church, or wandering the alleys...
Remember to check out my FLICKR SET for over a hundred images taken of the city.
Passed the house of Paracelsus, a name familiar to me from Robertson Davies books. Back to Hotel Bristol, and took a taxi to the flughavn
There was free wifi in the airport terminal: something which would be good to copy perhaps in some other airports.A spot of duty-free shopping, before boarding.
The plane was not very full, probably around 40 passengers in total. Settled in with my music, Sennheisers and a cold beer.

Had the Alps on the left hand side as we took off, with an amazing panorama of peaks - those five minutes alone made the trip worthwhile. Check the Flickr set for some of those pictures. Here's a sample... this was a real geography wow moment...

And 2 hours later, I was driving through the damp countryside of Norfolk heading home...
An excellent learning experience...

Salzburg and digital-earth.eu - Day 3

Saturday January 22nd
Working groups had been organised the previous day, so after breakfast it was back to Z-GIS to spend a few hours discussing with Harry (and with notes from Alfons) the way that we would reach our targets on time. For the first year of the project, our curriculum group would be focussing on a leaflet for publicity purposes, and also a series of contributions to the July conference in Salzburg (of which more in an earlier post, along with the links to my photos from the trip)

After the meeting had finished a little later than planned, with our planning fairly well organized, it was over to a pizza restaurant on the university campus.

We heard about the recent heavy snowfalls that had covered the area but had been melted away by the fohn wind... Having taught about the fohn many times, it was now time to be in a place where the wind actually blew...
We drank Trumer Pils, which was brewed in the village where Michaela lives, a short drive from the city, and at the base of one of the many mountains that surrounded the city. We were only a few kilometers from Germany. Apparently they did brewery tours, perhaps a possible excursion from the conference in July

Excellent pizza and salad, and out to the hotel to change. Farewell to some of the project team, and then a bus into the centre. Made a rendezvous for later, then did a lung busting walk up the steps to the church opposite the citadel. In snow covered woodlands, with a great view down the river, and across to the old town. Past the Mirabell gardens earlier, scenes from 'The Sound of Music'.

Mozart week was on, and Harry was doing some investigation of the prices, we had a mind to go if the tickets weren't too bad - turned out the cheap seats were around 80 euros so we decided to catch the Guggemusik instead !
Great costumes and vibe once again.

In the centre it was time to meet up in Eugenspiegel with the remaining 6 who had still stayed in the city.
Karl was en route to Vienna. Markus had driven back to Ljubljana and was back home for tea. Giovanni had taken the Brenner Pass back to Genoa.

The downstairs bar had a great atmosphere again, and smoking was possible. Upstairs to the restaurant rooms, which were excellent. The room was really memorable, with old paintings and wall murals. Had some of the old Kartoffelrauhmsuppe - earth apple....

Talked about malt whisky, and the 2020 event at Bowmore, where the 21 year old malt had been there for free refreshments for delegates. Back at the hotel, went to the hotel bar with Harry, and we asked about the whiskies that they had, and out came a single cask bottle of Bowmore, which was a bit of a surprise...
A nice way to round off the trip...

Salzburg and digital-earth.eu - Day 2

Friday January 21st


Snow was falling lightly through the night, and had left a covering on cars, but the pavements were clear - there'd was no shortage of Salz in Salzburg !

After breakfast, we walked the ten minutes from Itzlinger Hof to the university Techno campus, which featured those departments which involved technology. In one of the blocks, we crossed the artificial river, and took the lift to the third floor, where we found Z-GIS



Pictures by Michaela Lindner Fally
This was a facility established by Joseph Strobel, who was not present at the meeting as he was in India.
Fortunately the language for the project was English - my language skills were put to shame, although I picked up a few phrases and only had to shake my head in incomprehension a few times.

There were some remarkable people on the project, and then there was me. There were more PhDs than you can shake a stick at. The evaluator was Harry Rogge, who had been involved in education for many years, and was currently involved in a project to build a brand new school. We used the Google Earth app on the iPad to find the location of the school during our meeting.

There was lengthy discussion on the background to the project, the financing and the deliverables: all required because of the EU funding that was making the networking possible.

Each person introduced themselves with a few slides, and there was a wide range of experience and talent amongst the project team - a real eye opener into another world of European connections and traveling...
Some of the team were known to each other, but there were a few of us, such as Ali from Turkey who were fairly new.

Over to the university canteen for lunch - a vey nice fish fillet with vegetables and crusty roll, plus drinks,

Lots of drinks and fruit and chocolates and biscuits brought from various project members were on the side to keep us. The project had gained funding thanks to Karl's extensive work in EU projects such as HERODOT over many years, and his lobbying of MEPs through EUROGEO, the European association for Geography.

There were a few things that we focussed on in particular. The main one was planning an event in Salzburg in July which would be the first of three such events over the next three years.
This would involve us organizing workshops and engaging visiting speakers. John Lyon from the Geographical Association would be taking my place for the July event

Groups were arranged. There was some overlap of the themes, but my area of curriculum was the one that I decided to focus on.

After the meeting ended at around 6pm, we had time to walk back to the hotel for a quick-change, and then had to walk along the river - fortunately my down jacket from Iceland was getting another airing as the temperature for most of the time in the city was below freezing.

We came across a huge group of musicians who were gathered in Salzburg for something we discovered later was an event called Guggemusik (which my iPad kept insisting on autocorrecting to Guggenheim) There were bands from all the Alpine regions, including some from Lithuania as well as an Austrian group.
They gathered somewhere once a year - the previous year had been in Prague.

They were fuelled by energy and alcohol and we encountered them for the rest of the weekend. There were some wonderful costumes, with painted faces and instruments. I met up with Michaela and we wandered through the musicians, listening to the competing bands. These photos were taken by Michaela too.
Don't forget to visit my FLICKR SET to see all of my pictures...





Pictures by Michaela Lindner Fally

Peterskeller, our restaurant for the night, was in the corner of a square in the old town - I discovered later that I had missed out on seeing some catacombs in the area. The restaurant had apparently been in existence for over 1000 years. One surreal moment was a trip up to a splendid dining room on the upper floor, which was full of some of the 400 odd musicians who were booked in there that evening. The staff were getting in on the act with face paint
There was a wonderful atmosphere to the whole city, and to the restaurant too. On the way to the restaurant, I was starting to get the hang of the little alleyways which cut through the blocks of buildings which led to the base of the crags where the restaurant was completed.

The lift to the castle at the top was closed because of refurbishments - the original plan had been to eat in the restaurant in the castle above the old town...

There was excellent service from the man who was in charge of the room: the starter was kohl rabi soup - not something i will probably have again. Some very decent wine was drunk, and then it was back to the hotel. Ran for the late bus, after wandering the old town in the falling snow.
An earlyish night as there was another long day ahead the following day...

Salzburg and digital-earth.eu - Day 1

OK - this has been somewhat delayed as I've been a bit busy since my return...
Here's the details of the digitalearth trip to Salzburg at the end of January 2010


Thursday 20th January
Stansted airport was the starting point for a 4 day project meeting to establish 4 groups who would be working on a project for the next 3 years to develop a network of GI users across Europe and organise a number of conferences, which would hopefully attract around 1000 delegates.
The importance of GI and Geomedia is growing, and with the recent announcement on the state of the UK economy - apparently there was cold weather during winter - the ability to make the most of sketching technologies is even more important.

Air Berlin was the airport that Karl Donert: the project leader, had suggested, and proved to be an excellent choice. Check-in was done the previous day via website, so I only had to find my car-parking and take the shuttle bus to the terminal, which was not at all busy, so there was time to relax, and do some preparation of the paper that I was due to present. This took shape with the help of John Lyon and Fred Martin who offered their additional perspectives on the place of GI in geography education.
Before long, I was heading towards Salzburg at 35 000 feet and 860 km/hr, as I read through the conference papers and prepared myself for the 2 days of meetings which would be a new experience for me. Sun on cloudscape below, which had cleared only at the last minute, to reveal a snowy landscape.

Arrived early at the airport, and out to catch the bus into the city in the dark - we had our directions, but there was some confusion on my part as to where the Haut Bahnhof was. Crossed the river, and got off the bus to take a few photos of the Salzach river, flowing cold and dark through the city.

Snow was sifting down as I wandered back to the hotel, and checked into my hotel for the next 3 nights, and had a room up at the top of the hotel, beneath the pitched roof. My room had a view facing away from the peaks and once I'd 'freshened up' I wandered down to the welcome meal, and met the other project team, with introductions by Karl.

I had met Luc Zwartjes from Belgium at last year's GTE, but chatted with some of the other project team, and with Karl, and had a beer or two, and then a nice sea bass and various other courses.
Had a good chat with Ali too from Istanbul. There was a real pan-European flavour to the project team, and I was looking forward to the next few days...