Is your pin on the Pizza Map ?

Help Mark Turgeon with his research...

Black pepper on mine please...

Image: Alan Parkinson

East Coast Floods 1953: Met Office Infographic

Met Office guide to 1953 east coast flood

Flooding.... then and now...

Today marks the 60th anniversary of the East Coast Floods of 1953.

I lived in Snettisham on the Norfolk coast for 12 years, and on the evening of the 31st of January 1953, a storm surge hit the coast of Norfolk, having previously caused devastation in Lincolnshire, and moved around down into the Thames Estuary.
The wall of water was the result of a combination of a high tide, low pressure associated with a storm and winds which pushed the storm onto the coastline. There were many more temporary and wooden dwellings along the coast than there are now (many of these now have restrictions to prevent people living in them during the winter months)

On the 50th of anniversary, I went to an event in Snettisham Village Hall, where I met and chatted to a few people who were living in the village at the time, and shared their memories.

A total of 25 people died in Snettisham during the floods. Water inundated the areas inland from the beach: an area I have walked and cycled many times.

Further along the coast in Hunstanton, there was help from a number of the American servicemen who were posted in the area at nearby RAF Sculthorpe (ten minutes from where I live now) at the time. Several earned medals for their bravery, and some local people won them posthumously.

The Eastern Daily Press had a range of materials in its pages this week.

This included some useful reporting on the local area.
It was sometime before the final death toll for Norfolk and Suffolk was known. In the early stages, no-one really knew who was missing, who had died and who had escaped. In some cases it was months before all the bodies were recovered.
In Norfolk, exactly 100 people died – Hunstanton (32 – including 17 Americans), Snettisham (25), King’s Lynn (15), Yarmouth (9), Heacham (9), Sea Palling (7), Salthouse (1), Wiveton (1) and Watlington (1).
In addition five died at Southwold and 11 were lost from the Lowestoft trawler Guava.
Later one person died from exposure at Lowestoft and a Wroxham man was killed in a bulldozer accident on flood relief work.
Along the Norfolk coastline, more than 5,000 homes were either destroyed or damaged.

I have put together a lesson activity that can be viewed on my VITAL GEOGRAPHY PORTAL.

This has links through to many resources. Here are a few of the links:

- A STORIFY by the Environment Agency on the flooding.
- Follow @EnvAgencyAnglia for tweets 'as it happened' through today and tomorrow
- A great PINTEREST board of images by the Environment Agency
- A FLICKR set of images
- A guest BLOG POST on the Met Office website.

Thanks to Johann Tasker for linking through to a special issue of The Farmers Weekly which was published the week after (16 Mb PDF)

Are we better able to cope now - how resilient are we to flooding ? Today's Telegraph has an interesting article.
Finally, well done to Cromer Museum (I'm a member...) for creating this short video:

English Electric Pt. 2

One of my albums of 2012 was Pt. 1 of English Electric by Big Big Train....
Just pre-ordered Pt. 2....

Check them out on Bandcamp or Spotify...

GeoTunes on Spotify

Thanks to Anne Fousse for the tipoff to GeoTunes

This is a feature which you can add to your SPOTIFY account.
I subscribe to Spotify and use it for hours every day. I'm listening to it as I write this post - well, I was, but my daughter just nicked the stream to provide a backing track for her guitar practice.

GeoTunes provides a range of selected tunes and playlists around themes, which are mapped in their locations.
There are some geographical themes in there...
  • Cities
  • Natural Disasters
  • Urban Decay
  • Suburbia
At the moment, it's only been created with the USA in mind, but how about creating a playlist of tunes for your own local area...

RGS-IBG Young Geographer of the Year Award

Each year, the RGS-IBG run a competition in association with Geographical Magazine.
It's called the Young Geographer of the Year Award.

The details have just been announced of this year's competition.

The competition began in 2000 and has become a regular feature in many schools' calendars.
The question for Young Geographer of the Year 2013, run jointly with Geographical, is:

How does either the human or physical geography of your local area compare to the rest of the UK? 

Pupils should use different sources of geographical information and data to research their local area and compare it to the national picture in the UK. This might include using census or climate data, and examining urban change or flood risk. However, the choice is open to you to explore relevant data to your local area.
The competition has categories for Key Stage 2 (KS2), KS3, GCSE and A Level students. 

The Society encourages schools to run their own in-school competition before sending their top entries into the national competition.
We particularly welcome entries which:
  • Can demonstrate a good use of different and relevant data
  • Focus on and explain a small number of geographical features and information about them. We do not need to know everything about your local area and would prefer you to select some key data
  • May also involve first-hand observation in the local area
Entries for the Young Geographer of the Year competition must be received by 5.00pm on the 11 October 2013.

Rex Walford Award 2013 – for student teachers or teaching colleagues new to the classroom

The same question will also form the basis of the accompanying Rex Walford Award, which is for teachers in either their student training year (for example: PGCE, Schools Direct) or who have just started in the classroom (for example: NTQ, Teach First). Entries should include lesson notes or a scheme of work to cover two or three lessons exploring this issue and we particularly welcome entries which include opportunities for data handling and fieldwork. 
Entries for the Rex Walford Award must be received by 5.00pm on the 11 October 2013.

Go to the RGS-IBG website for further information and entry forms...

Another award nomination...

Over the years, books and resources that I have worked on have been nominated for, and also won, a range of awards. A few months ago, the Historiana project which I worked on in a small way won a MEDEA award.
The latest resource to catch the eye of the judges is the Digital Explorer Resources site.

Although I'm certainly not claiming more than a tiny amount of credit for this nomination, it's good to see the resources I wrote on the Frozen Oceans, Sustainable Fishing and Catlin Seaview Survey are up there for a BETT Award for Secondary Digital content.
Good luck to Jamie and the team.

Also interesting to see that Twig World (who I wrote Geography materials for) are nominated for the Digital Collections and Resource Bank award.


Here is the video of my walk along the river through Norwich...
Part of the Urban100 series....

Paint a Fish - an update...

Paint a Fish is a project which aims to raise the awareness of the threats to some of the ocean's fish stocks, particularly where they are being fished in an unsustainable way.
This is once again in the news today, with the stories about mackerel, which has now been taken off the list of fish which it is OK to eat, and is now rated as 'eat only occasionally', as recent popularity and greater catches has cast doubt on the availability of stocks.
There has been quite a lot of coverage about this, and this is an interesting article by food writer Jay Rayner.

Paint a Fish invites people to create a fish and then add it to a virtual gallery. These will create a virtual fish stock, to make a point about the decline in the actual fish stocks. There is also an option to send them to your MEP.
There are hundreds of fish that have already been made, and uploaded to a virtual gallery, and there is also a daily aquarium

There is also a rather splendid set of resources to go along with the project for KS3/4 Geographers.
This follows up from a report that was published by nef on sustainable fishing.
The resources were created and added to the Digital Explorer website.

I have produced a summary of the project on my VITAL Geography Portal, which is now FREE TO ACCESS.
Why not work with a class to make your own fishy 'school' of fish...

Here's a video on the theme of OVERFISHING which you could also use as part of this work.

And finally, here's how to use a FiSH for student feedback. I love this idea and will be referring to it in a few sessions coming up...
It's from Rachael Stevens and was shared on the PEDAGOO blog. Sign up to PEDAGOO and check it out if you haven't already.

GTE Conference

Here is an edited version of my presentation from Friday night's session that I led at the Geography Teacher Educators' Conference in Hull.

It outlines some of the things that I did since leaving the GA, during 2012, and identified some of the trends that I've noticed while working with over 1000 teachers during that year.
As always, there was plenty to learn from attending (which was why I went). I enjoyed two sessions on the curriculum from David Mitchell and Alex Standish, and Nicola Walshe talked about an idea which I shall definitely rip off... er, I mean, make use of...

The overnight snow scuppered the plans of colleagues from the Peak District and the North Yorkshire Moors to attend, but by Sunday morning the overnight rain had washed it all away again...
Next year's event is already pencilled in the diary. Well done to Justin Woolliscroft for organising a splendid event...

12 for 2012 for GTE Conference from

Images: Alan Parkinson

Geography Teacher Educators' Conference 2013

The conference is held once a year, usually at the end of January. This year's event is being organised by Justin Woolliscroft, PGCE tutor at Hull University, where I did my PGCE in 1987.
I've attended for the last 6 years or so, and it is always an excellent event with good speakers and plenty on research which is connected with geography education. There are some really exciting sessions, and it''s a privilege to meet up with colleagues once again and hear about their work....

This year I've been given a slot on the Friday night to talk through some of the work that I have been doing since leaving the GA, and I'm excited and a bit nervous that what I'm going to say will be useful...
I'll be tweeting with the hashtag #gte13
As I'm currently doing the tweeting for the GA, until Anne Greaves' replacement starts his job, I will also be doing some GA tweets from the event.
My presentation will be online after the event on my Slideshare account....

Competition: A chance to Shape the Future

An exciting competition which has been developed by a number of organisations, including the Geographical Association, in association with DFID has been set up, and details were released earlier today.
You can find out all the details at the GLOBAL DIMENSION website, which also has a link to a useful 4 page PDF document which provides all the necessary information.

The theme of the competition is connected to the UN's MILLENNIUM DEVELOPMENT GOALS.

Here is a description of the background to the competition:

Since their creation in September 2000, the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) have encouraged the many countries committed to them to work towards meeting the needs of the world’s poorest people. The target date for the MDGs is 2015 so beyond that, a new set of goals will be needed. The MDGs were debated and agreed in the late 1990s when the world looked quite different, so a new global strategy for development in 2015 will have to build on their successes and confront different challenges with new solutions.
The Prime Minister, David Cameron, is Co-Chair of the United Nations High Level Panel that has been tasked with making recommendations on these new development goals. He believes that we need a new, transformative agenda for development to really tackle the root causes of poverty, not just the symptoms, and would like to hear what young people in the UK think needs to be included. To enable this, the Department for International Development (DFID) is running a competition, the Shape the Future Challenge,that will invite schools to discuss, formulate and submit their own proposals for post-2015 development goals in the form of a presentation.

Education is the key to success © Alan KinderWhy your school should enter 'Shape the Future'

Shape the Future gives students in all UK secondary schools a ‘voice’ to share their own views on the most effective way of ensuring development for all. The competition will enable them to develop their understanding of development and the MDGs and to express their vision for the future of the world, at the same time as developing their presentation and analytical skills. Winning schools will be invited to work with development experts to formulate their initial ideas and will then present their proposals to an Expert Panel that will include Ministers, MPs, representatives from DFID and other experts.
There is a deadline of March 28th for the first stage of the competition, so download the information about the competition promptly if you'd like your school to take part.

GeoLibrary now open for 3 weeks...

A reminder that on the 1st of January I started a new 365 project for 2013.
This is called the GEOLIBRARY.

I am planning to put up a blog post each day this year about a book that is on my shelves which I think that geography teachers in particular (although of course they can also be read by anyone else!!) would find useful in some way...

Just over 3 weeks in and we have already put an eclectic mix of books on the shelves of the GeoLibrary, but there is still room for plenty more.

We have fiction and non-fiction, travel books, books on various countries and themes and some cultural history too.
Check out what's already been placed on the shelves of the GeoLibrary

I will be writing a 'librarian's report' at the end of each month and am happy to receive suggestions for other books, or reviews of existing books added as comments (for example) 
We never close....

Sim City Edu

A new version of the classic Sim City game is being released soon.
This has great potential to encourage students to explore urban themes, and encourage students to explore issues such as infrastructure, energy, land use models, sustainability and environmental issues. Some teachers have used previous versions of the game in this way, and there is also a version for iPad which works very well.

Also there is a chance to sign up for an Education project, which will launch in March too...

Thanks to Jen Deyenberg for the tipoff...

Tour de France - two bites of the cherry

For the last few years there has been a campaign to get the TOUR DE FRANCE to come to Yorkshire.
As regular readers of the blog will know, this is my favourite sporting event, and I tend to spend quite a lot of July watching as much as I can of the coverage.
The campaign has been successful, and two stages of the race in 2014 will take place in Yorkshire. The routes were released a few days ago.

The ROUTE as it comes through Yorkshire is shown on this website.

It will pass along a road that I know well, through Bradfield and down through Hillsborough into Sheffield.
The following day I will get another chance to see the race, as it passes through Cambridge....
Expect some educational materials to be produced prior to the race....

Register and Read

Take advantage of a new feature on the JSTOR ARCHIVE.
This is a huge online store of academic and journal articles.

There is usually a fee for downloading PDF copies of articles. This is something that is the mainstay of a lot of academic research, and universities will enable access to this archive for students, particularly via university libraries. In the old days (when I did my degree) there was a library loan service, where I would wait several days (or weeks) before a photocopy of an old academic paper that I needed for my research appeared in my pigeon hole - now articles can be accessed within seconds.

The REGISTER and READ scheme allows readers to sign up for JSTOR, and they can then read articles online, but cannot download or print them. Over 1200 journals are part of the scheme (less than the total) and there are other restrictions.
I registered (for free) and found quite a few geographical journals were available (over 300 000 in fact), including 'Geography'.
Register and Read provides a 'bookshelf' with 3 slots - each article selected must stay on the shelf for 14 days before it is removed, so choose your articles carefully. 
Nonetheless a good research tool for free...

Shard 360

Thanks to John Lyon via Fred Martin for the tipoff to this excellent 360 PANORAMA created by Will Pearson, who is a professional panorama photographer (another job that wouldn't have existed a few years ago...)

It's taken from the top of the shard (or presumably near the top...) and provides an amazing view of London at dusk.
It's a good ad for the viewing platform which will shortly open in the Shard (which I have blogged about before) - article here about it and the high cost of entry
More here on the VIEW FROM THE SHARD website.
Check the PORTFOLIO on the website for plenty more from around the world too...

I reckon the Shard could do with an experienced geography writer to create some materials to help visitors, particularly school groups. interpret what they are looking at, and how it relates to the development of the city and its hidden geographies (which the view will reveal...)

Icy Planet

Made with Tiny Planets iPhone app....

Thought for the Day

[Geography is]... "merely the study of shapes..."
Thring of Uppingham, 1860

African Cup of Nations

I included a unit on Africa in my scheme of work for Year 7. This followed a survey of student voice, and also the publication of the GA KS3 Toolkit book 'Into Africa'.
I also had a colleague who spent time in Africa, who wrote some materials for the unit around her experiences.
By teaching the unit at the start of the Spring term, we could also tie it in with an event which started today: the African Cup of Nations.

See an ancient Slideshare of mine for one way that we used the tournament.
The group tables for the tournament are here...

Snow Disruption

A useful BBC programme which was shown during the week, covering the impacts of the snow disruption is available on iPlayer for a while....

How deep is your snow ?

Quite a few UK readers (and I dare say a lot from outside the UK) will have a bit of snow lying around. As I typed this, Rain Today was showing that light snow was falling over a lot of the county.

The Reigate Grammar School weather site has a very handy guide to measuring how deep the snow has fallen in your area.

Thanks to @SirGeogy for the tipoff to this very useful guide. What a useful (and simple) 'homework' task to set students perhaps after fresh snow, and compare with the depths which are quoted in the forecast (or tabloid hype....) - a good snow day task to add to a VLE perhaps...

The method can be seen here. Try it out and let me know how you get on.

The snow can also be helpful.
Norfolk Police explained earlier today how they used the snow to catch someone who was allegedly involved in  crime - they followed their footprints....

Footprints in the Snow

Out for a walk in the crisp new snow yesterday morning.
On the local common there were plenty of tracks of various animals - I think I saw deer, rabbit, ponies (some graze on the common), and plenty of birds. There were probably others of course that I didn't recognise.

Later that day, this blogpost appeared in my Twitter feed which had some really nice comments from the author Richard Mabey.

I like the descriptions of how the snow 'redraws the landscape' and reveals the hidden movements of the night before...

There was certainly plenty going on before I made my way through, camera in hand, looking for something to fill the lens.

Image: Sally Parkinson

Out of this world...

One of the Twitter accounts that I've been following for a month or so now is that of Commander Chris Hadfield. He sends regular updates about his scientific work, and views from his office window...
The twist is that he is currently working on the International Space Station (ISS) and he is tweeting from space.
When he gets a moment, he takes some amazing aerial pictures of the places and patterns that he sees on the Earth below.

Check out Chris' TUMBLR for more pictures

Check out Chris' SOUNDCLOUD account for sounds from space....

Iconic Landscapes

A nice VIMEO video, which shows some of the key locations in Europe...

Thought for the Day

From Connie Wyatt Anderson, Chair of Canada Geographic Education..
Follow @CanGeoEdu and @CanGeoMag

What does it do to a sense of national identity when you don’t know where you are on the map and, in terms of human geography, who you are as a people? As a teacher, I’ve seen the difference geography can make in my students. Those who embrace it – who “get it” – develop a “sense of place.” They understand that who they are is determined in part by where they are. Undeniably, geography contributes to a sense of identity on a personal level and collectively as a nation.

Global Geography

An interesting article on the poor global geography knowledge of students from Canada.

Do we do any better in the UK ? 
What part should this sort of 'core' knowledge play in our curriculum ?
How significant will it be in the new specifications and curricula that emerge, hopefully soon, from the DfE ?

"Basic geography allows us to locate where we are in the world. It gives us a sense of time, and space, and scope, and, alas, Canadian students at MUN appear too spaced out to notice that the ocean they are perched on is the Atlantic."


This has now been added to the OSIRIS website.

How can Geography be at the centre of your school ?

That is the title of the inaugural GeoEdChat
This will take place on the 6th of February.
In advance of the chat, which will take place across various time zones, David Rogers has posted a think piece for discussion and  debate, and to get people started on their possible contributions to the discussion.
How are you trying to make sure that geography is at the centre of your school ?

Amazing interactive panoramas

A useful resource for exploring cities, like New York, as well as landscapes and rural areas. There are some awesome landscapes, such as a view of the Matterhorn. They have been created using helicopters.

AIR PANO is a Russian site, and has a range of interactive 360 degree panoramas...

Check them out... 

A Brave nomination...

At the SAGT Conference earlier in the year, I did a session introducing the resources which I had produced for Digimap for Schools.
I used the context of the Pixar film BRAVE.
Now it's been nominated for an OSCAR and has also won a GOLDEN GLOBE.

Check out a version of the resources here.

What did the fish say when it swam into a wall ?

Many major rivers have been dammed in their upland courses.

The British Dam Society has created a series of teaching resources which take young people through the process of siting a dam.

Here's how they are described on the site:
This suite of five, free downloadable geography lessons for 11–14 and 14–16 year-olds explores the planning and construction of a new dam in a simulated location.
A town announces ambitious plans for expansion and development, but a new dam will be required to ensure a safe, secure water supply. Where should the new dam go? How can the water company balance the needs of different interest groups and the environment?
Detailed lesson plans, student materials and presentation slides allow you to use the lessons ‘off the shelf’ with minimal preparation.
As they consider each step, students explore important geographical themes of growth, development, sustainability and the interactions between people and their environment.
Find out more about the lessons, these teaching opportunities, and how the activities link to your curriculum, in the downloadable [Introduction for Teachers (PDF)].
Please note that the PPT files are docx. Compatible versions (2003) are available in the download all zip file below.
Might be useful for KS3 or KS4 Geography lessons

Answer: Damn !!

The Ukok Princess

Thanks to Helen Steer for the tipoff to this story in the Siberian Times, which is not a newspaper I read very often, although maybe I should start.
It describes the homecoming of a mummy, with intricate and beautiful tattoos which have been reconstructed.
Late last year, a book that I wrote was published by Collins called 'The Ice Man'.
Otzi the Ice Man was found buried in Ice high in the Italian alps. He also had a range of tattoos on his body, and the book explains how they were made, amongst other things.
I think he and the Ukok Princess would have got on...

Wombling Free.....

A few days ago I had an extended conversation via Twitter with two colleagues from the GA.
We got round somehow to the Wombles, via single malt whisky, the Pennine Way and peat restoration.
One of the Wombles is called Tobermory, which was the name of a whisky that one of us was drinking.

The Wombles are quite an environmentally sound bunch of... Wombles. They recycle and live in an eco-house of a kind. Their  motto is "Make Good Use of Bad Rubbish." I wonder what they'd make of last week's report on global food waste, which is also covered in a programme on ITV tonight.

They also get their name in a geographical way.

Below a certain (unspecified) age all Wombles are nameless; upon coming of age, a Womble chooses his or her name by looking through Great Uncle Bulgaria's large atlas until they find a name that suits them. Some (Bungo for example) "merely shut their eyes tight and point and hope for the best."

Why not rename the Wombles using that method...

Come up with some new names for characters using the random atlas method....

I ended up being called Parsons.
I used the Atlas by Collins app - close your eyes, spin the globe then zoom in....

Frozen landscape...

Had to cancel a trip to Sheffield today because of the big freeze. The temperature got down to minus 13 last night in my area, and the roads were sheet ice.

Went out for an early morning walk and took some images, and just been processing a few of them.
Quite like this one.

Image: Alan Parkinson

OS Digital Photography Competition

Here's  a picture I took earlier this morning when I headed out to capture the light on the snow covered fields on the edge of my village.
It's the sort of image which you could possibly enter into a competition which has been announced by the Ordnance Survey.

Here are the competition details from the Ordnance Survey blog

We have an exciting competition for our budding amateur photography enthusiasts, which could put your image firmly on the map!

Cameras at the ready, we are looking for your best colour photographs depicting and celebrating the Great British outdoors in all its glory. There are some fantastic prizes up for grabs, including:
  • the winning photographs featured and published as the OS wallpaper of the month
  • a digital photo album to showcase your favourites photos
  • a 12-month subscription to OS getamap
  • an OS Custom Made map including your winning photograph and featured as a stock image for others to use!
General rules of entry
Photographs should be submitted via email to:
The photograph taken should be in landscape view only. (Note that your photo may be cropped if you win to fit a portrait-style custom-made map cover)
Only digital images can be accepted, these must be in jpg format and in colour.
No photographs of people or animals in close-ups, interiors or places outside of Great Britain.
Photographs can be of any time of the year, not just winter.
A panel of judges will decide the 5 winning photographs - the judge's decision is final.
The closing date for the competition is Thursday 28 February 2013. Entries submitted after this date will not be included.

Image: Alan Parkinson

Calling Science teachers interested in Food and Farming

Via FACE: Farming and Countryside Education

Lantra, as the sector skills council for the environmental and land-based sector would like to develop a career fact sheet to show the importance of science in the sector and perhaps inspire those learners who enjoy science to find out more about the environmental and land-based sector, and also to help show how sticking with science can help them with their career aims.
We need to make sure this factsheet is relevant to the school science curriculum so we would like your help in producing this leaflet.
  • We are looking for a couple of volunteers who would be willing to attend a fact finding meeting so that we can gather the information and add it to interesting facts from our industry contacts.
  • Lantra would then produce the leaflet and then circulate out to gather feedback before publishing.
  • We would like to hold the meeting just after February half term, venue to be determined
  • We would be able to pay expenses including cover
This factsheet along with our industry specific factsheets are freely available on our website for download and use as part of careers information you can provide for your learners.
If you would like to be involved in this work please get in touch.

Thought for the Day

"Geography has paved the way not only for the  happiness and comfort of humanity, but for its glory."
Willem Blaeu, 1659

Via Simon Garfield's 'On the Map'

Free Global Citizenship workshops for London Schools

Development in Action
Global Citizenship Workshops
Free for first 10 schools!
Development in Action (DiA) is thrilled to announce the launch of our Global Citizenship Workshops for schools! Best of all, for the first ten schools to sign up we will come and deliver a workshop to your school absolutely free!
DiA  are  a  youth  and  volunteer  led  charity  –  and  our  mission  is  to  engage  young people in global development issues. And for the last 20 years we have done exactly that through our India and UK programmes!
From January 2013, we will deliver interactive workshops to engage AS and A Level students on issues around Global Development and the World Food System. Using interactive educational resources accredited by ‘Teachable: Top Quality Teaching Resources’, our volunteers will engage pupils on what it means to be a global citizen.
For a limited time only, we are offering free workshops to the first 10 schools to sign up: from 30 minute assemblies to half day workshops!
Contact for further details or to sign up today! 
Book us for:
Fair Trade Fortnight (from 25th February)
Climate Change Week (4 – 10 March)
International Women’s Day (8th March)
Geography Awareness Week (24 – 30 June)
Drop-down days
School Assemblies 

How bad are bananas ?

A new app on the Google Play store.
Free of charge.
I have the book on which this is based, and it's very useful.

Use this app to find and compare the carbon footprints of different items, activities, life events and foods. This app is designed for people who want to love their lives and for whom that now entails having some carbon awareness alongside everything else that matters to them.

Have installed it on my Nexus tablet, but it's not working for me at the moment... will try again later..

Beyond the Mountains

This film: Beyond the Mountains, looks good. It explores our connection with, and the relevance of, the natural world.

Dan Ellison

"Geography is beautiful, it is important and it's really awesome"

An excellent presentation on geography, exploration and guerrilla geography from my Geography Collective colleague Dan Raven Ellison, recorded at a National Geographic Live session.

Joe Dale iPad session

Joe Dale is the Vital Portal manager for Modern Foreign Languages.
I manage the VITAL Geography Portal.
As previously mentioned, these portals are now free for registered users (go there and register now), and will be taken over by JISC from April 2013, once the current contract with the OU runs out.

Joe led a very well received session on iPads in the MFL classroom this weekend.
This Classroom 2.0 session has been made available.

It would make useful listening for geographers too, as it covers a range of strategies for making use of an iPad and applications in an educational context.

Debates in Geography Education

Author copies of the Routledge book that I contributed a chapter to arrived earlier this week.
This is an academic book (I have mentioned the contents before) and was edited by David Lambert and Mark Jones.
My chapter is on the theme of how technology is used in the classroom, and impacts on the subject and how it is taught.
I'm really pleased with the way that it has turned out, and am proud to have been involved with such an excellent book.

I read Mary Biddulph's chapter on 'Where is the Curriculum created ?' yesterday and it's a cracker. It could be the basis for a really good discussion with colleagues - something I intend to do at UEA next Monday as it happens.

Thanks also to Alan Kinder for a mention of the Geography Collective's Mission:Explore as "an innovative and even daring range of [ethnographic] approaches... [to fieldwork]"

The book will be 'launched' at the Geography Teacher Educators' conference in Hull in a few weeks time. I shall be there, along with many of the other chapter authors.

A copy of this should be in your department's professional library, and if you don't have one, then start one.

ADE application in...

Just submitted an application for Apple Distinguished Educators group of 2013.... fingers crossed...

Chilly billy.... 1963....

I was born in 1963.... earlier that year my parents got married (it was more than nine months before so that's OK ;) )
When my parents were married, there was still snow on the ground from one of the worst winters ever - the winter of 62/63.
The local news programmes are already starting to look ahead to the end of January when the 50th anniversary of the main cold snap will happen.
Reading some of the accounts of that winter, there are some extremes there. The lowest temperature in East Anglia was recorded at Santon Downham that year, a short drive from where I live, at minus nineteen...
There's a BBC magazine article which explores the legacy of those winters, and whether we have learned anything from them.
Fifty years on, are we worse prepared for an event like that ?
Has our resilience reduced rather than increased ?

Look at the steam train ploughing through the snow in this vintage film montage for example. Could today's trains do that ?

This would make a good enquiry topic as we get into the bad weather which is forecast for the next few days...

Are there local people who might be able to come in and talk about their memories of that winter. It's possible you have a current (or recently retired) member of staff who has memories....

Norwich Cathedral

Visited this morning as I dropped my daughter off at a language session at Norwich School... awesome building...

Image: Alan Parkinson


Is the hashtag for the Australian Geography Teachers' Association Conference 2013, which is being held in Perth this year.
The delegates have enjoyed 4 days of lectures, workshops and field visits in and around the city.

On Monday, they had a keynote from David Lambert, former Chief Executive of the GA, who shared some of the work that the GA had done in developing the idea of Curriculum Making.
The Animoto that I created for the manifesto launch got another airing. There's a link to it below if you haven't seen it...
a different view v.8.0
David also discussed the idea of competencies, which formed part of the new curriculum.
There's apparently going to be a new digital support website for the new curriculum launching in March 2013. There were workshops from teachers and a range of other people. Some of these shared the materials online very promptly.
Rebecca Nicholas ( @Geographynerd on Twitter) shared her presentation, and plenty more, here
She focussed on 11 Top Tools.
Good to see  my Twitter avatar appearing on her top tool slide :)

There were also some useful materials from Contour Education

Temperatures were getting rather high though, and some of the field days were rather hot. I was pleased to see a conference which had a bowls competition. As the winner of several trophies playing for Old Hunstanton Bowls team it's something that I think more conferences should introduce.

It was good to see Simon Catling talking about primary geography too, in a week where a major new book by Stephen Scoffham was published.

The new Australian Geography Curriculum is something I've blogged about before, as I followed the work of ACARA while working at the GA.
Thanks to the conference twitterers particularly Melissa Mulholland for keeping me up to date with what was happening.

On the map

My latest read is Simon Garfield's new book about the development of mapping. It's made a good start, and covers a range of maps, coming right  up to the modern mapping that is being used with increasing prominence...
Plenty of illustrations and readable. Expect some quotes to appear in a GIS / digital mapping CPD session near you soon...

One that will make it into the GeoLibrary later in the year perhaps.

Thought for the Day

"Specialist retailers, whatever their products, have to be wary of their niche becoming a tomb."

Nick Bubb Retail Analyst

Shop on the High Street while you can 

OS MapFinder App

A new app was launched on the iOS store yesterday which a lot of people are going to find useful.

It's produced by the Ordnance Survey, and called OS MapFinder.

The app comes with a basic high level map of the whole country preloaded, as well as a sample map tile around Exeter - so the folks of Exeter get lucky :)
Further tiles can then be downloaded (for either 69p for 1:50 000 or £2.49 for 1:25 000) as an in-app purchase.

Map tiles can be explored, and routes can be added on and plotted. The app will also store routes which have been walked or cycled.
Places can be found using a search by postcode, name or grid reference.

If you want to see more about the app, there's a YouTube video below which shows you a lot more.

Max's Blogging...

I am always pleased to see more teachers sharing what they are doing. At a time when there are more pressures than ever on teachers, it's important that we support each other.
Max Rayner has shared his planning for a unit on personal geographies (and other things...) at the St. Joseph's College blog, which uses WEEBLY.
Any other new teacher blogs I should know about ?

Oxford Geography Teachers' Day

I have attended this event several times in the past, and it has always been a splendid occasion.

This year's event is now available to book and there are some good options for GA members to have reduced price bookings. It's a fairly stellar list of presenters.... and me....
Open to state schools as well as Independent schools.

(Organised by the Oxford Branch of the Geographical Association and supported by the GA Independent Schools Special Interest Group)


10.00 Coffee/Tea/Refreshments on arrival

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

10.20   Opening Lecture
Bob Digby – President of the Geographical Association

‘Geographers and some Contemporary Health Issues’

 11.00 to 1pm
Choose TWO workshops to attend (each workshop will be 55 minutes) with exception of workshop 6 for Prep school and KS3 teachers which will last the whole 2 hours 

Seminar/ Workshop 1
Professor Sarah Harper - Oxford University
Population and Old Age updates – update for teaching GCSE and Post 16 Geography students

      Workshop 2
      Peter Price   Head of Geography from Charterhouse and Ewan Laurie
      Head of Geography, King’s School, Wimbledon
      Teaching the new Post 16 Exams – Practical Workshop linking Fieldwork    
      with the new A Levels, Pre  U and IB Curriculum .

      Workshop 3
      Lead by Dr Gareth Hughes – Head of Geography at Radley College with
      Rob Morris (Geography Teacher at Shrewsbury School)- Practical   
      Fieldwork Ideas for the new International GCSE
      (This hopefully will take place outside in the school Grounds –
       weather permitting!)

      Workshop 5 

      Alan Parkinson (Geography Consultant)

      Connecting teachers - connecting classrooms
A look at how social media and smartphone apps can help teachers to  

      connect with other colleagues, and open up possibilities for authentic  

      and collaborative learning, and prepare learners for the future workplace.

Workshop 6 for CE and KS 3 Teachers on next page
         Workshop 6   NB Double Workshop– lasts the whole 120 minutes-
for Prep School and KS 3 Teachers only
Gyles Morris  – CE/ KS3 Fieldwork ideas though ‘the Lens of a Camera
with support on how to use the skills in CE Fieldwork from Simon Lewis (ISEB Lead Setter) and Dr Andrew Lee (SATIPS Geography Broadsheet Editor)
This is aimed at giving you new ideas for inspiring your pupils to use photographs and small areas to produce excellent Fieldwork enquiry skills. 
Ideal for Prep School teachers wanting new ideas for the revised CE Fieldwork Enquiry.
(Will be outside along the Canal ) (Restricted to 12 teachers)

1.10 pm  A chance to talk with some Publishers  and look at resources over a glass of wine and a chance to browse all the latest publications.

1.45  A sit down Lunch followed by 10 minutes from Steve Brace of the Royal Geographical Society (with the IBG)

2.45 pm-  3.45pm:  Lecture and Question session
Alan Kinder (Chief Executive of the Geographical Association)
Geography and the GA in a time of curriculum change. Where are we, where are we going and how we can support you.’

A chance to hear what Alan Kinder has to say and to question him and to let him know what support you think the GA can give to teachers and the pupils you teach.

3.45 pm Finish

You can attend for £60 if a GA member (£160 if not) and two teachers can attend from the same GA member school for just £75

Let me know if you'd like a copy of the booking form sending to you....