Coming soon to the GA shop...

Get yourself a copy when it appears :)

James Burke on the future...

Thanks to Duncan King for tweeting the link to this short interview with James Burke.

When I was younger, one of my favourite programmes was 'Connections'.
It was serious TV that you had to think about, and took you to places that you hadn't expected to.
This interview has to be listened to..
It's quite remarkable and would produce a wonderful stimulus for discussion..

listen to ‘James Burke predicted the future in 1973. Now he does it again.’ on Audioboo

Good to hear Richard Feynman being mentioned too - read about him too...

Interpreting the 2014 Geography Curriculum

For many people, this will be a busy year. Those waiting for the final version of the 2014 curriculum document for Geography will be anticipating changes to what they are teaching.
The Geography curriculum review has an expert group which advised the DfE. I worked on the GA's own NC working group earlier in the process.
Di Swift has now pulled together a range of material from the meetings and the process, and earlier this week, a new blog went live to share their work.
There is useful advice on the notion of curriculum making.

I was interested in some of the content, particularly Paul Cornish's useful sheet for planning which place based content to include in a school's planning and teaching.

It will be interesting to see how this site develops, and how people respond to it.
Add a comment, and a contribution, and I hope this proves to be helpful.

25 not out...

Earlier today, I read a post by David Rogers about his disbelief at having taught for ten years, and what he was looking forward to in the new year.
It jogged my memory back twenty five years to the 28th of August 1988.

I'd just arrived in King's Lynn, Norfolk after having driven from Mallaig. I'd spent the previous two weeks working on the Isle of Rhum as a conservation volunteer with friends. I'd been chopping down rhododendrons, painting the inside of Rhum Castle, climbing mountains, drinking whisky, getting bitten by midges and living in a bothy. I'd caught the ferry the previous morning from the island, via Eigg and Canna and then driven non-stop to Rotherham. After an overnight stop, I loaded the car with my possessions and made one of the first trips down the A17 (in the years since, I've worked out I've driven along the stretch between Newark and King's Lynn over 700 times...)
I was heading for a bedsit a few hundred yards from the school where I was to spend the next 20 years teaching (though I didn't know that)
I was single, knew nobody in the whole town, and was about to start teaching...

Fast forward 25 years: I'm married with two children and have spent the last 25 years, over half my life, living in Norfolk.
And today, after a five year 'extended holiday' working for the Geographical Association and as a freelance geographer, it was 'back to school' to my new teaching job.
The day was really interesting chatting to the cohort of new staff who were starting alongside me, all with interesting experiences and backgrounds. An impressive Almanack was handed out: a bound publication with all the forthcoming dates and information relevant to the term to come, which promises to be rather full-on for all concerned.

Another interesting aspect was the role of ICT: a move towards BYOD, the school uses an app to 'push' tasks set for homework, which can be set and marked online, to students' devices. Mobile phone use (subject to specific terms of use) is to be encouraged in the classroom, and the school is an iPad Academy Training Centre too. There's also a ClickView library with app to access if required.

And the machine in the common room makes great freshly brewed coffee...

You can follow my journey back into the classroom at my (relatively) new teaching blog.
I can't wait for tomorrow....

DISTANCE - we've come a long way...

Colleagues at Explorer HQ and I are now off and running with a project called DISTANCE.
This stands for Developing an Internet of School Things: a National Collaborative Experience.
The project has some funding from TSB (that's the Technology Strategy Board, not the bank....)

We've got a project website which is just a holding page at the moment, but will develop more as we start to move into the main phase of working with schools.
So at the moment, we're doing a lot of thinking, and this stuff...

Yep, writing...

We're working on some resources that will be available to schools in some format during 2014.

Last week, I had a good chat with Catherine Muller from Birmingham Urban Climate Laboratory. They are doing some cool things related to climate within the city, using various sensors and other technology.

Helen Steer from Explorer HQ and I are wrangling up some lesson ideas and curriculum materials. We're also working with colleagues from the Open University, Sciencescope, INTEL and several other organisations.

Here's Arosha, from the Open University, one of the people we're working with introducing a major aspect of this work: the 'Internet of Things'. The video is taken from an OU course called 'My Digital Life'.

Computers are getting smaller and are able to communicate with each other wirelessly. This means that we can begin to collect data from them, and make connections.

We can monitor journeys that are made by students, and also collect data from simple everyday actions which can provide powerful insights into our lives.
Arduino is one of the technologies that is used here, and although I don't pretend how it works in detail, the possibilities are exciting.

Follow the project as it develops on
You can also follow our new TWITTER feed here

Check out a Telegraph article which features the project... and this CNN article has some useful additional detail on the Internet of Things.

Request for help at the start of term...

I'm kicking off my Year 7 teaching with a unit on Adventure Landscapes based on the work that Noel Jenkins did for the RGS-IBG contribution to the Geography Teaching Today website.
These resources can now be obtained from the RGS website itself HERE.

I've put together a Google Form on the theme of Adventure landscapes: the activities you've done and the landscapes that you'd like to visit and return to...
Please fill in the questions below if you have a moment. It will take less than a minute and my students and I would be really grateful...
We'll be looking at the results at some point in the next few weeks, and also using this as an example of how Google Forms works to collect data from real people (that's you :) )

Check out the Geography Teacher 2.0 blog for more of my preparations...
INSET days later this week and the term starts next Monday - getting close now !

Urban World app for iPad

"Understanding cities and their shifting demographics is critical to reaching urban consumers and to preparing for the challenges that will arise from increasing demand for natural resources (such as water and energy) and for capital to invest in new housing, office buildings, and port capacity."

Cities are of vital importance to the future world.
This new iPad app from the McKinsey Global Institute provides a detailed analysis of cities around the world.
Read about it HERE.


The latest from Russel Tarr is a new mashup which explores hashtags and images.

Picture this....

One of the images I took this summer. I share my images in various locations, and they're all Creative Commons licensed for non-commercial use with attribution, although I've also given permission for them to be used in quite a few books, magazines, journals and various exam papers.

Image: Alan Parkinson

You can find my FLICKR images here. They've had over 150 000 views.
I also BLIP a daily image here. Those images have had over 30 000 views.

Where do you share your images ?

Geography Paul's Emporium

Check out a new project by Paul Turner for the new school year.

This will develop over time to be another useful point of contact for geography teachers looking for inspiration and resources.

A world of news...

Ben Hennig has created a wealth of useful maps over the years, and has featured on this blog many times.. His Views of the World website is going into 'hibernation' for a while...

One of his latest maps takes data from 'The Guardian'.
It explores the places that are mentioned in news coverage.
What patterns do you notice - do you feel it accurately represents the important issues and events in the world and the places they are happening ??

Maps shared under Creative Commons license by Ben Hennig and used with permission...
You are free use the material under Creative Commons conditions (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0); please contact me for further details. I also appreciate a message if you used my maps somewhere else. High resolution and customized maps are available on request.

Check out VIEWS OF THE WORLD for more maps.

Danny Dorling at the RSA

A useful homework task for GCSE / 'A' level Geographers would be to watch this presentation by Danny Dorling, accompanied by a few questions to ponder perhaps..

There is an audio download which includes the Q&A session available from the RSA Event page.

And coming up in October is this event which looks interesting: Howard Gardner talking about the App generation...

New VML Raster on Digimap for Schools

There are some changes being made to the popular Digimap for Schools service for the new academic year.
One of them is the replacement of the 1: 10 000 level mapping with a new, sharper map layer. See the Digimap blog post here for some details and an example map of an area to show the difference.

Look out for updates to the educational materials too...
I'm currently working alongside the OS Education team to update, refresh and add new content to the detailed resources which are available for all subscribers to use.

And finally, following feedback, there'll be some new features being revealed shortly...

It's a good time of year to subscribe to be ready for the new school year.
Another map story on updates of Right to Roam maps for Wales is here.

Project Splatter

I blogged about this project a while back...
It's a citizen science project which you can get involved in if you're driving anywhere...
Keep an eye out for roadkill and then report it to the website.
The project has been underway on Facebook for a while, but is now available on this new Wordpress blog.

Contribute your sightings to add to the emerging maps...

There is a range available, and these would make useful stimulus images for patterns and distribution.

What are Project Splatter’s aims?
1.           Collate data on UK wildlife roadkill reported by the public using social media
2.            Estimate the impact of roads on UK wildlife
3.            Determine which species are most observed as roadkill
4.            Raise awareness of this conservation issue
5.            Ultimately reduce the impact of roads on our UK wildlife

Back from Devon

Back from a week in Devon in a 'notspot' to force me to pause, before preparing for my return to the classroom which starts with 3 INSET days next week...
Back now, and it's a long night ahead catching up with a few strands...

Image: Alan Parkinson

Details of new GA CPD courses for 2013-14

The details of the CPD courses being offered by the GA in the new academic year have been released, and are available for booking now.
Visit the website for details of all the courses.

I'm delighted to say that I will be leading the following days... at various venues around the country from the middle of November through to June 2014...
Hope to see some of you at one of these events...

Karl Donert in Canada

I've been fortunate to work on a range of projects with Karl Donert over the last few years, which has provided me some with great memories of visits to cities across Europe. There have been lots of posts on LivingGeography relating to those events and projects.

Karl was in Canada this week at an important gathering of geographers in Canada, and ended up on Canadian TV talking about the importance of geography.

A further reminder of the value and importance of connecting with geography educators from around the world...

Thought for the Day

"Council estates are nothing to be scared of, unless you are frightened of inequality. They are a physical reminder that we live in a society that divides people according to how much money they have to spend on shelter. My heart sags every time it senses the approach of those flat, numbing boxes that prickle the edges of every British town".

Lynsey Hanley from 'Estates': a book I keep getting drawn back to...
Highly recommended...

Get your tent out...

Did you take part in the RSPB's Big Wild Sleepout.

If you did, you may be interested to know that there is a special booklet which we produced at Explorer HQ.

The Mission:Explore booklet that accompanies the sleepout can be obtained from TES Resources and elsewhere...

You still have a chance to camp out while the good weather lasts, for the last few weekends of summer.

Natural hazards in a warming world...

Excellent video to inform discussions with 'A' level Geographers in particular....

Via this page, which has more...

Via David Rogers


Just ordered one of these with some funding from my work as a Primary Geography Champion...

Does anyone else have one, or have some further ideas for its use.

Going to be using it to explore global awareness, locational knowledge and various other things, particularly with younger students...

Norfolk is.....

The EDP has been running a photo competition, to try to find images that sum up what Norfolk is.
The winning image of a sunset behind Cromer Pier was taken by Kate Royall (@CromerKate)

Read the supplement of images online HERE

Thought for the Day

"I don't want my son to be limited to learning only what his teacher already knows!"
 John Couch, Vice President of Apple Education

Useful videos...

A useful Globalisation video...

One of a range produced by EDEOS. Check out their YouTube channel for some more on issues such as Water, or Migration

 Thanks to Richard James of Worksop College for the tipoff here...

Voices of Conservation

A new education project from the splendid folks at Digital Explorer.

It focuses on the issue of wildlife conservation and Rhino poaching....

I'm grateful to Jamie for sending me some of the excellent double sided posters that have been produced for educational use - you can download a PDF of these posters along with a range of other materials.
Register with Digital Explorer and you can download all these resources free of charge.
Encourage your students to enter the competition for a chance to win a trip to South Africa in August 2014. They will need to create a 2 minute video. Guidance is given on how to do this.

Entrants must be between 16 and 19 years of age

The focus for the resources are rhino conservation, and preventing the poaching which is reducing their numbers to frighteningly low levels.

Thought for the Day

"I'm very good at map reading"
Daddy Pig

"we're lost aren't we..."
Mummy Pig (2 minutes later...)

Richard Allaway - new personal website

Catch up with what Richard Allaway is up to on his sexy new personal webspace. Some great image choices for the backgrounds.

Like the proposed new National Curriculum ?

It's your last day to have your say if you don't....

Consultation period closes tomorrow...

Find out more about the process on the GA website.

Scenes from a Lincolnshire landscape...

A17 closed until 6am yesterday for resurfacing.
This was about 5.30am travelling along a dead straight and deserted Fenland road with typical ground subsidence acting on the power line supports...

New 'From the Field' resources...

One of the first jobs I completed as a freelance Geographer were two units of work for the Royal Geographical Society.

They were written for a project called 'From the Field' which paired teachers with researchers, to create some teaching resources for GCSE and 'A' level based on the latest research. One purpose was to show the value of research, and encourage more students to consider moving into that field.

A new resource on the GOBI DESERT has now been added to the site.

Written by Lydia Williams, in partnership with Dr Troy Sternberg.

I'm hoping to put up an update post on the two From the Field projects that I worked on shortly...

New teaching blog...

Don't forget to bookmark my new teaching blog.

It's already underway with some preliminary planning, and thinking, but will really get started from September 2nd when I head back into the classroom after five years away working for the Geographical Association, and then as a freelance Geographer.

There are plenty of changes that have taken place in education since then, and it's time to step back into the stream and be carried off to new adventures. 

Don't forget to bookmark this blog too while you're at it... Find the FOLLOW button on the right hand side...

Geographical Association Resource Finder

If you're spending part of your summer holiday preparing for the Autumn term, you won't be alone.
If you want to search the Geographical Association's website, you need to use the GA site's RESOURCE FINDER.

Scroll down to the bottom of the home page to find it...

Search for PARKINSON, for example, to find the various resources that I've contributed to over the years, although as many of them don't carry my name attached to them there's actually a great deal more that I wrote and added... including plenty of images too...

What will you find ?

Mapping Children's Chances..

A range of maps which explore the world of children, and the various things that impact their lives.

They are taken from the Children's Chances website.

They would make useful stimulus materials particularly for those schools which are 'rights-respecting schools' as a stimulus for debate.

View the maps here.

Welcome to the Anthropocene....

In the news....

Some interesting stories in the news at the moment to feed into planning for various units.

A major story relates to FRACKING.
This is the hydraulic fracturing of rock, to enable access to reserves of shale gas and oil which are hidden in the geology beneath certain parts of the country. This has the potential to release reserves of energy, but has also been blamed for various problems including earth tremors, and contamination of groundwater and drinking water.
There are plenty of campaign sites springing up, and various recent statements, such as that from Lord Howell who suggested it should be carried out in the 'desolate NE of England'....

Another possible environmental disaster has a larger scale than the UK....
METHANE is released when permafrost thaws.
Methane is a far more potent gas than carbon dioxide when it comes to enhancing the planet's natural greenhouse effect, and could accelerate global warming. There's been lots of debate, but when I first read about this fifteen or twenty years ago it seemed fairly likely.

The next story has a mention of Great Yarmouth: a town I've visited more than once.
It describes the cycle of poverty that affects some coastal towns, some of which developed originally as coastal resorts.
The Butler model is one which some students will be familiar with as it summarises the major changes which take place in a resort as it develops and, in many cases, declines. The fortunes of Great Yarmouth sit in contrast to places like Southwold, although it may be only a matter of time before the wheel of fortune turns for any place of course...
You can download the full report from the Centre for Social Justice website (it may be worth looking at the other reports that have been produced if this is an area that you'd like to explore further)

There are 5 seaside towns mentioned in the report: Rhyl, Margate, Clacton-on-Sea, Blackpool and Great Yarmouth. These could form the basis for group enquiries: either focus on one of these towns, or identify another town which might have similar issues - the Census data could be used for this, and perhaps a tool like Ollie O' Brien's 'This Place' which has been mentioned here several times before.

Finally, when it comes to the Geography of FOOD, today will see the arrival of a burger made from synthetic meat.
Could this be one solution to feeding the world....

Some images from Channel 4 news



Which student are you ?
Caught it with the family yesterday at the local cinema...
Here's my monster alter-ego made with the Monster Generator...

For Sale: one slightly used web domain

In 2001, I created a website called 'Mr. P's Geography Pages' which was hosted on the free TRIPOD service.
A few years later, I moved it to web hosts 123Connect and it became 'GeographyPages'.

At the time, other than David Rayner's GeoInteractive and David Robinson's site there were very few Geography-specific websites. This was in the days of Netscape Navigator and dial-up modems chirruping away...

The site had a few thousand visitors a year, but quickly grew to over a million visitors and well over that in terms of page views.
I had to double the bandwidth, and then again and again....
The website still gets hundreds of thousands of visitors a year,  although I 'archived' it in 2008 when I joined the Geographical Association.

If anyone is interested, the domain name is for sale.... one slightly shop-soiled URL

(Not that I anticipate anyone will be for a moment....)

The site will be disappearing shortly, so grab your favourite bits while you can.
The end of an era...
And the start of another in a month's time....

Thanks for the kind comments on the impact that GeographyPages had on colleagues' practice over the years :)

There'll be some news about the future of the website in a week or so...
In the meantime, the old site has now gone...
Check the WAYBACK MACHINE if you want to go back in time...