Wednesday, 30 October 2013

SAGT 4 of 10: Val's Presidential speech and morning keynote...

After the awards, delegates moved into a lecture theatre for the morning session: a welcome by Shelagh Hansom the conference convener, and a local officer from the 'education authority'.

Val Vannet, the outgoing president gave an excellent speech: 'It's not what you're looking at, it's what you see that matters', which had some of the images from her recent holiday in the USA, and gave the message that geography changes your view on the world.

She entertainingly went through the progress (or not) that has been made in Scottish education towards 'Curriculum for Excellence', which has had a long gestation period, and also the recent updates at National 4 and 5 level and the Advanced Highers.
The conference was on the theme of Physical Geography, and Val's contention was that this has largely disappeared from the specifications, and is not leading to a joined-up offering for students. She showed the advice on studying soils (which has virtually disappeared), such as 'dig a soil pit on the school grounds' (which will of course have been disturbed when the school was built...) or use a Russian corer (which is apparently completely inappropriate for the task as well as being potentially dangerous - assuming you can find one...)
There were lots of nodding heads in the audience. It was a powerful and passionate speech, and set the tone for the day nicely: Physical Geography matters...

The morning keynote was given by Professor Iain Stewart

Called 'Scotland Rocks', it explored the way that Scotland has been at the centre of many geological discoveries as well as industrial developments based on these.

Oil shales – lighting the streets of London, and the link with exploring climate change were all part of the mix, beautifully presented with attractive images and text.

At the end, there were questions about fracking, and whether it was a suitable development.

Iain also said he's working on a three part series on North Sea Oil, ahead of the 50th anniversary of its discovery and exploitation - this changed large parts of Scotland utterly...
A really good start to the day...

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