My new badge...

Badge for my role as a GA Geography Champion (which I've been doing for a bit less than a year) arrived today...
Coming soon to a CPD session near you....

New editions of iGCSE Textbook and teacher support

While working at the GA, I created the framework wrote the introduction to, and co-wrote a lot of the materials for Harper Collins' books for the Cambridge iGCSE Geography specification. My name credit on the teacher book was subsumed into the GA logo, but at least I appear on the Teacher Book cover.

A new edition of the student and teacher guides will be published in September it seems, so get those orders in now...
Nice work by John B, Jack, Meg and John R

Learning and Leading - an opportunity...

Thanks to Charlie from the RGS for getting in touch about an opportunity for a few teachers this summer.

The Learning and Leading programme contains four programme ‘strands’: the Summer School, aimed at improving fieldwork skills for A-Level geography students; the Gap Scholar programme, which gives grants to students to enable them to have a meaningful gap year overseas; the Field Apprenticeship, which gives first year undergraduates the opportunity and resources to take part in an overseas research project with an academic from their university and the Teachers’ Masterclass, which gives training to GCSE and A-Level geography teachers to help improve their fieldwork teaching and learn new techniques for running local and affordable geography fieldtrips. 

All four strands are aimed at students from maintained schools who have experienced challenging circumstances and teachers from maintained and under-resourced or challenged schools.

It is specifically the Teachers’ Masterclass that has the opportunity that I mentioned in the title of the post. There are a few remaining places on the July course (18th – 20th July, in Yorkshire - at the Cranedale Centre), which the RGS are looking to fill. 

Download the FLYER from the website for more details, and Charlie's contact details HERE.

A colleague of mine who was in my department when I was HoD took part in the scheme and found it a really valuable and useful experience. She can be seen briefly in the photo stories on the site.

And who wouldn't want to spend a few days in God's own country :)

Now listening...

30 years old and still fresh...

Brazil World Cup Top Trumps

If you're hankering after some Brazil Top Trumps to play, or to act as a stimulus for related work as we move into the final half term of the year, head to the SLN Forum, where you can download a nice set that has just been added by smk06

New Danny Macaskill

Exploring the awesome abandoned city of Epecuén in Argentina...
Thanks to Kevin Suess for the tipoff...

Google Earth... and now beyond to ArcGIS Online and Digimap for Schools

Back in 2005, I first saw Google Earth and called it back then the 'killer app for Geography teachers'. It offered the chance to see the world in a new way, and to visit any place that you might be studying. To begin with, the quality of the imagery was not great once you moved away from the main inhabited parts of the USA, and certainly the UK, where Norfolk was covered with clouds for the first few years....
Despite this, I could see the potential and got in touch with someone at Google to suggest that they needed to have some decent Geography resources created (to some extent I'm still waiting for them....)
Dennis Reinhardt gave me a free PRO license for a year and I got to work exploring the world and seeing what was possible. I created a blog, and also put together a presentation for the 2006 SAGT Conference. I also applied for an Innovative Geography Teaching grant from the RGS-IBG for a project I called 'Earth: a Users' Guide' and these two events became my Google Earth Users Guide blog, which has been around since 2006.
Since then of course, Google Earth has gone through quite a few incarnations and been added to by Google Maps, Google StreetView and the various other Google tools that can be applied to mapping the world.
In the last year, there is also a new option for exploring the world and doing what might be called GIS work. This is ArcGIS Online. It's a cloud-based version of what used to be expensive and powerful software, and over time, some of the features are being added to the free tool.  In recognition of the shifting focus towards a joint use of these two tools, I've changed the header of the original blog (though the name will remain).
Also added the resources for Digimap for Schools which I have written, along with Paula Owens and also for MapStream.

Visit the Google Earth User Guide blog for more on this...

That's not to say that I don't still use Google Earth a lot, and just been reading about it, and creating some new materials for a project I'm involved in.

This article from the December 2013 New York Times Magazine is well worth reading as it explores Google's focus on mapping as a way of ensuring that their digital offerings all 'work'.

Magazine cover image: Copyright: New York Times / Dan Winters

Travel time map

Thanks to Ben King for the tipoff to the ISOSCOPE.
Here's where you can reach in 10 minutes from Ely city centre on a Monday morning.... apparently :)
Give it a go...

Grand Alpine Tour

After Monday night's lecture of the Pole of Cold expedition, it's time for the latest Going Beyond expedition.
This year's trip is not going quite as far as Oymyakon, but is heading for the Alps on the Grand Alpine Tour expedition.
The Twitter feed is up and running and the Land Rover has been prepared.

Here are some details from the expedition website.

The Grand Alpine Tour is a 6,000 mile journey across the European Alps in the footsteps of some of the earliest explorers, scientists and artists throughout the summer of 2014, to quantify landscape change. The original Grand Tour was a journey across Europe and an educational rite-of-passage for young gentlemen of the 16th and 17th centuries. Travellers often found themselves captivated and inspired by the diversity and enormity of the Alpine landscapes, and captured their thoughts and impressions with works of art that even today, continue to decorate the walls of galleries, museums and private collections around the world. With such an extensive and renowned heritage, the European Alps hold a rich archive of art, photography and scientific research, that provide an extensive inventory of change through time, which the team hope to utilise and expand their knowledge and datasets beyond that permitted by contemporary methods alone.
The team of the Grand Alpine Tour aim to further our understanding of the magnitude, frequency and spatial distribution of landslides above thinning and retreating glaciers in the European Alps. Understanding the past and present spatial and temporal distribution of landslides is fundamental to looking for changes in these patterns and key to answering important questions relating to future landscape development. To do this, they’ll be combining contemporary 3D data that they’ll collect along the journey, with historic photographs, paintings and datasets; some of which, are held at the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG). Among other methods, the team will fly an unmanned hexacopter above glaciers and mountain slopes to capture hundreds of aerial photographs, which will be combined to create highly-detailed 3D models which, when compared with repeat models created over various time periods, will document change in the landscape. The team are helping to pioneer this innovative technique as a new method for monitoring landscape change.
The Grand Alpine Tour team will be driving in a Land Rover Defender 110 that has been specially designed and built for the journey, collecting contemporary geospatial data and photography. Their work will provide resources for the RGS (with IBG)’s ‘From the Field‘ program; enabling geography teachers to work alongside practitioners at the cutting edge of geographical research to develop educational resources for the classroom.
The recipients of the bursary are Northumbria University geographers Mark Allan, Dr Mike Lim and Thomas Shaw, who are all active researchers with a substantial amount of experience in the field between them. They will be supported along the journey by artist, Dan Holdsworth, senior lecturer and Mark’s primary PhD supervisor, Dr Stuart Dunning, and several other researchers who will meet them at different stages, to support their work in alpine environments.
The team will depart from the UK early in June 2014 before travelling across France, Italy, Slovenia, Austria, Germany, Belgium and Switzerland, expecting to arrive back in the UK mid-September.

The history of Mysteries...

A lot of Geography teachers will remember the development of Thinking through Geography and the strategies that it contained and how it changed the way that they taught.
One of these strategies was the Mystery, and Simon Renshaw led me to the resource linked to above, which explains how they were developed by David Leat and colleagues.

A digital version of the classic paper card sort is now available, and a free month's trial can be obtained from the webpage here.

What was the last mystery you used ?

Professor Iain Stewart Podcast lecture...

The GA Conference this year started with the Public lecture by Professor Iain Stewart.
You can now hear this lecture, and see images from the lecture presentation on the GA's Conference downloads page (which has plenty of resources from the event), or watch it here...

Up for the Cup....

The World Cup 2014 is starting soon.

According to the countdown on Matt Podbury's excellent World Cup resource it's only 19 days away as I type this.

There's a series of entertaining tasks exploring the relative levels of development of the countries, the climate at the different venues, globalisation and big-business, and a whole range of other areas on Matt's site.

The resource has the approval of the great Hans Rosling.... and me...

GTE 2014

The Geography Teacher Educators' Conference is an annual event at the start of the year.

I've been to several of them, particularly in the days when I worked for the GA, and also presented at three.
I wasn't able to attend this year's conference as it clashed with my teaching, but I hope to attend next year.
A range of presentations are now up on the GA website, and they make intriguing reading. They include some interesting perspectives on pedagogy and curriculum.

Friends of the Greater London National Park

This blog is a Friend of the Greater London National Park....


You may have noticed the new addition to the sidebar...

Pole of Cold lecture at the RGS-IBG

Pole of Cold – lecture review

A packed Ondaatje theatre at the Royal Geographical Society witnessed a very special story told with great passion and energy on Monday night this week.
Felicity Aston described the journey of 36 000km that she made with two companions in a specially adapted Land Rover Defender to Oymyakon: the ‘Pole of Cold’ – so called as it is the coldest inhabited place in the world, with temperatures getting down below -70 degrees Celsius. There was also an excellent exhibition of images and artefacts on display, and the Land Rover itself was parked outside the Exhibition Road entrance, still covered in mud.
The story was told with stunning images, taken by the photographer Manu Palomeque.

I was delighted to have the chance to speak to Felicity before the lecture, and she thanked me for the educational resources that I wrote to accompany the journey.
For the purposes of the project, these had to be written before the journey was finally completed, but I was able to set in motion some enquiries that could be developed in the future, and there is also a wealth of audio visual material on the project blog and website.

Felicity drew us in from the first minute by asking us to imagine a place so cold that we could hear our own breath freezing, where metal became as brittle as plastic and where every drop of moisture was frozen solid.

There were tales of reindeer herders, meeting Father Christmas, travelling the Road of Bones, surviving the cold, the ice roads and the benefits of the cold.

She finished by reminding us that the winter, which is often thought of as being dark, is actually full of colour and that, as the ‘Lord of Cold’ who she met in Oymayakon (and gave a lift home) said, it can also be our friend. She asked us to think about what winter meant to us, and whether we had changed our mind after the story we had heard.

I had to leave before the questions session as I had a long journey back to Norfolk, rather less than the 36 000 km that Felicity had travelled, and on a day which, ironically, was the warmest of the year. Before leaving, I had a chance to run my fingers through the Siberian mud on the Land Rover – the closest I’ll probably get to visiting the region in person.

Many thanks to Steve Brace for the invitation to have drinks before the lecture, and to Rita Gardner for her warm welcome.
Best wishes to Felicity for her future travels.

Pole of Cold URL:

Image of me and Felicity, taken by Gisli - I'm the scruffy bloke on the left..

IB course with Richard Allaway

A rare chance to work with Richard Allaway of Geography all the Way fameon an IB Geography course in the UK takes place in 3 weeks time.
The course is held at Heathrow Airport, and is on a Saturday so no cover needed (probably)

Details and booking information here.

Tomorrow's starter sorted....

The latest bit of Noel Jenkins awesomeness....

Noel has shared his latest bit of place-based project work, and it's another cracker which makes you reconsider what you are doing re. local place-making and exploring...
It's got a spot of fieldwork, data collection and analysis, presentation zen, business planning and a real outcome...
Another impressive contribution to the community, and another incentive to raise my game.

Game of Thrones - tourism and industry case study

"Winter is coming...."

I've blogged previously about the TV series 'Game of Thrones' and its impact on the places where the main filming takes place.
Game of Thrones takes place in a fictional land called WESTEROS. I've got a big map of the area in my classroom
The Guardian recently had a useful article on the impact on the local area of the filming of the series in Northern Ireland, near Belfast. This has created many jobs. In fact, I even picked up a tweet from a teacher recently whose textiles teacher was resigning because she had a new job making the costumes for the show.

There is also the TOURIST element that goes along with this, with people wanting to visit the locations on the programme. New Zealand benefits hugely from the Lord of the Rings / Hobbit movies filming in the country, for example...

This site has a series of downloadable itineraries for driving tours of some of the locations in Northern Ireland, for example.

Other scenes are set in Iceland & Croatia.
Similar benefits are in place for these countries too.
Here's an Icelandair package aimed at Americans, for example...

Image: Thingvellir, Iceland - by Alan Parkinson

Check out this INTERACTIVE MAP which has spoilers for those who haven't seen the show. Of course the actual programme is unsuitable for anyone of school age, but that doesn't mean that students at GCSE or 'A' level (or younger) haven't a) been aware of it, and b) actually watched it.

A possible new addition for tertiary industry - one that I might work up into a new case study....

"A Parkinson always pays his debts..."

Quakefeed... useful app

This is a good app that I was directed to via Twitter...

Wurzels on Wind Farms

A great resource for students to explore... good lyrics to deconstruct and add some more verses, or write one in favour in the same style...

RGS Awards 2014

Every year, about this time, I look to see who is going to be receiving awards from the Royal Geographical Society. They are presented as part of the AGM in June.

In 2008, I was fortunate and honoured to receive the Ordnance Survey award for my geography teaching, which has been presented to fantastic colleagues before and since. I'm looking at it now, next to my desk...

This year, there are some really interesting recipients of awards, which include a Patron's Medal for Hans Rosling, and the Ness Award for Nick Crane.
There is also the Geographical Award for Jamie Buchanan Dunlop, which is great news, as he has done so much to support expedition work.
Finally, this year's winners of the OS Award are (the mighty) Simon Oakes and Elizabeth Phipson - well done indeed!
Well done to all the other award winners too of course.

Image: Alan Parkinson - 'the Boss'....

GA Conference 2015 - do you want to present something ?

If so, the planning is already underway and you really need to be letting Lucy Oxley know by the end of the month.
Click HERE to find out more, and I'll see you there....

Global Village

I'm working on a range of projects at the moment, as we hurtle towards the summer at a crazy pace.
One of them is preparing for two Global Learning Programme CPD events, which I recently reminded you of the dates for. (June in London and July in York)
These will involve the creation of a new Scheme of Work for the new KS3 Curriculum 2014 from September

This will be called 'Global Village' and will aim to cover some of the key elements of the Global Learning Programme as well as some of the sections in the new Curriculum 2014 documents

Delegates will get the chance to see some new tools and then put them to use to help co-construct the curriculum with me on the day, so that it's ready by the time we leave...

Here's the skeleton of the unit - if you fancy fleshing this out and learning a lot about new tools and spending a day in a nice location in London or York then head to the Global Learning Programme website and sign up or contact Lucy Oxley at the Geographical Association.

Worldwise Weeek 2014

Worldwise Week (formerly Geography Awareness Week, is organised by the Geographical Association.
This year's resource pack is available, and would provide some good ideas for those wanting to continue the theme of this year's conference 'Crossing Boundaries' with some end-of-the-school-year extension work.

Head to the GA website to download the pack and join in from the 23rd to the 27th of June.

Mission:Explore shortlisted - vote for us :)

You'll need to get to Stage 10 of the voting, so feel free to click through quickly to get to that point. It's a bit long winded as a process, so persevere on our behalf :)
Many thanks for your vote if possible

GA Conference 2015 - Manchester

Final follow-up blogpost following the GA Conference 2014....

I know that the 2014 conference has only just finished, but during the conference in Guildford I spoke to Mark Higginbottom, the Senior Vice President, who will be GA President during next year, about next year's event, which he is heavily involved with of course.
It will take place between the 9th and 11th of April (which is a bonus as it misses my daughter's birthday)

Here's the theme...

Making an impact

In 2015 the GA’s Annual Conference will return to the University of Manchester on Thursday 9-Saturday 11 April.
What impact does geography, as a subject and academic discipline, have on young people? Asked if geography helps young people shape an understanding and appreciation of the world around them, whoever they are, wherever they live and whatever their academic interests, I believe we would all immediately respond with a resounding ‘yes!’; but do we really know the impact geography has on shaping them as ‘well rounded’ human beings?
The theme of ‘Making an Impact’ provides an opportunity to reflect on the geography young people encounter and engage with and the relevance it has to their everyday lives and experiences, be they EYFS, primary, secondary, post-16 or HEI students and whatever their ethnicity or socio-economic background.
A 2009 IPSOS MORI poll provided some illuminating perceptions of geography by young people and helped guide the Geographical Association in its strategic thinking over the last five years. As we move forward with the next five year strategic plan, young people appear explicitly in the priorities that will guide the work and activities of the association. The theme provides a sounding board to think about and share the ways we currently directly engage with young people, for example through Worldwise, and how we will in the future.
The time is right to take stock, seek the views of young people and celebrate success. How do we ensure geography is seen by young people to be much more than just another school subject or academic discipline? It is these people that teachers, educators and the Geographical Association must understand and support: they become the next generation to have stewardship of our landscapes and environments, whatever their adult lives become.

I've been asked to do a few things already, so I will see you there...


“Our aim is to provide unbiased information about London's social, environmental and economic issues.
“These maps are like fancy pie charts, and if something is twice the size of something else it is obvious. We just want to spark a debate about the differences in one big city.”
Professor Danny Dorling

London called me on Thursday this week, and I went down to the RGS to meet with Ben Hennig.

Ben and I are working on some educational materials for a project called LondonMapper - a website which officially launched today, funded by the Trust for London.
The educational materials are being funded by an Innovative Geography Teaching grant that we have been awarded by the Royal Geographical Society.

Ben's maps will be familiar to many from his work on WorldMapper with Danny Dorling and others from Sheffield University.
Ben now works at the University of Oxford, still with Danny Dorling, and LondonMapper is one of several exciting projects that he is working on.

The site got a lot of early publicity and was featured in quite a few of the newspapers today.
- the Guardian
- Daily Mail
- the Independent
for example...

Explore the data on this Guardian Datablog page, which includes the hedgehog map and peregrine falcon map created along with Daniel Raven Ellison as part of the Greater London National Park project

The site will be expanded in the next few weeks with a whole tranche of new maps.

By the end of the summer term, there will also be a teaching resource which I will have created. The bones of the resources already exist, and I will be working on that over half term.

Also keep an eye out for further London Mapping resources that I'll be creating in the Summer term.

Embedding Global Learning

Spent part of today jotting down some ideas for a forthcoming Global Learning course.

This is a really useful presentation, designed for the earlier years, but relevant to KS3 too (the Culture Iceberg for example), created by Katie Carr from the Cumbria Development Education Centre.

GA Conference - GIS in the Geography Curriculum

GIS was a significant part of the recent GA Conference with a range of sessions covering various options for fieldwork and classwork.

There was (by all accounts) an excellent double workshop led by Bob Lang and Jason Sawle.
Notes and resources from the session are now available to download from the GA's Conference page. This is where notes and presentations from many of the sessions are being made available. Check out WORKSHOP 47 on this page (and mine was Workshop 33 if you're interested)

GIS is an important part of all preparation for the new Curriculum 2014, and will also form part of new GCSE and 'A' level courses.
If you'd like to find out more about ArcGIS Online, ESRI UK are putting on a series of courses at their Aylesbury HQ in July. Details can be found HERE.

There are also some further support materials for DIGIMAP FOR SCHOOLS in preparation and Darren from the OS has been busy travelling around the country leading courses in schools and other venues over the last year.

Finally, I'm going to be working on some London mapping resources for those exploring GIS, but more to come on those in the next few months...


I-USE is a project that I have been involved with for some time, and which I am going to be creating some materials for in the next few months...
Check out the website for more information.

Cuba Libre

I've worked with Bryan Ledgard many times over the years, as he is responsible for designing the GA's publications and journals and other associated materials. Most recently, he worked with us on the materials for the I-USE project.

He's an awesome photographer, and shares his images on his FLICKR stream.

He's just returned from Cuba, and with the new Curriculum offering the chance to explore unfamiliar places, a focus on this place is not unreasonable. Even if you're not teaching it, check out these wonderful shots...

BRITICE - mapping the ice sheets that covered Britain

BRITICE looks like being really useful for those studying cold environments, and the impact that the British Ice sheet had on the country, and the landforms that it left behind.
It's a project of Chris Clark and colleagues at the University of Sheffield.

There is a range of mapping available, including a Google Earth layer, and also files that can be opened in ArcGIS and other similar GIS packages.

One for those who want to get stuck in to some serious analysis of glacial features.

Thanks to Al Monteith for the tipoff to the site via Twitter.

First World War Centenary Battlefield Tours

There is a new opportunity for teachers to engage with the First World War that has been made available. While it may seem obvious that the Historians should take advantage of it, it's also important that the Geographers get a look in too.

The Institute of Education and Equity (formerly known as STS School Travel Service) are delighted to announce that they have been selected to run the First World War Centenary Battlefield Tours Programme on behalf of the Department for Education (DfE) and the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG).

The £5.3 million project was announced recently by the Prime Minister, David Cameron and is designed to provide the opportunity for a minimum of two pupils and one teacher from every state funded secondary school in England to visit battlefields on the Western Front between 2014-19. The battlefield tours are a key part of the Government's plans to commemorate the centenary of the First World War.

The IOE and Equity offer a unique and powerful partnership of education and travel expertise and through this project will:
  • use leading edge teaching and learning approaches to enable pupils to conduct historical enquiries and develop a deeper understanding of the significance of the First World War
  • enable pupils to develop a personal connection to the First World War through interacting with the battlefield sites, participating in remembrance ceremonies, recording, reflecting and sharing their own experiences
  • create an enduring legacy by developing and disseminating outstanding practice, empowering teachers to deliver more effective lessons and future battlefield tours, supporting schools in establishing commemorative projects
  • bring different organisations together, extend local, regional, national and global networks and reach into communities.
A reminder that I have created a collaborative Google Document on the Geographies of the First World War and you are welcome to read it, or request to be added as an editor if you would like to add an idea to it...

Now listening...

New out this week...

Global Learning Programme Course

A reminder that booking is still open for the Global Learning Programme course that I am running in the 2nd week of June and July - a nice end of term treat for you perhaps.

The course will run at a venue in London, and again in York, and will involve creating a range of resources and a new Scheme of Work: Global Village for the new KS3, ready for the New Year...

This will be a collaborative resource, created on the day by the teachers who come along, with a framework provided by me...
We'll look at some interesting web tools and other ideas.

Australian migration

An interesting interactive webpage which comprises a cartoon relating to the work of a guard in one of Australia's migrant detention centres.

Australia has had some interesting episodes in its history relating to immigration, but is now trying to control both legal and illegal entry..

London calling...

An excellent animation showing how London has grown over the years since Roman times...
Linked to my trip to London yesterday, which I shall blog about over the weekend when I get a moment...

Here's another map of London: a blank outline map of the proposed Greater London National Park, which you can use to take part in our special STUDENT CHALLENGE...

GA Conference - Ideas Zone

Continuing my reflection on the GA Conference
New for 2014, and I hope it comes back next year, was the Ideas Zone.
This had a range of activities which connected with projects that I've been involved with for the last few years.
Mission:Explore were there with books, missions, stampers and a preview of the new website, which has been updated and given some new features.
There was also Follow the Things, with Professor Ian Cook, assisted by Mary Biddulph and Eeva Kemppainen and other colleagues.
I wrote a piece about the Ideas Zone for the TES Geography Week, but not sure that it got used in the end, so here it is instead / as well...

Ideas Zone
One new addition for this year’s Conference was the Ideas Zone. This was a large room dedicated to play and exploration, but with a serious purpose. There were two main organisations and projects being showcased.
Explorer HQ, through Dan Raven Ellison, a National Geographic Emerging Explorer and Helen Steer, one of this year’s London Leaders, led people through their Mission:Explore project. This encourages young people to experience the outdoors, by carrying out short tasks. These are all based on ideas of enquiry and investigation. The team had created a special set of missions for delegates at the conference to complete. They have recently finished a project on Water with Thames Water, and an ‘Internet of Things’ project called ‘Distance’, and all the materials are available under Creative Commons license. At a time of increasing competition, it was good to see such an open and collaborative approach. - Mission:Explore’s website - TES Resources link to Mission:Explore Water - Project DISTANCE

The second project in the Ideas Zone was organised by ‘Follow the Things’, which is a research-based project led by Professor Ian Cook from the University of Exeter. This has a focus on trade justice issues, covering stories such as the collapse of the Rana Plaza factory just over a year ago, the sourcing of components in mobile phones, and other stories related to commodities. 

One aspect of the work was a table piled high with Lego pieces, where people were encouraged to re-create a story from the website. With the help of Eeva from Helsinki, I produced a visual representation of the creation of the Fairphone. I tweeted out a picture of my creation and got some replies from people working for the company, which was really interesting.
This is powerful geography which grows from stories of unknown others.

There was also an interesting recreation of the classic Top Trumps game, where people were asked to investigate the ‘score’ for their clothing in terms of ethical sourcing and other aspects.

It’s important that we follow the things we consume back to the origins so that we understand the implications of our choices – this is real interdependence in action – proper geography !

A STORIFY of the event curated by Ian is available HERE.

Image copyright: Rose Ledgard / Geographical Association

World under Water

We had fun at school today sinking the school and some of the students' and teachers' houses too.
Thanks again to Keir Clarke for yet another mapping tipoff. This one adapts the Google Street View engine to display your street flooded to a depth with water, to make a point about sea level change and how it might lead to a World under Water.

Part of King's Ely senior school including the classroom I teach in, and the Porta library 

Free Leeds CPD event

Information about a free day of CPD at Leeds University

Teachers’ Conference: ‘Climate Change and Society’ 
Geography – Economics - Environmental Studies 
Tuesday 24th June 2014 
School of Earth and Environment, University of Leeds 

Do you teach Geography, Economics or Environmental Studies? If so, why not join us for this climate change themed CPD event? This is a chance to hear talks and take part in discussions around cutting edge subjects relevant to the curriculum, with presenters who are leaders in their field. In addition, you will find out about some of the less obvious - but perhaps more interesting - options for students who are considering university, and meet other teachers from related disciplines.
The event is FREE, with lunch and refreshments included! 

9:30 Registration and refreshments
10:00 Introduction
10:15 ‘The more we buy, the more our emissions increase!’ Prof John Barrett
11:30 ‘Big business is trying to make us go green at home’ Prof William Young
12:45 Buffet Lunch
13:45 ‘Africa & climate change: How it is helping itself’ Prof Andy Dougill
15:00 ‘Do Your Students Want to Change the World?' Dr Lucie Middlemiss
16:00 End

About the Seminars
The more we buy, the more our emissions go up
Prof John Barrett (Professor of Sustainability Research)
In the Sustainability Research Institute we have developed approaches to understand the Greenhouse Gas emissions associated with every product we buy, wherever they were produced. These emissions have continued to increase at a worrying rate. The presentation explores how the economy and society needs to change to ensure a high quality of life for all while addressing the issue of climate change.

Big business is trying to make us go green at home
Prof William Young (Professor of Sustainability & Business)
Companies are taking over the role from government and local authorities in trying to change
householders’ behaviour and habits to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. This not only includes influencing what we buy in shops but how we travel, how we use and throw away products as well as our social practices such as how long we stay in showers and what temperature we set our washing machines. This interactive workshop will look at the reasons companies are interested in changing householder environmental behaviour, how they are doing it and if it is working.

Africa and climate change: How it is helping itself
Prof Andy Dougill (Professor of Environmental Sustainability)
As an internationally-leading climate change research centre, Leeds is working with universities,
governments, NGO’s, private companies and community groups from across 30 African countries. Our work focuses on routes for ensuring ‘climate compatible development’ pathways and how best to ensure that different groups can work together to allow climate change information to be shared openly and linked to direct decisions required of project managers, policy makers and ultimately rural communities. This overview lecture will present the latest findings from 3 major research programmes and will provide resources around decision-making challenges being faced by international NGOs, national governments and project managers in sub-Saharan Africa.

‘Do your students want to change the world?'
Dr Lucie Middlemiss (Admissions Tutor and Lecturer in Sustainability)
Students studying Geography, Economics or Politics at A level are often unaware of the less obvious, but more exciting, opportunities at degree level. In this session, led by our admissions tutor and one of our top students, we will show what’s involved in our environment-related degree programmes, and you will hear about the student experience ‘from the horse’s mouth’.

To book a place, or for more information, contact Celia Bentley at

Looks like being a great day !

On your bike...

In two months time, the greatest sporting event in the world comes to God's own country...
The Tour de France begins in Yorkshire

A resource pack for KS2 / 3 has been produced for the race, and is available to download from HERE.
There are three sections to the resource:

a) The Yorkshire Tour
b) Curriculum Spokes
c) Useful links and resources

All of which means a lot of time has been saved for anyone who might have been planning something related to the Tour.
A really lovely piece of work by all involved....

Alan Kinder on the new Geography curriculum

With additional contributions from Pat Kavanagh.

Also a new blog post by Professor Iain Stewart.

GA Conference - Beermeet

Over the last few years, I've been involved in 'organising' a beermeet to coincide with the GA Conference - a chance for conference delegates to meet up and have a chat.
It's a 'fringe' event, although there are plenty of people who turn up, and each year has got bigger than the last.
This year, we were at the Albany pub, where they'd apparently put on an extra member of staff as we warned them there would be some thirsty geographers on the way.
In the end, we had over 80 geographers turn up from all corners of the globe...
Thanks to Ewan Laurie for the organisation, and Richard Allaway / Tom Morgan Jones for the poster.
See you all next year in Manchester!

GA Conference - Writing's on the Wall - follow up for delegates

Continuing the series of blog posts following up from conference. Apologies for delay but been a tad busy...

At the conference, the workshop that I led on LITERACY had three sections to it...
Gary Dawson led the session, and started with some classic exam howlers which had a literacy element to them.

Here's a picture of me in action...
Image copyright: Rose Ledgard / Geographical Association

We created three sessions.
Gary followed up on the importance of Connectives, and Kathryn Stephenson and I talked about work we'd done in the classroom.
I talked about work around 'Touching the Void'...

Here's a WORDLE of the delegates' suggestions for what led to poor writing...

The full set of resources will shortly be available (in fact they might be there now by the time you read this) on the GA's Conference page, where delegate materials are being placed...

Short film on inequality in the UK

With thanks to the Geographical Association for the tipoff... Added to YouTube yesterday...

Section from 3 minutes onwards particularly good...

New Docs and Sheets Apps

I included a section on the use of Google Apps in the 'Fieldwork through Enquiry' book I co-wrote with John Widdowson.
Google have now released new apps for Docs and Sheets (with Slides to come soon) which make it even easier to use these apps on smartphones and tablets (there are iOS and Android versions of the Apps)

Revision Season

It's less than two weeks to the exams for some Geography specifications.... time to get into exams and revision mode...

A few years ago, I wrote a book for Badger Publishing, which can be viewed (and purchased) from the link here. It provided a range of REVISION strategies.

Just today I've had a few schools tweeting out reminders of revision materials which they have shared and made available.
TeachIt Geography subscribers will also be familiar with the resources they have access to.

Some schools are also sharing their revision materials...
Hinchingbrooke School for example are sharing their notes and also some podcasts..

What other revision materials are out there for GCSE Geographers preparing for the exam ?