Preparing for AQA GEOG2 Geographical Skills paper - first of a few posts

We are now in revision period with Year 12s as the study leave approaches. We will use this to consider the benefits of particular types of diagram for the Geography Skills paper.

You can place an image in the middle and then fill in the boxes around it as you interpret it.

Inspiring… that's me… (ish)

Inspiring the future… Chris is a former pupil who's gone onto an exciting career… one of several that I've met in the last few years, including Ben the GIS expert, and Lucy the TV weather presenter… Less than 0.01% of all the students I've ever taught, but it's a start :) 

Check out Chris's books on Brutalist architecture and related matters...


There's a competition going on the Ordnance Survey's website to win a special t-shirt by sending a picture of a TRIG POINT with the hashtag #TrigPillar80

I've just entered an image of a trig point close to where I used to live on the Norfolk coast. Give it a go.

Sample materials from new OCR A and B GCSE textbooks

But first a message from our editor: David Rogers…

You can download a copy of OCR B Sample materials as a PDF… that's being printed as we speak and will be available within weeks…

OCR A book will be a few weeks after that as it's still being finalised. Digital materials will also be available, with answers to all the activities in the book.

Send off for an inspection copy or more details, and take note of the online discount on orders before the 31st of July...

Infographic on earthquakes - an interactive map from CNBC

GA CILT Lecture - the playlist

Here's the Spotify playlist that I prepared for my lecture and had playing as people walked in and settled…
Can you suggest any other transport related songs?

Walk this May #Try20

Signed up for Living Streets #Try20 effort in May
Going to try to walk for 20 minutes each day. This will be possible during my lunch break at work I think, and then around the local area - perhaps taking a path I've never been down before (though that will be hard in my home village)

British Red Cross resource on the Nepal Earthquake - coming soon...

As you can see below, I've been busy (again) and been working on a new resource. You can now sign up to be sent further information as soon as the resource has been properly completed.

In the meantime, have a sneak preview of a video interview with one of British Red Cross's volunteers in Nepal.

But make sure you sign up first :)

Keep the Grand Canyon Grand

Another new StoryMap - links to the campaign of the same name…

Locate that Landmark

Thanks to Rob Chambers for the link to this fun quiz.

Locate that Landmark would be useful for younger students to find well known places, which they could then investigate further.
Which of them are:
a) natural features
b) man-made
c) located in National Parks
d) World Heritage Sites

You could also do it as a competition, as speed is of the essence as well as accuracy.
On my first go on my phone I scored 10,750 on Level 1 - can you beat that?

Also useful for UK Geography introduction - UK is important in GCSE Geography under the new specifications. Those taking the UK Citizenship test also need to be aware of many of these places too.

Coastal Change

For those buying the Hodder GCSE books that I co-wrote, this will make a really useful additional example for one of the activities on coastal processes and change.

Hoping to get down to see this area in the summer and revisit some of the chapters for additional images and materials as people start buying the books….

Icons of England - work with Year 5 and 6

Year 5 and 6 Explorers (in the weekly activities slot) are starting the summer term of exploration with a look at Great Britain (as we run up to the Queen's 90th Birthday). Today, I went through 100 icons of England as voted for in a web poll some time ago (I used it as part of my Pilot GCSE unit on the representation of places). There are also connections to be made with this year's title for the 'Young Geographer of the Year' competition, which looks at changes in Britain (full details should appear in the next week or so)

Students were asked to identify the icons they'd heard of from the list, and those they hadn't. I did a quick whistle-stop tour of all those they hadn't... and they were then asked to identify their chosen Top 10. This is the collation of the whole group's choices.

We will be researching these next week, to produce a visual collage representing Britain, and then focussing on Ely...

Thought for the Day

If the future's looking dark
We're the ones who have to shine
If there's no one in control
We're the ones who draw the line
Though we live in trying times
We're the ones who have to try
Though we know that time has wings
We're the ones who have to fly…

From 'Everyday Glory' by Rush
Lyrics: Neil Peart
Published by Core Music Publishing

The Queen's 90th Birthday

I'm putting together some ideas for a one-off lesson on 'The Geography of the Queen' for this Thursday, the Queen's 90th birthday, which we're celebrating at the school, and also having a red, white and blue day...
Started to organise a few infographics and information on where she has travelled, and her global significance...

There's a very nice ESRI map showing the countries she has visited.

Next - The Queen in Numbers

From Visually.

GIS Day 2016 - FREE course at my school...

Get in touch if you'd like to book a place. One teacher per school if that's OK.
Details on the poster below...

Coming soon: Mission:Explore National Parks

One of our previous projects has proved rather popular…

I'll share news of where and when you can get our new book, in association with the National Parks Authority , in a week or two's time… exciting times!!

British Red Cross - Nepal Earthquake

British Red Cross - Nepal Earthquake

Spending today getting resources ready to upload to the editors at the British Red Cross who have designers ready to work on producing the finished resource that I am working on, as we approach the anniversary of the 2015 Nepal Earthquake.
I have been given a lot of guidance from Rachel Hay, who experienced the earthquake in person.

I have been looking at some of the new video material that has been produced as part of the resource, and it's looking really good.

There is also a Flickr page of images from the earthquake that I've linked to, which can be viewed below. It will be interesting to see reports from Nepal a year on to assess the nature of the recovery, and whether it is happening in all parts of the country.

There will shortly be a page where you can sign up to be told when the resource is available. I've produced a range of interesting activities, and the resources are relevant to the new specs that people are teaching from September.

GA Conference 2016 - post 11 of 13

The afternoon of Saturday was as busy as the rest of the conference. There were several sessions relating to GeoCapabilities at this time. It was a pity that they were clashing a little. My colleague Elina Sarkella had come over from Helsinki to do a session alongside Richard Bustin talking about his PhD research, and Kelly and Duncan from the GeoCapabilities team were also doing a session on what GeoCapabilities means.

The new GeoCapabilities website is being worked on at the moment.
It makes use of story maps to hold a number of curriculum vignettes which have been put together by teachers to show how they are using particular objects in their teaching.

Another useful session that I didn't get to as it clashed with one of mine was given by the OCR Geography team. They had made use of some interesting contexts and activities to explore the city of Liverpool, including the creation of an ESRI StoryMap.

They also used a really useful hexagon diagram which showed the use of this tool to explore the stories of housing and the idea of making connections.

More on the OCR GCSE over the next few months as the books are nearing publication….

In a different league...

As I work today, I've got BT Sport open in a window on one of my screens. It's showing my local team: Norwich City playing Sunderland.

It is important that Norwich win to help their chances of avoiding relegation. There are many financial benefits of remaining in the Premiership of course, and not just for the club themselves, but also for the city of Norwich.

Ernst and Young published a very useful report in 2015 showing the benefits of the Premiership. It would make a useful document for investigating various factors which influence the fortunes of a city. Football contributes to placemaking.

Read the report and download it from here.

On the ball city!

GA Conference 2016 - post 10 of 13

After a break, I went to see the Rex Walford Memorial Lecture by Liz Taylor from Homerton College. PGCE students from Homerton used to come to my former school for their placement, and we hosted many over the years who brought their enthusiasm and ideas. We even employed 2 of them for a while: Laura and Guy, and this was a great time in the department, as they were always up for my mad ideas, as well as being strong teachers.
Rex used to come to visit the students, and we also had visits from Liz, at the time when she joined, and was putting together ideas which ended up in her excellent (Re)presenting Geography, which were trialled with students.
Liz was also very supportive of the first step that I took into research, which ended up with me having various interesting career changes in the last 10 years. I will be blogging about that in a few weeks time.

Claire shared some of Rex's book on the history of school geography, which I have a copy of, and also the way that places were represented in some of those old textbooks, and the absence of children from the old Key Geography books, which was an interesting perspective on the importance of children and their agency in the classroom at the time.

3rd issue of Weapons of Reason

I've got this on pre-order, as the first two issues on the Arctic and Megacities were amongst the most useful resources that I've bought for the last few years.
Read more about it HERE.

You can also read a sample on the importance of the world's ageing population HERE.

Twitter CPD

A few weeks ago, I asked people on various networks to let me know what the single best thing about being on Twitter was. This was in advance of a session that I was doing for a CPD day at school on Twitter. That day was today, and I had 2, 45 minute workshops with groups of colleagues to share how I use Twitter, as part of a wider INSET day.

Here's the document which collates the suggestions from colleagues and contacts from my PLN first.

I suggested 10 ideas for engaging with Twitter, starting with joining and setting up an account.

The presentation is HERE.

Photography by Simon Roberts

Some lovely images here, which are the work of Simon Roberts.

Photography is an area we're developing in my department as the summer term arrives. Watch this space for more. One competition that we're hoping to have students enter into is the University of Birmingham's competition....

We are inviting Young Geographers (studying GCSE, A-Level or equivalent Geography course) to enter our photography competition, addressing the theme Geography on my doorstep.’ This Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences (GEES) photography competition is open to all interpretations of geography, spanning human and physical environments.

Paul Turner's QGIS Lecture

Film of Paul Turner and Adam Dennett's lecture at the GA Conference. You can also see the slides HERE.
This was one of two projects funded by the RGS-IBG's Innovative Geography Teaching grants last year, and the other one was this one (which was me and Ben Hennig's 'take' on Census exploration)

Paul Berry's session at the GA on maps

Last year, Paul Berry's final session at the GA Teachmeet was a highlight of the conference for a lot of people. This year, he was up next to last, but I loved his exploration of a year spent away from home on fieldwork through his career, told through the medium of beer… See my Teachmeet post from a few posts back for the link to the clip where you can find out about scree cuddling and gryke snorkelling. I have to admit to some erratic rolling in my time as well... the bloke from the National Park authority was not impressed when he saw our video footage though...

I missed Paul's main workshop session which was titled, "Might as well face it, you're addicted to maps", and I made an appearance as one of Robert Palmer's backing musicians...
You can see Paul's presentation below.

I liked the idea that a quarter of people in the UK had booked a holiday without knowing where they were going on the map - I would suggest it might actually be more than that - and even within the UK.

You can read about the session on his blog post here: DEVON GEOGRAPHY is his blog.

Hay... it's Carl and Danny

Go and see Danny Dorling and Carl Lee at the Hay Festival talking about their excellent new book which I reviewed in an earlier blog post. The end of May...

Panopticon - new from Ollie O' Brien

A useful addition for those exploring my CILT resource, particularly the chapter following the route of a London Routemaster bus.
This is new from Ollie O' Brien, who is a regular feature in my teaching with his data tools and visualisations…
He's called it the PANOPTICON, and you can use it to keep an eye on traffic flow in various London locations, and the all important Routemaster buses of course.
Use it for a transport Census, or to see which companies are delivering to city locations.

Coverage in the Standard here.

The CILT materials have been launched 'officially' at the GA conference, and I appeared in Transport news in Fact Magazine and also in CILT news.

GA South London Branch

A new GA South London branch has launched, and has a special event to kick-off, linked to the new OCR B GCSE specification for which I've been co-writing the textbooks.

We are delighted to launch the Geographical Association's South London Branch, held at Harris City Academy Crystal Palace. Joining us at the event will be representatives from OCR who will be leading a session on getting ready to teach the new OCR B specification. We welcome all teachers considering OCR B at GCSE, from both within and outside of the Harris Federation. 
The evening will also provide an excellent opportunity for networking amongst likeminded geography teachers, and to develop stronger links with the exam board. 
We hope to see you there! 

I chatted with Richard Maurice from the Harris Federation at the Teachmeet at the GA Conference, where he talked about the ideas that we have been developing in the GeoCapabilities project.

They are holding an event on the 22nd of June.

You can register for a FREE ticket HERE.

The missing Only GeoConnect round

I couldn't get this music round to work on Friday at the GA, so here's the music now. 90 seconds to work out the connection between the music. It's easy to do now of course because you can see the titles, but test it out on somebody else.

GA Conference 2016 - post 9 of 13

The 2nd day of the conference started a little later for me, as there wasn't a session in the first part of the day that caught my eye, so I arrived just after 9, and talked to a few other delegates. I enjoyed the session that was being delivered by Helen Clarke and Sharon Witt on #pigeongeography, particularly their little pigeons which they were handing out. I spent part of the morning with it on my finger, and forgot it was there after a while. It was also a chance to find out a little more about mobile devices, and chat with Peter Knight from Keele University, who is a big Twitter friend.

To find out more about Pigeon Geographies, go to the Attention2Place twitter feed.

Here's Gemma Kent and I with our pigeons...

GA Conference 2016 - post 8 of 13

After Claire's lecture, we both agreed that it was 'time for a beer', so we went down to where the food and drink had been set out for the 2nd GA Teachmeet. This was going to be held in one of the lecture theatres, and after Becks and Pork pies, it was time for people to head upstairs. Sadly, Jo Debens was unable to attend, so I stood in to take her slot. As is usual, there was an introduction by David Rogers, followed by a random slot machine to choose who spoke. Simon Ross was up first, describing a resource relating to Iceland. Bob Lang introduced people to Windyty: a version of Nullschool but with historic data.
The next name out of the slot machine was mine. I spoke about my GeoLibrary project, and my Blipfoto activity over the last five years.

Richard Allaway was there with a 360 degree camera, and took the image below... I'm there if you look closely.

It was good to see so many people there at the end of a long day. Well done to David Rogers, Jo Debens and Richard Allaway for their organisation, and to Richard, Discover the World and others for sponsoring the event.

Here were the speakers:

1. 35 Years of Fieldwork - Paul Berry @unicorn4275
2. GeoLibrary - Alan Parkinson - me...
3. Getting ready for GIS Day 2016 - Raphael Heath @rhsb_geography
4. Bringing knowledge back; powerful knowledge in the Geography classroom - Richard Maurice @hfgeography
5. Investigating a sense of place using - Simon Ross
6. Connecting geography and literacy - from rapping to letter writing - Catherine Owen @GeogMum
7. Sharing Our Geography Debating Competition - James Riley
8. Using SOLO for challenge and assessment without levels at KS3 - Judith Roberts @JudithRoberts
9. Literacy @ KS5 - avoiding 'writingeverythingIknow' syndrome - Judy Gleen
10. From Abigail to ..... visualising storms - Bob Lang @boblanggeog
11. Cardboard - Richard Allaway @richardallaway

If you want to see the event, it was live streamed and recorded on YouTube and can be seen HERE.

After the event, I walked down to the Lass O' Gowrie pub with a few colleagues, and the pub was already very busy with geographers.
I stayed longer than expected because there were plenty of people to talk to, and the Raspberry Blonde that I was drinking was very tasty. Richard got his 360 camera out again, and captured me in conversation.

Countdown in the Classroom

I'm not sure why Rachel Riley had to be shown dressed quite as she is if this is for classroom use, but this is a good interactive tool for generating letters, numbers or conundrums for form time or similar circumstances.

Play Countdown on the IWB.

Ian Cook on the beginnings of Follow the Things

I've worked with Ian several times over the years. I first met him in 2006 (10 years ago now!) when he took part in the Young People's Geographies project. I took a group of students over to Leicester for the first meeting, and Ian talked about his research. Latterly, I was involved in leading the YPG when I worked at the GA, and took it to its conclusion.

Later, I worked with Ian on new content for the Follow the Things website, working on producing some educational materials and approaches to get the idea into more schools. This involved a nice few days working down in Exeter.

Most recently, I helped with the contents of an English version of a pack on culture hacking which will be published shortly.

Watch Ian talk about his influences, and an important element of his work in the video above. I'm going to use some of those ideas in some writing I'm doing at the moment for a coffee company.

GA Conference 2016 - post 7 of 13

After my lecture and that of Richard Allaway, there was a pause for refreshments and networking, and I chatted to a few other presenters.

It was then up to the room where my colleague Claire Kyndt was going to do her first solo lecture. We had done a joint presentation the previous year on our work in our geography department.

Claire had prepared a wonderful presentation, which can be downloaded from this link here.

There was a good turnout for her session, which wasn't in one of the main lecture theatres sadly, and also came at the end of a very long day, and it's a pity there weren't more people here to see and hear it. Fortunately, the GA President, and Senior Vice President were both there amongst other appreciative delegates, one of whom said that it was the best thing they'd seen all day.... and they were in my lecture too (actually they weren't...)

Hopefully this will be turned into an article for a GA journal.

A great way to end the first day's formal proceedings...

GA Conference 2016 - post 6 of 13

Richard Allaway was next in the lecture theatre after me. He was talking about Social Media, so my colleague Claire and I hung around for this lecture. Richard went through the ways that he uses Social media, and gave some excellent ideas for using it, which I will use in a few future presentations.
This meant missing the lecture by Nick Crane, but I have seen him speak before at the RGS-IBG.

GA Conference 2016 - post 5 of 13

After a strange mixture of food for lunch, it was time to head to the lecture theatre for my CILT lecture. There were 2 colleagues from the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport there to see the lecture. Thanks to those colleagues who came to see the lecture - it was a good turn out.

Image copyright: Claire Kyndt

The slides are available below, and will also start to appear on the conference page HERE.

The lecture and other commitments meant that I missed my colleague Stephen Schwab's fieldwork workshop, where we launched our 'five minute fieldwork plan' resource sheet. There are plenty of other Fieldwork resources on the GA website.

GA Conference 2016 - post 4 of 13

At the first break, I got the chance to hold mocked up copies of the books I've been working on for over 18 months.

There are several of them.

The largest was the AS / A level book that I've been both editing and co-writing for Cambridge University Press for the AQA specification.

I've been rewriting the chapter on Place this week too. This was accompanied by the 2 GCSE books that I've co-written for Hodder. These are for the OCR 'A' and 'B' specs, with the latter book coming out first, as it's the most popular of the 2 specs that OCR are offering I understand. I've also worked on a range of supporting materials for the books as well. Exciting times.

I will let you know as soon as they are published, and full available for sale, and include all the relevant weblinks as well.

They can be pre-ordered of course from the publishers' websites.

Twitter CPD

I'm leading a session on Twitter at a whole school INSET on Friday

What's the single BEST thing you've got out of using Twitter?

Answer as a comment below, e-mail or send me a tweet please :)

GA Conference 2016 - post 3 of 13

The first main lecture I went to was by Bob Digby, and looked at the DME or decision making exercises.

I sat with my colleague Claire, who had arrived during the lecture, and we were looking forward to the day ahead. I could listen to Bob for a long time, and he shared ideas for writing exercises for the new exam specifications. I think the lecture had been recorded by Eduqas so may well appear in the future as with other Eduqas lectures in the past.

This was one of a group of lectures which the conference offered to delegates on particular pathways. There was also a reception, but as I was about to deliver a lecture I wasn't tempted by the wine...

GA Conference 2016 - post 2 of 13

The first day of the conference started bright and early... and delegates started arriving. I took my first look at the new venue at the University of Manchester.

Bryan Ledgard has now shared some of his images from the event on the GA Flickr page and there are a few of me lurking in the background.

I started by collecting my programme, and visiting a few stalls to see the mock-up copies of the books that I've been working on for the last couple of years nearly... They are looking good, but will be good to get them published, and on sale. I started by moving up to the first of our SPC workshops called 'Changing the Subject'. It was good to see so many colleagues in the room - our SPC workshops are always well attended and get good feedback. Also good to see the Chief Executive Alan Kinder in there.

I also saw half of Duncan Hawley's lecture on interpreting landscapes, with a geology focus.
After the first break, I went in to the main lecture theatre to wait for Steve Rawlinson's Presidential lecture. The room filled up, and I sat up at the back.

Steve gave a really personal and personable lecture which took us on his geographical journey and had some great ideas. He did run out of time a little, but then I tend to as well... A really good element of the conference had slotted into place wonderfully.

Earlier it had been announced that Stephen Scoffham had won the election for the GA Presidency and is now the Junior Vice President for next year.

GA Conference 2016 Official Photos

Bryan Ledgard is the official photographer at the GA Conference, and also does much of the design work on GA publications and has done for years…
Here's over 400 photos from this year's conference… see how many of them you can see that feature me… or yourself if you were there…

Favela tourism: a good idea?

An interesting article which explores the issue of favela tourism in Brazilian cities.

A new bill being debated by the city council calls for formally designating favelas as “areas of special tourism interest” in order to regulate how tour companies operate there. The proposal includes getting input from locals on where visitors should go, as well as promoting “community-based tourism” that benefits the local population.
I was sent a load of favela photos about 10 years ago by Marie Hart, and one of them is shown here.
Image copyright: Marie Hart

Favelas are home to many millions of people in cities in LIDCs.
The article explores the growing thoughts of people calling it slum tourism, and describing it as voyeuristic. Also links to the idea of thanatourism.

This comes at a time when favelas have been cleared for the Rio de Janeiro Olympics, and communities impacted by that, which have perhaps been developing for decades but will be lost for the sake of a few weeks of sport.
There's a useful research paper as a PDF here looking at the overall value of this activity.

There are quite a few related articles. I'm going to write a little more about this over the next few months for another writing project.

GIS tool countdown from Raphael Heath

Posting this now, but will come back to this when I get as far as the Teachmeet at the GA Conference. This is Raphael Heath's 'Top 10' GIS countdown with links to various tools, and a trail for the 2016 World GIS Day event that he is planning…

GA Conference resource - Padlet from session on HS2 and Fieldwork

A spot of Pat for you...

Working on several things this morning, and this music is keeping me a little focussed... A classic from nearly 40 years ago!!

Pat Metheny - Icefire from Pat Metheny on Vimeo.

Drone Guesser

A nice twist on the old GeoGuessr game.

Guess the location from Drone Footage.

You can get lucky sometimes, I was only 6 miles away on my first guess… Or be put into some anonymous woodland somewhere.
On my first go I scored 6731 points. Can you beat that?

GA Conference 2016 - post 1 of 13

The first of 13 posts summing up my experience of this year's Manchester conference, along with resources and links to the things I contributed to.

This year, that included 4 presentations including a Teachmeet input and a number of other events, plus countless conversations.

Before I get stuck into that, I'd like to thank those who ended the conference with my Only GeoConnect session, which was a bit of an experiment and had a few technical issues, but seemed to go OK and was enjoyed by those people who came along - it could become a conference regular perhaps...
If anyone wanted to access the 'Connecting Walls' from the session, I created 4 just in case, and they are linked to HERE, HERE, HERE and HERE.

If you want the quiz rounds, then drop me an e-mail, or DM me on Twitter and I'll send them to you. They're also in a Google Drive folder HERE.

My conference journey started with the long journey to Manchester. I checked into the hotel and then walked down to the new venue for the evening lecture, and this turned out to be a very good move.
The lecture is open to anyone, and was given this year by John Raine, who worked in West Africa during 2014-15 and helped fight the battle against the spread of Ebola. The lecture was splendid.

Image shared on DFID Flickr page under Creative Commons license

I will share some notes in a later blog post.
After the lecture was the awards, which started quite rightly with Alan Kinder remembering Doreen Massey. Doreen was mentioned in almost all the sessions that I saw. Well done to all those collecting awards. For the first time in about 6 years I didn't win anything - which was shocking :) Although Digital Explorer did get a Silver and I've written chunks of that, so will claim that ;)

After that, it was over for the wine reception, before a pizza and then a pint in the Salisbury with Simon Oakes and Richard Bustin. A great start to the 2016 conference.

12 more posts to come over the next few weeks...

Finally, here's a Flickr album of some of my photos from the event.

Train from China to Lyon

A freight train set off from China a few days ago, heading for Lyon, to open the new freight route between China and France.
This has come just as I finished off my CILT lecture for the GA Conference, and shows again the up to date and contemporary nature of the subject.

Wildlife Map Competition from Digimap for Schools

Digimap for Schools has announced a map competition today which is open to Primary Schools.

It's a chance to get a visit to your school from Steve Backshall.

Here's (one of) the exciting part(s)

If you are not already subscribed to Digimap for Schools you can sign up for 30 days free access to Digimap for Schools to make your map.

Wildlife map competition

Can your pupils take a photo that will bring Steve Backshall to your school?

Eligible Schools

This competition is open to all schools in GB who have pupils up to Year 6 or Primary 7.

How to enter

Ask your pupils to take photographs that evidence wildlife in the locality of the school and pin them to a map using Digimap for Schools.
Already a Digimap for Schools user? Log into the service as normal using the link on the left-hand side and make your map!
Use the teacher and pupil instructions to help you plan where to look for wildlife, make and submit your map.
Have a look at the sample map to get an idea of how your map should look.
Click to view the competition rules.


Steve Backshall will take up to 30 of your pupils on a wildlife walk and speak at your school assembly.
Bonus prizes of books signed by Steve Backshall will also be sent to the 2 most interesting individual photos from schools tweeted each week with the hashtag #wildlifemap.
Promote the competition around your school to get pupils and staff interested by printing off and displaying one of these posters!

Make lots of maps!

During this free month all teachers and pupils at your school can make as many maps as they like, so this is a good opportunity to deliver some map skills teaching in geography and to find out what your school area looked like in the 1950s and 1890s.

Get cracking!

Friday treat at the GA Conference

If you're heading to the GA Conference over the next 2 days, you should end the first (long) day by heading to 2.219 for 5.30 ish, and you can catch this session...

GA Conference 2016 - Friday

One of the lectures I'll definitely be going to, as I'm chairing it, will be presented by my colleague Claire Kyndt.
You can follow her on Twitter at @Asperatus07 

British Red Cross resource on the Nepal Earthquake

Amongst all the other stuff that I'm doing at the moment, is a resource that is currently half way complete, and which I hope to complete before the end of the month. It's a new resource toolkit on natural disasters for the British Red Cross, which has a focus on the Nepal Earthquake, but looks at the issues linked to humanitarian aid by agencies, particularly the work of the British Red Cross, following natural disasters. It explores the impacts over time, and has resources for KS3, GCSE and 'A' level students.

Here's one of the resources that I came across during my research below. You can search this blog for more on Nepal as well using the box in the top left.

I'm grateful to Rachel Hay for her substantial support and sharing her own personal story of being in the earthquake.

Here's another traffic CCTV video too, which shows the everyday traffic before the earthquake.

 I'll let you know when the resource is available, and how you can get hold of it.

Connectivity: a force that will shape the planet

Not sure I like the phrase 'connectography', but it's an interesting idea…

Mercalli Earthquake Interactive

Choose your level and watch the animation… I used to have another version of this which was excellent but has been lost over the years… This is a good one…

Touching the past… a curriculum artefact...

This arrived today. 
It's a small brass disc, which has been worn smooth to the touch. On one side it says N.C.B (National Coal Board) and around the bottom edge it says "Silverwood Colliery". On the other side is the number 220. There is a circular hole punched at the top.

It follows a post a few days ago about the threats facing Tata Steel, and the story of my own family's industrial 'heritage'. My granddad worked at Silverwood Colliery, and although I very much doubt that this was his token, he would have known the man whose number this was. It was exchanged for a safety lamp, and latterly other equipment, and then in turn replaced by, of all things, a swipe card...

There was a board at the top of the lift shaft where tokens were replaced, and this was a visual check that everyone who went down to the seams had come back up again… and that all the lamps had been returned. It was also a check that the miner was actually 'at work' and apparently also acted as a time check in terms of clocking on and off...

It's a small metal disc, but it represents part of someone's daily working life in an industry which has disappeared, but which shaped the landscape (cultural as well as physical) of large parts of the UK. It is a way in to a lost industry, and could act as something to hang a lesson on… and it also forms part of what Christine Counsell (who I'm co-presenting with at an RGS event in a month's time) would call my 'content repertoire'. Which could also relate to the idea of powerful knowledge...

Practical Pedagogies 2016

Flights are booked for this event in Toulouse in November, and my colleague Claire is coming along as well, which is good to hear, so King's Ely are well represented.
If you are coming along, my session is called 'The Power of Geographical Information'.
And if you're wondering where I am on the line-up team photo, I'm circled here in green.

See you there…

Looking forward to my trip here the day after as well…

Image: Richard Allaway - shared under Creative Commons license

GA Conference 2016

So yesterday. I needed to try to get my head around the GA Conference later this week. I had a lecture to finish, which I managed, and then a session called Only GeoConnect which looks like being a real last-minute job, as I still have quite a few questions to write. I'm working on that now. If you've seen the TV series you'll know what to expect perhaps (or not)
I'll be supporting the SPC workshops that we are running, and supporting several friends who are presenting. I'm chairing a lecture that is being given by my colleague, Claire, on the use of curriculum artefacts, and visiting sessions by other project colleagues.

I will also be attending the Teachmeet and Beermeet on the Friday evening.
Once I get the conference programme booklet I'll confirm the sessions I'm going to, and blogging during the event itself, but as always there are many different sessions, and some of them inevitably clash.

Here's the handout from my lecture which will accompany the slides, which I'll share in various places as usual after the event.

CILT Lecture Handout from GeoBlogs

If you're around, come and say hi, I'll be wearing this hoodie, unless it's too warm…

While in Manchester, you'll also be able to catch the first day of the Shackleton Enduring Eye exhibition, which has moved to the Central Library from the Royal Geographical Society.
I will see you there !

Nepal Earthquake on CCTV

Just came across this video, which is a really useful resource for considering the idea of risk and hazard.
Watch the video and record the various hazards that you see.... and how they change over time...

Working today on a new resource for the British Red Cross....

Index of Multiple Deprivation

Thanks to Jason Sawle for sharing this new resource that he made using Microsoft SWAY.

Job vacancy at the GA

Would suit a Primary expert…

Primary Curriculum Leader

The Geographical Association is seeking a dynamic and passionate primary geography specialist to take a lead on our curriculum and professional development work. You’ll be an expert in geography education and have your finger on the pulse when it comes to professional development and professional networking. You’ll be knowledgeable about curriculum change, effective teaching strategies and subject leadership in the primary phase, have recent classroom experience and a proven track record in raising achievement through educational projects and initiatives. Above all you’ll share the GA’s views on the importance of geography in education and have the drive and vision to support the GA’s charitable mission to ‘further geographical knowledge and understanding through education’.
The GA is the leading subject association for all teachers of geography. It is a thriving community of practice with an unrivalled understanding of geography education. The GA provides support for professionals through its journals, publications, training events and other activities. It gives a voice to geography education and exerts a significant influence on public debate and policy. Whilst much of the Association’s work and support is based in England and Wales, its reach across the geographical education community internationally is significant.
Part-time post (0.4-0.6 FTE) - salary range £38,260 –£44,402 (pro rata)
Closing date for applications: 12 noon, Tuesday 3 May 2016

Cruise ship in the North West Passage

More to come on this in a future post...

Fracking the Fylde for GEOG4B

Or as the hashtag goes #frackingthefylde

This is the title of AQA GEOG4B paper, and some of you may have come to this post as a result of a search for resources. If so, my choice of title worked…

Check out the rest of the blog while you're here :)

I'm not teaching Year 13 this year, but we are making use of the ZigZag pack, which is produced each year as part of the preparations.
You can follow the ZigZag folks on Twitter where they are sharing some resources that might be relevant for those who buy their pack. My colleagues have it on order, and will be moving on to that when they return to school in a couple of week's time. I've put a page on our department's VLE which has a load of links.

Here are a few resources. A VIMEO video: 

Fracking explained – opportunity or danger from Kurzgesagt on Vimeo.

This has some key information.

You should also visit the AQA Geography Ning and sign up of you're not already a member. There are various discussions taking place here with reference to the GEOG4B paper.

Build your own planet

Thanks to Danny Nicholson for the tipoff to Oskar Stalberg's browser-based planet building tool.
It's a polygonal planet maker.
A Tumblr of images here.

Details here

Iceland - its relationship with tectonic activity

A BBC Earth interactive.

A lovely piece of work - scroll down to read...
Click to access.

Richard Donnelly's Migration Studies

Picked up on this earlier in the week and it looks like being a fantastic piece of work. Just downloading the associated eBook now.

It's a Year 7 project on migration which focusses on the stories of migrants.

The eBook can be downloaded from this link if you are interested.

An idea to explore when I have a moment...

GeoCapabilities at the AAG

Even though I didn't make it to the AAG (see previous post), a StoryMap that I made at least got there…
It's part of the GeoCapabilities project that I've been working on, and which will be launching its new website very soon.

Steel yourself for bad news...

My family's history is one of coal and steel… 
Grandparents and parents worked in both industries. My granddad was a coal miner and latterly a Pit Deputy. My other grandfather, along with my dad worked at some of the most famous steel locations there are/were. My dad worked at Steel Peech and Tozer initially, and then moved to Templeborough. I remember my mum driving him to work in what must have been the late 1960s and I'd see him walking into the huge sheds that lined the roads between Rotherham and Sheffield, with the noise of the blast furnaces and hammers… It became part of British Steel around that time.

Later in his career he moved to Aldwarke and to the 11" mill at Parkgate, where it became Corus. In 2009, there were a lot of job losses at the plant, but my dad had just retired by then, after over 45 years as a steelworker and engineer. My mum worked in a college in Dinnington: another South Yorkshire mining village, and a great many of my classmates got jobs at Maltby Colliery when they left school. It wasn't exactly KES though… I didn't have a pet kestrel and I remembered to take my shorts to PE. I also remember the Miners' strike and various events, including the Battle of Orgreave, which was a few miles from home, and shook collection buckets for donations at various events around Yorkshire at the time. It didn't politicise me in the same way as it did some of my friends, but it has stuck with me since.

There was a quote in the article in the Independent above which resonates seven years later: 

Yet still the suspicion remains that cash might have been more forthcoming if the workers here had been "wearing bowler hats rather than hard hats"

Now we have a new threat to steel jobs in Rotherham, and other locations such as Port Talbot with the threatened closure of Tata steel plants and premises. My uncle worked in the specialist steel works on Moorgate in Rotherham too, now owned by Tata.
This useful article was shared by the Guardian to chime with the quote above, on the relative costs of bailing out the industry compared to the banks.

There are several problems which are said to be combining to create the current problems:
  • A strong pound means UK steel exports are more expensive than foreign competitors
  • The industry says it is unfairly burdened by high taxes on the energy it uses
  • Chinese demand for steel has slumped
  • The steel price has fallen by 30% as cheap Chinese steel has flooded the market.
The analysis doesn't look good, and Rotherham could be hit with another jobs blow, along with the other communities which have steel at their heart. They may join the communities where my granddad once went to work with his snap tin, to pick up his lamp and pit check token before descending into the darkness, and home in the evening to scrub himself clean, black bright' with coal: communities which have lost the industry that lay at their heart, and provided a large part of their identity and 'sense of place'.