Numeracy Skills

A very useful site for those needing information on numeracy skills, produced by the University of Surrey / Leicester.
With the extra focus on quantitative skills in the new qualifications, there'll be quite a few teachers who find this useful.
One to bookmark...

Mission:Explore National Parks

A nice post by Dan explaining part of the process that led to our latest Mission:Explore book being developed, and how we each contributed to it within Explorer HQ.

New experiences for King's Ely students...

Already lined up:
1. A visit from the Google Expeditions team from the Open University
2. A visit from Dan Raven Ellison to talk about his project to walk across all UK Cities and National Parks.
3. A trial of new Do it Kits - microclimate weather stations
4. A new Fentastic Geography unit, with some input from the Ouse Washes partnership...
5. New fieldtrip to the Norfolk coast, complete with Seal boat trip and a day at Cley Marshes and Cromer.

Find out more by following my departmental account @KingsElyGeog or the blog

Teachmeet RGS - November 2016

There are only a few tickets left for the 2nd Teachmeet to be held at the Royal Geographical Society.
As I have some free time on Wednesday afternoons in my timetable next year, I was able to make the date this time round, and have also signed up to present at the event.
It's the week after the Practical Pedagogies event in Toulouse, so I will be sharing a slimmed down version of my presentation there, on the Power of Geographical Information.

Once a blue planet… and Ozark

Reminded of this earlier today… a classic from Jean Luc Ponty…

Followed by this from Pat Metheny and Lyle Mays

Thought for the Day

Tickets now available... The Making of a National Park City

Click to enlarge...

Submarine resource and expedition with VR

Jamie Buchanan Dunlop's latest venture has connected him with the Nekton Mission and a submarine expedition.
The expedition takes place in Bermuda.

Follow the Twitter account and click the eduction tab to download a range of free resources for teaching about the Oceans.

Rio Olympics 2016

A tweet this morning from Steve Mouldey reminded me of the document I created ahead of the London Olympics in 2012

I thought it might be useful to start a new document for the Rio Olympics.

Durham University Geography Conference resources

Thanks to Emma Hughes for letting me know about an event that took place at Durham University, put on by the Geography department at the university. This was a geography conference for teachers, with a number of lectures by Professor Mike Crang and colleagues at the Geography department. Lots of them are suitable for the new 'A' level specifications.

Please let Mike know if you are using the resources.
There needs to be more connection between academic geography departments and school geography departments.

Australian Fieldwork resource

Thanks to Stephen Matthews for the link to a great new resource on fieldwork using spatial technologies.

Fancy a coffee?

So today, I FINALLY after a long process finished the draft materials for a new section of the Costa for Schools website, which I originally authored a few years ago now, and is going to be refreshed in the next few months, and updated with extra lesson plans, and new curriculum links that I've written, using materials and information provided by the company.

There is already an excellent resource on the main Costa website called The Costa Experience which takes an animated look at the journey from Bean to Cup.

To get you in the mood, here's a nice little video which shows some of the back story that goes into the cup of coffee that you get when you visit a Costa.
Flat white for me please...

Portugal Trip - post 2

More from my trip to Portugal...
This is funded by ERASMUS, which I blogged about a few days ago as potentially being threatened by Brexit...

Day 2

Temperature was forecast to be over 40 degrees, and we met the group at the school. The plan was to introduce ideas of learning, and theories relating to pedagogy.

Session 1 was a chance to introduce myself and my own thinking about the purpose of education, and the experiences, which had shaped my teaching and writing over the last 30 years. After around 350 CPD sessions around the world over the last eight years, this was one of only a few where I was speaking to educators who were not geographers, so my discussions had to be more ‘generic’ in the sense that I couldn’t assume that the activities I used were applicable to a teacher of philosophy. There were also four or five of the group who had limited English, so my comments were translated a few slides at a time into Turkish, which meant pausing, and waiting to see that no further clarification was needed. My thanks to Nihal and Yusuf who did the translating.

After the first hour, we broke for the first of many glasses of hot black tea and biscuits and fruit. The outside temperature was soaring.

Session 2 started to develop the idea of connectedness, and the importance of this in developing teacher pedagogy. It was one of several words beginning with ‘C’ which influence our practice (although not all of them started with a ‘C’ when they were translated into Turkish). I shared the idea of geographical enquiry and we talked through Alex Couros’ model of the connected teacher. I learned about some of the connections they used, including some of the national VLE and network tools that are used in Turkey.

Having developed our connections we broke for lunch.

This was at O Raposo, and we had the first of quite a few grilled sea bream which were cooked perfectly. Lunch was an unhurried affair again, as was the walk to and from the restaurant, in baking heat.

Session 3 covered all afternoon, with a break for black tea, was in an ICT classroom in another part of the school building, with a view overlooking the municipal swimming pool, which was popular given the temperatures, and the fact that the school holidays were well underway in Portugal. I moved from the personal to the theoretical, and outlined some of the main theories of learning and pedagogy, drawing on ideas from Piaget to Vygotsky. We discussed how applicable these might be, and also discussed the greater focus on the assessment in Turkish schools, and why it was important that teachers thought about the methods they used, as young learners are exposed to different tools and experiences. We also reminded ourselves of Dewey’s comments that education was not just about preparing for future lives, it was a major part of young people’s lives for many reasons. I heard some really positive stories from the colleagues of their careers in Turkish schools. One of the ideas was about the context of learning and how it might influence pedagogy, and this came against the backdrop of the attempted coup in Turkey, which took place after the group had left the country, and which attracted great interest whenever a news story came on the TV in the restaurants where we found ourselves each day.

The first day ended with a summary of the main ideas that had been covered, at around 5pm, just after the peak of the heat, so it was back to Cuba to cool down in a pool with a cold Sagres and some local rose wine.

In the evening we went back to O Raposo for a meal, before I was challenged to a pool competition, which I won of course.


Me with some Zappa
Vidigeuira in the heat
Some connections
Me and Jaime with Mission:Explore slide

Pokemon Go - a Geography resource?

I've previously blogged about PokemonGo, and its cultural significance in the short term. There has been so much written about the impact of this app that there are bound to be any number of conference papers and other connections with the classroom in the new academic year (if people are still playing it then...)
For example, here's a great article which asks the question:
Should Nature conservationists be worried about the app?

I decided to produce another Google Drive document, which collated stories about Pokemon Go, but also some ideas from teachers about how they were thinking of using it.
Feel free to send me any further ideas or resources, or add as a comment below.

Steve Backshall and Mission:Explore National Parks

An excellent Ordnance Survey Blog post which says a lot of nice things about the Mission:Explore National Parks book. It also features a short video with Steve Backshall.

The Mission:Explore team compiled the book after putting a huge selection of challenges to the vote by schoolchildren, with the favourites selected to be published.

It’s the seventh book the Mission:Explore team have released, since winning the Geovation Challenge in 2010, when they wowed the team with their exciting ideas using geography. If you haven’t come across them before, the project encourages people, and especially children, to see, explore and act in new ways.
Mission:Explore founders saw the subject of geography being marginalised, and in schools and neighbourhoods children’s physical geographies being reduced due to risk aversion. And they wanted to change that.

Rainforest Alliance video

National Parks Week

All this week.
Coincides with the exciting official launch of our new Mission:Explore National Parks book

I absolutely LOVE this book, drawing a cow-pat emoji is a must-try! It’s so important to encourage kids to enjoy our UK National Parks from an early age and instil a love of the countryside that will last all their lives thus helping to secure the future of our protected landscapes
Julia Bradbury, TV Presenter including 'Countryfile'

National Parks Week 2016

National Parks Week is the National Parks family's annual celebration of everything that is unique and wonderful about Britain's breathing spaces.
It runs from Monday 25 to Sunday 31 July 2016.

The theme for National Parks Week 2016 is adventure
. With diverse landscapes, activities and events there's an adventure waiting at whatever scale suits you! 

One way to ensure that adventures take place is to get hold of a copy of Mission:Explore National Parks.
Available from all National Park shops for £5 or 500p....

I'm off to the Norfolk Broads later in the week for my National Park adventure...

In London this summer?

Check out this exhibition...

No more ERASMUS?

There were articles in two of the UK broadsheet newspapers today: the Telegraph and the Guardian suggesting that there may be some problems with UK schools and institutions getting involved in future ERASMUS schemes as a result of the Brexit vote.

This would be a disaster if it was the case.

A look at the projects that were given funding this year alone shows thousands of school pupils who are benefitting from it.

I am involved in 2 major projects: the GeoCapabilities and the GI Learner project (the latter with my school as a partner) which has allowed me to meet and work with teachers, academics and young people from across the EU and beyond...
I have just returned from a week in Portugal working with Turkish colleagues, which was excellent, and funded by ERASMUS, and we also have the MOOS project at school as well as other teacher exchanges that colleagues are involved with.

ERASMUS will continue of course, but UK students, teachers and academics may be denied from taking part in these exchanges which bring so much value with them. I expect that MFL teachers may notice this more than other subjects as the majority of UK education projects in the list seem to be about language teaching.

Not sure what we can do about this, but educators can blog about the value of their involvement and no doubt some concerted social media effort and hashtag will emerge in time as the picture becomes clearer...

Sigur Ros - Route One

I posted about the Sigur Ros Route One journey back in June. Here's a time lapse version of it: a 24 hour continuous streamed journey around Iceland. I shared this on my GIS Day that I hosted at the school.

 The music is now available as an iOS app, which is a continuously updating and evolving. Search for Sigur Ros Route One.

You can also see the journey in 24 stages, and in 360 degrees if you want it to be. Part One is shown below.

Portugal trip - Post 1

After my trip to Salzburg last week, it was time to head off again.
This time, to work in Portugal with my friend Jaime Araujo in the city of Vidigueira in the Alentejo region of the country.

Here's a brief report...

Another trip to Vidigueira, this time to lead a week long course for a group of Turkish educators, including teachers of a range of curriculum subjects, accompanied by two colleagues from the local Ministry of Education. They had chosen from a number of courses, which had been developed a few years previously, and had a six hour journey from their home city of Malatya, outside of Istanbul.

The course they had chosen is entitled:
“Different ways of learning in pedagogy and andragogy: different visions and techniques”, and is a chance to discuss the theories of learning that apply to children, and compare them with some ideas, such as those of Malcolm Knowles on how adults learn.

The course was hosted by the school in Vidigueira I had previously worked at, which is in the Alentejo region, about 130km SE of Lisbon.

Day 1
Travel from Stansted – Lisbon, and then on to Cuba. In the evening, there was a trip to O Raposo, to meet the group, and start the conversations that would carry on for the next 4 days. This was the first of several visits to this restaurant, down a side street in Vidigueira, very much for locals, and overseen by an unhurried, and calm owner, whose wife was doing all the cooking. We were entertained by some acapella singing by one of the customer’s children.

And some images from the trip:

Center Parcs

Another excellent trip to Center Parcs last weekend….
This little fellow was one of the visitors to our house in the woods.

1966 World Cup Map

The Ordnance Survey has created a map which shows the birthplace of football players from 1966 and more details about the tournament.

Pokemon Go

There's been a fair bit of interest in Pokemon Go over the last few days. I was interested in the educational value of this, as a way of encouraging 'exploration' in search of more animals or other resources. There've been lots of connections in the news relating to how it might be used to attract victims by criminals, for example, and the notion of how it changes spaces and public engagement with them, and has also helped a few people leave the house who previously had social anxiety.

I downloaded the app, and have started to capture a few nearby Pokemon (I don't get a mobile signal in my village so am tied to the wifi signal).

Also had a quick look when I was in a nearby town, and saw a couple of other people paying a suspicious amount of interest in their phone screen. There were also some people playing it in Portugal last week. I've started to collect articles which refer to the possible use (or not) of the app for education, the way that it connects with GIS (such as ESRI mapping) and the way that it also encourages young people to go outside and perhaps engage with spaces in different ways. I'll share these in a future post, but just wanted to put this here, so that you could see that I'm thinking about this (and will be writing about it for the GA Webwatch column too) and also the economic benefits for Nintendo, and Apple who get a fee every time the app is downloaded….

Let me know of any exciting and interesting Pokemon Go developments which are connected with Geography and I'll add them to the final post and article.

Gotta blog 'em all...

New reading and fascination

As regular readers of the blog will know, I'm an enthusiast for all things geographical, and in addition to that, I will also have my occasional focus on particular topics for a period of time.
At the moment, my interests include logistics, and what lies behind the transportation of people and goods around the world.
This book explores the value of logistics, and the role for companies like Domino's Pizza, which forms one of the case studies in the book.
Worth checking it out.

If you want plenty of geography related books, check out over 300 of them on my Geography Library blog.

GeoCapabilities training materials

I've been involved with writing parts of these, and editing them, and they are now looking good on the new GeoCapabilities website.

BBC Olympics trailer

The BBC trailer for their Rio Olympics coverage places a lot of emphasis on the wildlife of the Amazon…
How relevant is that to the urban locations for the games?
Is Brazil defined by the Amazon?
Are some of these animals threatened by habitat change?
Some interesting discussions to be had…

New GeoCapabilities website

A new GeoCapabilities website has now been launched, following work between the partners and Greg Donert, who has been producing the website for us.

I've also been involved in a small way, by attending several of the meetings since the start of the project, writing a few reports, creating and formatting course materials, and also working on ideas for the curriculum vignettes, which are shared using ESRI StoryMaps.

Details on the project:

The GeoCapabilities website was developed through an international collaborative process involving a considerable amount of original research and pilot testing with teachers and teacher educators. This work began with a pilot study in 2011 funded by a grant to the American Association of Geographers (AAG) from the U.S. National Science Foundation, under the direction of Dr Michael Solem. This mainly theoretical phase led directly to a larger partnership under the direction of Professor David Lambert (UCL Institute of Education) with funding from the EU COMENIUS programme. The full partnership includes Sirpa Tani (University of Helsinki, Finland), Karl Donert (Eurogeo, Belgium) and Duncan Hawley (Geographical Association, UK) as well as four school partners: Elina Särkelä (Viikki Teacher Training School, Finland), Panos Papoutsis (Doukas School, Greece), Richard Bustin (City of London Freemens School, UK), and Kelly Kerrigan (Stafford Grammar School, UK).
Since its inception GeoCapabilities has attracted a lot of interest internationally beyond the formal partnership. Several individuals have declared an active interest, contributing to research, translations, conference presentations, and other key papers. These “Associate Partners” currently hail from countries as diverse as the Netherlands, Sweden, China, Japan, India, Germany, Portugal, Germany, Serbia, Czech Republic, Singapore, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand

'A' level book gone to print

After two years and thousands of hours of effort, the 'A' level textbook for the new AQA specification has now gone to print. It will be published by Cambridge University Press. This is great news, as it means that the book will now be out several weeks before other similar books, and also ahead of the end of the summer break, so teachers will be able to have access to it in the crucial few weeks before the start of the new academic year.

I was the series editor for the book, and also the associated materials. You can see the names of the author team on the cover image below - a great team, helped by a large team from CUP.

You can find out more about the book (and order your copies) here.

Bedales Earth...

Via Paul Turner: 2 students take Dan Raven Ellison's Urban Earth model and run (or rather walk 8 paces at a time) with it...

Bedales Earth from Bedales Geography on Vimeo.

Two million page views

Thanks to everyone who has visited the site.

Over the weekend, we passed the 2 MILLION PAGE VIEW milestone which we've been creeping towards for the last 6 months...

1966 and all that

A rare guest post, sent to me by Brendan Conway of Notre Dame School in Cobham, Surrey, taking a look at the World Cup Final of 1966, and the 50th anniversary of that event, which is in the media as the anniversary draws near.

I thought I’d offer some suggestions linked to the 50th anniversary of the 1966 World Cup and its geography which is going to be high profile in the media over the next few weeks.  
I know that some people take the view that we should move on from it, but apart from the need to celebrate England’s only tournament victory and the real or ‘folk’ nostalgia attached to it, there’s a range of substantial reasons to revisit the event e.g. its influence on subsequent World Cups, FIFA and other major sporting events; the public-private sector partnerships which emerged to organise it; the impact and possible legacy on international relations between Europe, S America and Africa.

One particular aspect of the 1966 World Cup which has persistently gone under the radar is the African boycott.  It remains controversial, but undoubtedly focused attention on the potential of African football.
Although the significant contribution of Africa to world football is now undisputed, African countries are still under-represented at World Cups (10% share) compared to Europe (25%) and S America (45%).  BBC World's Piers Edwards has filed some excellent reports on the 1966 boycott and its legacies.  One interesting point is that in post-colonial Africa, the only pan-African organisation was the Confederation of African Football (CAF) until the emergence of the Organisation of African Unity (later to become the African Union).
A few related resource: 

•  When Africa boycotted the World Cup (BBC video)
•  Missing the World Cup (BBC World Service radio)
•  How Africa boycotted the 1966 World Cup (BBC News article)

I’d already drawn attention to this in my story map ‘1966 and all that...geography’ but along with many updates, I’ve added a new section to include the links above.
Link to Story Map:
There was also this article in the Guardian about the contribution of Africa to the Euro 2016 final between Portugal and France
and of course, the winning goal was scored by Éder from Guinea-Bissau

You think this post's over?
It is now...

50 fondest childhood memories in East Anglia

According to a survey carried out recently…

How many do you agree with?

1. Family trips to the beach

2. Watching Top of the Pops

3. Hop scotch

4. Hide and seek

5. Fish and chips

6. Pic n Mix sweets

7. Collecting shells on the beach

8. Ice cream van music

9. Sports days

10. Playground games (British bulldog etc.)

11. Watching children’s’ TV

12. Kiss chase

13. Recording the music charts on a Sunday

14. Paddling in the sea

15. Pencil cases

16. Climbing trees

17. Collecting toys/ cards/ collectibles etc.

18. Going to Woolworths to buy records

19. Dinner ladies

20. Fighting with my siblings

21. Ice creams from the ice cream van

22. School dinners

23. Egg and spoon race

24. Going ‘back to school’ shopping at the end of summer holidays

25. Playing outside until it was dark

26. Visiting cousins

27. Reading magazines

28. Fishing for tad poles in a pond

29. Sleepovers with friends

30. Your teeth falling out and putting them under your pillow

31. Ice cream floats

32. Exploring rock pools

33. Making daisy chains and wearing them around your head

34. Using jumpers for goal posts

35. School field trips

36. Staying up late for New Year’s parties

37. Playing in the paddling pool

38. Running around bare foot outside

39. Playing on a rope swing in the woods

40. School packed lunches

41. Having a weekend job

42. Scratch and sniff stickers

43. School tuck shop

44. Playing tennis against the back of the house

45. Swimming in cold sea

46. Being scared after losing parents while in the supermarket/out etc.

47. Building forts in the woods

48. Paper rounds

49. Practising your musical instrument

50. Getting up really early in the morning to go on holiday

Ocean sole

A nice story from the very useful A View to Sea blog, which is written by Holly Griffin, a geography graduate.

It's about Ocean Sole: a company that makes sculptures from ocean plastics. They make a range of items

As a bizarre and yet very real phenomenon, thousands and thousands of flipflops are washed up onto the East African coast creating an environmental disaster. Not only spoiling the natural beauty of our beaches and oceans, the rubber soles are swallowed & suffocated on by fish & other animals, they obstruct turtle hatchlings from reaching the sea and are a man-made menace to our fragile ecosystems. 
Our creative team of artisans transforms the discarded flipflops into elephants, giraffes, lions, rhinos, dolphins, sharks, turtles and more. These colourful masterpieces come with an important message about marine conservation whilst bringing smiles to people all over the world.
An updated version of the old flip-flop recycling film I remember showing years ago...

Writing for Costa

I'm trying to finish a writing job for Costa before heading to Portugal to work on an ERASMUS course.
Here's a useful Google Map that I came across for those exploring the locations of cafes perhaps.

Thanks also to Jennifer Ferreira for offering some of the work from her blog.


By the river


A new tool, which uses Open Data from the Environment Agency and Ordnance Survey.

It displays flood risk across the UK, and has been made by BWB Consulting.
Layers can be added showing flood risk from different sources, and various options are available from the menu top left of the main screen.

A useful addition to tools such as GaugeMap, and would be helpful for Geography controlled assessment as a secondary data source.
I'll be adding this to the list of tools that students will be using.


I was writing about Namibia  a few days ago, and now my friend Jenni is in the area of Sossusvlei that I was researching. Here's one of her early images of this stunning landscape. Hoping to share some more on her return home.

Image by Jenni H

Pedagogy in Portugal - the context

I'm preparing for a week in Portugal next week, working with teachers on the theme of pedagogy.
I'll be sharing some of the resources that I've created, as they may be of interest, although they aren't explicitly for geography teachers (which is rare for me, as I'm taking a bit of a risk here and going out of my comfort zone)
I'll use the hashtag #vigped for my posts from the week, so that others can follow, and I can get them all together at the end of the week on a Storify for you.

I may ask a few questions on social media over the next few days as I finish off my materials, and prepare some interactive activities. The teachers will be introduced to enquiry, Mission:Explore and a range of other things….

Image of Serpa in the Alentejo region - Alan Parkinson

Pedagogy in Portugal - Dylan Wiliam video provocation....

GI Forum 2016 Posters

One of the aspects of the GI Forum 2016 that I attended last week in Lisbon was the display of posters. Quite a few of these featured interesting and original ideas.
One of them won the best poster of the event, and was based on primary geography and young people's conceptions of the world.
It was put together by Erik Jacobi and Inga Gryl from the University of Duisburg, and can be seen here.

I also liked a poster looking at hashtag neighbourhoods, and one on the use of social media to explore crime around football grounds in Manchester.

Art at Cley beach...

Out to the Norfolk coast today to visit Cley16: an annual art exhibition which takes place in the church in Cley and other nearby locations. These included a piece by Brian Korteling which is shown below, and which I really liked. It represents the view as taken from 3 different perspectives, and breaks up the lines nicely...

Good to see

Having spent over 2 years working on this textbook and the companion materials, it's great to see this tweet, meaning that there's been a major order, from the Harris Federation schools in London. Thanks to Richard Maurice for the support.

Nepali Tourism

Am writing today... Nepali tourism website...

Istanbul's earthquake threat

A new video from Professor Iain Stewart…


This book looks interesting, and I will add to my reading list... It explores the development of the GPS system, and how it has changed many more things than just our ability to use a map when navigating.

You can read some preview pages, and the reviews are good too.

How are you feeling?

I'm feeling OK as I'm on holiday.... although I do have the dentist working on a tooth in a few days so that's a cloud on the horizon...
Well-being is something that the Government has been assessing over the last few years. This month, the ONS revealed the latest data sets on well-being and changes since it was last assessed.

Take a look and see what you think...

Sir Ken Robinson on imagination...

Sir Ken Robinson - The Power of Imagination from The Inspiration Journey on Vimeo.

GI Forum card sort

Here's a resource that I put together for our GI Learner workshop that I led at the GI Forum 2016 at the University of Salzburg. This is a major international conference, which has almost 1000 delegates. Here's the official photograph which was taken at the Thursday night meal, which was really impressive for the quality of the food and beer (all of which was included in the delegate fee) and the weather which was excellent.

Image from the official photo feed, and shared under CC license

It's a card set of 36 cards, each of which has an activity which could be used to develop geospatial thinking / use of technology...
Scope for discussion, and thinking around some geographical skills.
Visit the GI Learner site to find out more about the context of this slide set.

Keep pedalling Ollie...

Ollie Bray is spending the next month cycling across America from West to East solo. He's already done it from South to North…

You can follow Ollie on the tracker HERE. He's just set off from the quayside in Washington State.
The route he's (roughly) going to be following is shown below.

As Ollie says:

Heading to Yorktown (Virginia) and then home through Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky and Virginia.
Honestly, what could go wrong with the following extremely detailed logistical itinerary (masterminded in the last 24hrs...). Basically, head generally West. Then, everyday when it’s light cycle as far as you can. When it gets dark cycle with you bike lights a bit further. Sleep anywhere you can, at any time of the day but aim to clear 160 miles in each 24 period (this doesn’t include the first and last day and allows a day for a full bike service mid trip).
US pals if I’m passing your house please feed me beer and M&Ms A shower would also be nice. Laundry would be a bonus as I only have one set of clothes!

A great adventure which I'll be following through the summer.

'A' level Pinterest Board

Ahead of the publication of our AQA Geography book for 'A' level, published by Cambridge University Press, I've created a PINTEREST board for the main topics, as I produced my chapters and did the editing.

You can visit it here (embedding not working at the moment it seems)

Here's a video resource on Tropical Storms created by CUP

ESRI StoryMaps Competition

This website shows the winners of this year's competition.
Sadly, I'm not one of them, but at least I'll get a T-shirt for entering…

Salzburg images

Spent some of today working through the follow-up from the GI Learner project meeting that occupied the whole of this week from Monday to Friday.
Here's some of the photos that I took.


Currently finishing off sample materials and answers for the teacher materials that go alongside the CUP 'A' level Geography textbook for AQA which will be published next month. It's been a long process.
The chapter on Hot Deserts has a focus on the Namib Sand Sea and related areas, and I've been reading about sustainable tourism efforts at places such as the Sossusvlei Lodge. (PDF download from link)
Useful video to introduce some elements of the landscape, which needs careful management.

Thought for the Day

4 billion strong...

Back from Salzburg...

I've just come back from Salzburg for a meeting of our GI Learner project.
It's a city I know well, and enjoy spending time in. I was able to visit a range of new locations for me, as well as some old favourites, and walked for hours through the city.
I was there for a meeting of our GI Learner partners.

I also attended the GI Forum 2016 conference in Salzburg.The official photos for the event are available to view HERE, and I appear on a few of them…
More to come in the week ahead...

Ocean plastics interactive map

Ocean plastics interactive map, with Stamen watercolour background…
This would be perfect for our lesson on ocean plastics… and we'll use it next time round...

Do it Kits

I've worked with Helen from Mission:Explore for years now, on all of our books and other materials, and also worked with her on the INTEL DISTANCE project (you can search on the blog to find out more about that, and other projects with a whole range of partners and clients.
Helen's latest work is taking her into 'making', and the use of Arduino boards and ICT, alongside laser cut or 3D printed objects.
She has just launched her first kit, which is on the DO IT KITS website, as an individual kit, or as a class set. I had a chance to play with one of the kits at the GeoVation space, and they are very nicely put together and provide a range of curriculum materials.

Here's the description from the website.

Test your reaction time and learn about neurons, synapses, ethics, human experimentation, computer and human sensing systems, and working scientifically. Time to React comes with over three hours of lesson plans for GCSE Biology, with related activities for Computing and Physics. Also suitable for Code Club - or anyone who wants a cool box with a massive red button that tests your reaction time!

Over the summer we'll be finalising and launching three more maker kits for the classroom: Make Your Own Weather Station, Soil Sensors and Musical Waves.

Air BnB - Changing places (for the worst?)

An interesting story... one to explore further perhaps

Sample digital materials for new textbooks...

Alongside the textbooks for the new specifications, I also worked on the digital materials.
These are available to purchase as a subscription alongside the physical textbook.

A sample set of materials has now been put up for you to take a look at, and they were written by me. I like the way that they have been designed up from the original documents that I sent through, so that all the sections will have a common theme.

GI Forum 2016

Checking in from Salzburg, where I am going to be presenting shortly on our plans for our GI Learner project....

Here's the presentation... It links to a pilot course which we will be launching...

Fairness on the 83

This project reminds me of Danny Dorling's 32 Stops book... but it's not trains or London, although it is in Sheffield where Danny used to work, and has a connection with inequality.

Here's the outline of the project from the website.

During 2013, an independent report about fairness and inequality in Sheffield found that average life expectancy falls by 7.5 years for men and almost 10 years for women across the length of the 83 bus route, which links Millhouses in the south with Ecclesfield in the north.

Fairness on the 83 is a film project that traces the 83 bus on its journey across the city, engaging members of the public and professionals in discussion about inequality in their city, encouraging debate on important topics and exploring what can be done to make Sheffield a fairer, less divided city.

Thought for the Day

Being an expert does not mean that you are someone with a vested interest in something; it means you spend your life studying something. You’re not necessarily right – but you’re more likely to be right than someone who’s not spent their life studying it.

Professor Brian Cox


This is a small hand drawn book which I purchased this week from the artist Nick Soucek.
The zine community is flourishing, despite the obvious rise of the vlogger, the blogger and the use of digital publishing. It is still good to see hand-drawn illustrations on paper, and this is an area that my son is starting to get interested in as well.
I remember getting involved in similar publications when I was a student, and using the offset litho or banda machine to churn out copies. Plastic follows the story of a Plastic bottle through the millennia, from the death of a dinosaur, to the plastic processing, to its eventual disposal and journey into the sea. I like the idea that students could create something similar, and perhaps create a stop motion, or flip-book style animation.

Click the link above to get your own copy for just £2 (plus postage) and support independent artists like Nick by seeking out similar publications. There are a few other interesting-looking publications and images on Nick's website, with a landscape theme. It's no surprise to hear also, perhaps that Nick is a geographer.


I'd really like to have seen the #wearehere soldiers who appeared at numerous locations across the country earlier in the week. I sat quietly and listened to the silence on Radio 2, which was ended by  the shrill whistles which signalled the command for so many to go 'over the top' and walk a few paces to their deaths on a day when thousands died. They were a wonderful 'site specific artwork', and very short lived in nature, which adds to their interest and impact.

I've been sharing stories in my classroom, and there have been lots of commemorations. Would have been good to attend the special service that took place in Ely Cathedral.

My wife and daughter were in Exeter this weekend, and were able to see the 19240 Shrouds artwork that was in the news that evening.

Also check out a really excellent CASCADE STORYMAP.

We will remember them....

Nepal Earthquake resource

Spending part of today on the 3rd and 4th drafts of some of the documents which will emerge in the new term as a resource produced for the British Red Cross, which focuses on the earthquake in Nepal.

It's been a long time in the making, and we have been through lots of iterations of resources and materials. Today I've been looking at some of the excellent maps that are shared on their Github site.
This map was made using OpenStreetMap - users traced around tarpaulins on aerial photos to show where houses were damaged.

You can sign up to find out more about the resource when it is released here.

Thanks to Helen and Lucy for their patience and support as the year has gone on... we're nearly there now.

Unequal Scenes

I guess that drones are going to be an increasing part of a lot of students' education, whether it's using them or using the results of footage shot using them…
The Unequal Scenes account has a range of drone footage showing up patterns of inequality.