ArcGIS NEA CPD event at the RGS

Lots of initials there.
This is a great price, and looks like being a very useful opportunity for those who want to know more about the use of ArcGIS Online to support students with fieldwork and the new NEA.
Details about the event are here.

RSGS Speaker Programme

As a Fellow of the RSGS, I receive their excellent 'The Geographer' magazine.
This also included some leaflets for their Inspiring People talks, which once again features a good range of talks from speakers including Felicity Aston, who is well worth seeing, Iain Stewart, Roger Crofts and John Geiger.

Check the programme (PDF download) or the calendar of events if you're going to be up in Scotland.

ESRI Water Balance App

Thanks to Bob Lang for the tipoff to this excellent app.

The water balance panel (on the left) shows how much recharge or depletion occurred during your chosen month, and how this compares to what’s normal. The trend analyzer panel (on the right) shows how your chosen variable was different in the same month during other years. This panel also allows you to see the seasonal variation during a normal year (by graphing the average for each month) or aggregate the time series into annual time steps to see the long term trend more clearly.

Hurricane Irma Time-lapse video

Terrifying stuff...

Hurricane Irma- Cane Garden Bay time lapse - RM gopro from Robert Knock on Vimeo.

Useful videos from the Scott Polar Research Institute

A very useful video from the Scott Polar Research Institute exploring the importance of appropriate clothing in Antarctica. There are some teacher resources to go with this, and several other useful films too...

Clothing in Antarctica from Polar Museum on Vimeo.

Here's another on FOOD... these are great...

Eating in Antarctica from Polar Museum on Vimeo.

Perse Teachmeet Presentation

My presentation from last night's event...
Thanks to all those who did a presentation, and those who came along. Good to see some old friends who I haven't seen for a while...
I talked about Curriculum making and powerful knowledge, and the importance of teachers finding their own path and approach as one of the responsibilities of being a teacher...

Bonus points to those who recognise the music score that's in the presentation

The Plastic Age

Via Matt Podbury

Saw the trailer before, but here's a useful short video for Year 8

Teachmeet at the Perse - tomorrow evening

May see some of you in Cambridge tomorrow. My presentation will be here on the blog tomorrow... A warm up practice for a session at the RGS in November...

Global Goals

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) have replaced the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)
We have taught these as part of the World's Largest Lesson for the last few years.
Bill Gates has shared this 360 / VR film too, which weaves them in....

Richard Long at Houghton Hall

You have about a month left to catch this excellent exhibition in the house and grounds at Houghton Hall.

Chapeau to Mark Beaumont

Mark Beaumont went round the world back in 2007 in just over 180 days. This was a solo effort, and Val Vannet and I followed him on our GeoBlogging with Mark effort.
Mark went round the world in just over 180 days - a solo effort with Mark carrying his bivvy and other equipment and having to find food at the end of the day.
In time, the record was whittled down to 123 days.

In June, Mark set off on an incredibly ambitious attempt to cycle around the world in 80 days.

At the start of the week, I was able to watch live on Facebook as Mark arrived to complete his journey and be presented with certificates from the Guinness Book of World Records.

Chapeau Mark. What an amazing achievement.

Richard Long exhibition

Heading to see this at the weekend - it's just 10 minutes from home... I've loved Richard's work for decades now, and seen all his recent exhibitions...

RICHARD LONG: EARTH SKY from NUA Film and Moving Image on Vimeo.


A new option for those who like to take part in Twitter chats, and want one of the Geographical persuasion, here's something for you.
It starts next Wednesday...

Organised by Jennifer Monk and Paul Logue

Not fake news

Last week I spoke to a journalist from CNN about the work that we did last academic year with the Open University related to Google Expeditions and VR. We worked with Shailey Minocha from the OU and colleagues, and later that year I worked as part of a consultancy project to author some resources to accompany some of the Google Expeditions to turn them into lesson resources.
I spoke to the journalist for about half an hour with some perspectives on the technology, and the piece has now been published on CNN.

Arvo Pärt

This was just featured on 'University Challenge' and reminded me I hadn't heard it for some years... It's a beautiful piece of music...

GA Magazine - the latest issue

Always good to see the latest issue of the GA Journals arriving on the website, and also through the letterbox.
Plenty of interesting articles and content, and a reminder that I am after contributions for the next issue of Webwatch.
Any recommendations for websites / apps / web tools or other web-based resources and ideas would be welcome. Send them to me by whichever means you prefer.... or comment below.

Maersk timelapse

A nice timelapse on a Maersk container ship revealing the beauty of their movements. Made by Toby Smith

A reminder...

The news can't cover everywhere... but they tend to focus on particular stories.
Houston has had a lot of coverage recently, but other flooding and natural disasters haven't had quite the same amount of coverage in TV news or in the newspapers. There has been a bit of criticism of this over the last few weeks from some quarters.
Here's what was happening last week... but what was happening in Sierra Leone, or Bangladesh?

Published this week - 2nd edition of 'Debates in Geography Education'

You can 'look inside' on Amazon here.
Looking forward to getting my author copy.
I contributed Chapter 13: The impact of technology on geography and geography teachers.
Hope you enjoy it....
A good read for those completing ITE courses, or related courses...

Simon Ross's Italian job...

After an earlier trip to Iceland to make videos for Discover the World education, Simon Ross has been to Italy to make another very useful video for geographers.
It can be viewed below:


The aim of this video is to consider the variety of volcanic landforms and the eruptive hazards in southern Italy. In visiting locations in the Bay of Naples, Sicily and the Aeolian Islands, this video interweaves narrative with interviews of local people affected by recent eruptions, expert guides and scientists tasked with monitoring Italy’s active volcanoes. The film considers the threats from future eruptions as well as the considerable benefits afforded to local people living in the shadow of some of Europe’s most iconic volcanoes.

In this video, we cover: The causes and impacts of recent and historic volcanic eruptions, with visits to some of the localities directly affected Informative diagrams to support the study of the complex processes associated with the destructive plate margin in southern Italy Scientific assessments of volcano monitoring and community preparedness Consideration of the possible impacts associated with the future volcanic eruptions Positive impacts of volcanic eruptions on the local people

This video is suitable for all ages. It will act as an excellent support in the study of tectonic hazards particularly at GCSE and AS/A Level.

Visit our website for more supporting resources:

Sadly, the dangers of this area were demonstrated earlier this week at Solfatara.

'Board' of geography

Bought these for my form group this week from my local toy shop, which has a good range of boardgames, and online orders. I have the idea of starting a boardgames club for the school... will be using some of my departmental budget for that this year.

What other boardgames do you think might be useful for form time/extra-curricular activities, but which also might help to contribute to global understanding or general geographical / spatial thinking?

I've already got access to Carcassonne and Pandemic too.....
Also have Concept, World according to Ubi and some other smaller box games too...

XKCD in Ely

I've been using XKCD comics for a while now as images which help stimulate discussion. Quite a few of them are geographical, whether it's map projections or other forms of spatial thinking.

Randall Monroe is bringing his approach to explanation to the UK on October the 5th.

In Thing Explainer, Randall Munroe  explains things using only drawings and a vocabulary of just our 1,000 (or the ten hundred) most common words.Many of the things we use every day – like our food-heating radio boxes (‘microwaves’), our very tall roads (‘bridges’), and our computer rooms (‘datacentres’) – are strange to us. So are the other worlds around our sun (the solar system), the big flat rocks we live on (tectonic plates), and even the stuff inside us (cells). Where do these things come from? How do they work? What do they look like if you open them up? And what would happen if we heated them up, cooled them down, pointed them in a different direction, or pressed this button? Funny, interesting, and always understandable, this book is for anyone – age 5 to 105 – who has ever wondered how things work, and why.

I intend to go along...
Buy a ticket, or a ticket including a book, here.

Are you ready Tampa Bay?

Another reminder of the power of ESRI mapping tools...

Starter image for Monday afternoon's lessons....

Red Rose Humanities Conference

This look like being a useful event, with representatives from awarding bodies and other useful details for Geographers...
Further details from the e-mail at the bottom of the image.

Glasgow National Park session later this month

A session which involves Dan Raven Ellison heading up to Glasgow to talk about the concept of National Park cities.

Get yourself a free ticket here.

The National Park City concept promotes a city not just as a political, financial and cultural centre, but an ecological centre too, a landscape of varied habitats and biodiversity. Its aim is for cities that are more enjoyable, greener, healthier and fairer places to live, where people and nature are better connected.
Daniel Raven-Ellison is a parent, guerrilla geographer, National Geographic Emerging Explorer, former geography teacher and leads the campaign to make London the world’s first National Park City.
This free event has been supported and organised between the John Muir Trust and TCV Scotland. Donations towards the cost of this event will be welcomed on the evening.

The event is organised by the John Muir Trust. Don't forget you can still download a free copy of the Mission:Explore book that we created for them, and which has been downloaded hundreds of thousands of times....

Seasideness and sense of place

Needs a bit of editing and unpicking, but some useful perspectives on the seaside and sense of place.

Start the year by joining the GA

If you haven't already signed up personally (or as a department) for the Geographical Association, this would be a good way to kick off the new academic year.
There are different levels of membership, which provide discounts on orders from the shop, and reduced admission to the GA conference - the CPD event of the year.
There is a regular newsletter as well which you can sign up for.
The journals are essential, and different subscription rates are available for 'Primary Geography', 'Teaching Geography' and 'Geography'. Members will also receive GA Magazine three times a year.
Don't forget the CPD programme as well.

Oh, and join the RGS-IBG as a School member as well....

Disclaimer: I used to work for the GA...

Tracking the poppies

A few years ago, you may remember the appearance of a dramatic installation of poppies in the moat of the Tower of London. I was lucky enough to see it several times.
As a mark of respect for my great grandfather, who was killed during World War I, I bought a poppy.
There is now a project aiming to map where all the poppies from the moat ended up.
Here's one of my images of the poppies in situ.

The Where Are The Poppies Now project invites members of the public who bought one of the ceramic flowers to 'pin' its location and describe what it represents to them.
A total of 888,246 poppies - one for every British military fatality during the conflict - were created by artist Paul Cummins for the Blood Swept Lands And Seas Of Red art installation in 2014.
They were planted around the central London landmark in a vast installation that brought huge crowds and helped many to understand the extent of the sacrifice and loss of life during the war.


Map your poppy now.

Helping with a weather project

This would make a good activity for a Geography Club or similar... It's another in a number of citizen science / collaborative projects which have been blogged here.

Two million pieces of ‘lost’ weather data collected over 20 years atop Ben Nevis by an intrepid team of Victorian meteorologists are at the heart of a new project to shed light on our changing climate. Scientists are now on a mission to rescue the data, which is still kept in the five original hefty volumes first published by the Royal Society of Edinburgh between 1890 and 1910. Now known as the ‘Weathermen of Ben Nevis’, the meteorologists recorded eight pieces of information about the weather every hour, day and night, 365 days a year.
They measured temperature, pressure, rainfall, sunshine, cloudiness, wind strength and wind direction from 1883 to 1904.
Hourly data was also taken at sea level at nearby Fort William and now researchers are asking from people across the Highlands and the rest of the UK to help digitise this unique data.

From the original tables, the information can be typed into a growing database and unearthing this data will shed light on how our climate is changing, bringing the past back to life to help understand the weather today and in the future.

Operation Weather Rescue: Ben Nevis was launched this week as part of Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) free public event, UnEarthed at Dynamic Earth, Edinburgh, from November 17-19, bringing the world of environmental science to the Scottish public.

Why not give it a go, and do your little bit for the project?

How long left?

A cheerful little visualisation

Watch the balls roll along the curve and then drop to the ground, to show the percentage change of you reaching a particular age. The longer you live it, the more the percentages resolve themselves... After over 1000 balls, I have a 1% chance of living a little beyond 103...

Time for Geography

Time for a new school year. Time for Geography.
There are plenty of high quality resources available here at the very nicely designed Time for Geography site.

Sign up and log in to help access a whole range of videos, many of which were shot over the summer holiday period, so they are right up to date, and written and presented by subject experts.

There are videos on Coasts, Rivers and Glaciation as well as Geog Topics, and some additional resources for those who register too. There are posters for display which can be ordered, plus additional resources and links, and a blog which is underway with some useful posts. Model answers are also provided for some relevant questions. This is a site which has been developed with the support of various organisations, and will continue to grow.

I shall be directing my Year 10s to this site as we start the new school year and GCSE teaching.

In the begin Ning...

I've shared my resources since 2001, when I started, which had millions of visitors every year. Since then, I've used other spaces to share resources, notably the Nings, which I started to support the work of the GA, and also to deal with specification change.
Of these, the most successful remains the Edexcel Ning for 'A' level which I started over 10 years ago, and which now has over 5200 members.

Good to see that as the new term in some parts of the UK is about to start, teachers are sharing ideas and supporting each other through various networks. This job is impossible to do alone, and with so many conflicting pieces of advice, it's important that we all work together and recognise that there is no 'correct' way for you to be in the classroom...
You'll be very welcome to join the Ning. Use a school e-mail when you request membership, as we tend to view Hotmail and similar addresses with suspicion.

Sand... selling it to the Arabs?

We need not go to the beach to be surrounded by sand - our cities are essentially giant towering sand castles disguised in concrete.
I liked this line from a BBC article on the importance of sand, and the amount that we are getting through.
Sand is not all the same, and different grades are needed for construction than one might find on a typical beach.

Image: Alan Parkinson, Wells next the Sea dunes

Sea Level Choices

Make your own versions of this map, or explore the different scenarios and their impact on local coasts...

Reading Geography

"beyond the rigidity of a GCSE exam syllabus, geography is perhaps more than anything else about reading"

The University of Cambridge's Geographical Society (CUGS) has a magazine, and there's a great article in the latest Compass by Chloe Rixon which explores her thoughts on the importance of reading as a geographer....

Worth browsing the issues (on ISSUU) for other articles.

As Chloe says in her piece, reflecting on her interview when she mentioned Michael Palin as somebody she'd read...

What I didn’t realise then, and I think I’m only really starting to realise now, is that, disbanding the academic corset of particular intellectual rigour or qualification, most (every?) writer is in their own respect a geographer. They’re writing about the earth: translating it, interpreting it, constructing it. By extension and implication, therefore, reading too is geographical. Palin may not be a ‘serious’ geographer (whatever that is), nor may be Austen or Plato, but, like Foucault and Said, he is fundamentally writing about the earth (be it through the lens of travel-writing) and hence, reading his work is a geographical exercise.

As Robert MacFarlane has said, "every hour spent reading is an hour spent learning to write"

So keep reading... I recommend this book, for example

New shirt

The Mordor National Park twitter feed was launched at the same time as a number of other anonymous accounts offering parodic resistance to some of the policies of President Trump, particularly where they threatened the work that had been done for years to protect landscapes for the future, and resist industrial activity within their boundaries, or the erosion of their borders.

My new shirt arrived last week, and a few people mentioned it when I wore it for the first time yesterday. A small contribution to the fundraising effort and a very nice shirt too.

SAGT Conference 2017

The booking form and programme for the 2017 SAGT Conference has now gone live.
I've been a regular attendee at this conference since 2005, but have missed the last few as I have been elsewhere... This year, I will be in Madrid, so unable to attend. I'm hoping to be back next year.

As you can see, there's a keynote by Tom Heap, and various workshops, all for a good price, and with free minibus pick-up from Stirling train station, which is a great help. There will also be 'hot spots' where teachers share practice.
A great day of learning and inspiration for all.

Book tickets now via Eventbrite.

Follow SAGT on Twitter @SAGTeach

Earlier that month there is also the ESRI Scottish user conference in Perth.

Back to school

I'm gearing up to start my 27th year as a teacher.... 

Every year, at the end of summer there's the usual doubts about whether I've 'done enough' or am ready, and I'm preparing to move from leisurely breakfasts and lie-ins to 6am starts, and the run in to dark mornings and scraping ice off the screen, and 4 months to the next extended break...

But there is also the return to working with colleagues and young people, being part of a school community with such a sense of purpose, seeing what people do with the curriculum and resources that we've developed, and going on various fieldtrips, including an ERASMUS visit to Madrid during half term.

The last few days has been about sorting through some schemes of work, and preparing a massive to do list for when it's back into my classroom. I've spent a day getting that sorted, before two days of CPD which were quite usefully spent. I also ran a session for colleagues on ArcGIS Online and StoryMaps.

Best wishes to everyone who starts back at school in the next week or so... staff and students.