Free CPD / enrichment trip opportunity at the University of Leeds

This may be of interest for some of you.

Bring your students to the University!
Free places available on Geography and Geology activities in March 2018

Dear Geography and Geology Colleagues
There are still some places available for some of our geography and geology-related activities in the Leeds Festival of Science!
See table below for details.
For more details, and to book places, go to the Festival website at
Early booking recommended to avoid disappointment.

Key Stage
Date and time
Maximum number of places per school
Pole to Pole (Practical workshop)
Mon 19th March (10:00 – 12:00)
Pole to Pole (Practical workshop)
Mon 19th March (13:00 – 15:00)
How do volcanoes work? (Practical workshop)
Wed 21st March (13:00 – 15:00)
Weather and Water (Hands-on practical demonstrations)
KS3 and KS4
Thurs 22nd March (10:00 – 12:00)
Weather and Water (Hands-on practical demonstrations)
KS3 and KS4
Thurs 22nd March (13:00 – 15:00)
Bringing the outside in (Virtual fieldwork practical)
Thurs 22nd March (13:00 – 15:00)
The Ups and Downs of Life in the Freezer: A Tale of Two Poles (Talk)
KS3, KS4 and KS5
Fri 23rd March (10:00 – 12:00)
The Ups and Downs of Life in the Freezer: A Tale of Two Poles (Talk)
KS3, KS4 and KS5
Fri 23rd March (10:00 – 12:00)

To book places, go to the Festival website at

Dr Pre Carbo
Education Engagement Officer
School of Earth and Environment
University of Leeds

Virtual Water

This is a useful site, which visualises the amount of water that is used to produce the food that we eat.
Published by the LA Times.
Swap out and replace items on the plate to see how much you can reduce the water involved in the consumption of your chosen meal.
Investigate which foods have the greatest water footprint. All the data can also be downloaded, along with the methodology for creating the resource.

ECOLINT Geography Conference in April 2018

In 2012, I was invited by Richard Allaway to speak at a Geography Conference hosted by his school in Geneva: the International School of Geneva. The keynote was by Leo Hickman from the Guardian, who talked about living a sustainable lifestyle.

Details are on Living Geography in earlier posts, such as this one. The theme of my workshop was Water Scarcity, and my materials are available by following those links. I also had a chance to go up to the Aiguille du Midi, which is where my profile picture was taken.

Richard has now organised a second conference, this time with the theme of POSSIBILITIES for IB Geography. This is one of the 'P's that features in the specification documents.

Keynote speakers will talk on the theme of food, particularly feeding the world in the future as they are involved in bugs, and I'll be joined by other presenters, including Matt Podbury.

More details via the IB Geography Teacher Facebook Group, where you can let Richard know that you're interested in coming along. Hope to see some of you there.

Having trouble sleeping? Here's some sounds to fall asleep to

Via Atlas Obscura

Mmmm... bacon....

It takes just one road...

GetOutside Champion in the school press

Pokemon Gone

I wrote an article for 'Primary Geography' last year. It has been a while coming, and slightly edited down from the original but has now been published in the Spring 2018.

The issue also features an excellent article by Helen Clarke and Sharon Witt on their gnome ideas, which were a personal highlight from last year's GA Conference.

One of the aspects of the article which is most interesting is the debate over whether the app is good because it encourages young people to spend time outdoors, or whether it provides a barrier to them appreciating where they are, because their focus is on the virtual character they are trying to 'capture'...

It's available to subscribers.

Anna's TED Talk for Dollar Street

There are many TED talks which are of value to Geographers.

We've been using Dollar Street with Year 7 and Year 8 groups to explore the inequalities in access to food and other items in homes with differing levels of income.
The students have been fascinated by the images that Dollar Street offers, and we have been asking them to explore the 'stuff' that is owned by the families and whether there are thresholds to owning an object such as a washing machine (see the Hans Rosling video on this topic to see how important it is)

I've put together a resource for Geography teachers (and others) on how to use Dollar Street in the classroom.
It's not finished yet, but is a collaborative Google Drive document which will hopefully grow...
You're very welcome to add your own ideas to this document...
It's embedded below for your interest...

Following on from that, Anna from Gapminder gave a TED Talk a while ago, and that is now available to view here...

New (and old) OS Champions in the New Forest

Back from two days in the New Forest with Ordnance Survey. We were asked to come to Brockenhurst to a nice hotel, where we were to meet with the Ordnance Survey team that supports their core #GetOutside initiative. As you may remember from an earlier post, I applied to be involved for 2018/19 and was delighted to find out some weeks ago that I was going to be taking part, and also that Dan Raven Ellison, who applied independently, was also going to be going along.
A very early start and a long journey on 4 trains was needed, with Dan joining me in London.
Registration, coffee, and some chats to faces that I knew, including Sarah Outen.

Through to the main meeting room, where we were made very welcome and introduced to the scheme, and given new jackets and boots and various other things. We found out more about OS Maps, and the whole #GetOutside campaign.
We heard from previous and ongoing Champions, and also met Ben Fogle and Kenton Cool, who talked about their plans to climb Everest. Not something that most people can manage, and therefore my work will be far more down to earth, and even below sea level... with an educational emphasis.
We had a photo call: group and individual, and enjoyed some excellent food. In the afternoon, we were set a challenge, and I enjoyed working with the folks on my table: we were placed on a table for the day with other Champions, and some of the other partners involved. I had the chance to speak to Dave from Camping and Caravanning Club's membership magazine, and also Pip from 'Country Walking', which has been leading the #Walk1000miles campaign, which I've also blogged about previously.

We had a challenger treasure hunt to take part in, and we managed to cover the longest distance by running relays back and forwards for part of the time. Thanks to my team, who are pictured below, and there are also links to their twitter feeds for you to follow.
I'm looking forward to working over the coming year to encourage everyone to spend more time outside during 2018. It's certainly galvanised my own plans for getting outside more. In fact, when I finish this post I'm off out to the local common to get some pictures...

I'm also hatching up some plans with Dan Raven Ellison to connect our work with schools and young people, and the curriculum, and already have two schools in mind to visit...

Changing Akenfield

Ronald Blyth's 'Akenfield' is a classic of literature.

Over Christmas, there was an interesting piece in 'The Guardian', which described Ronald Blyth's classic book 'Akenfield', about a Suffolk village.
I have a copy of this, and also the 'Return..' and some other similar books on village life and how it has changed.

There has been much written about the changing nature of rural England, and I have a great many of these books on my shelves - something to return to when I have the time...
Changing Places and Inspirational landscapes links...

RIP Ursula K Le Guin

Sad news from a few days ago. Someone whose books I have been reading for over 40 years.
I reread 'A Wizard of Earthsea' quite recently...
There are plenty of wonderfully imagined landscapes in her work. I was particularly taken by 'Always Coming Home' an entire imagined archaeology / anthropology of a civilisation called the Kesh.

When in Greece

Thanks to Simon Williams for posting a good example of glocalisation when he arrived in Greece yesterday.

Plate Tectonics Poster Competition

The Geological Society is celebrating 50 years of the theory of Plate Tectonics.

Produce a poster design, and submit it to the competition, and your school will receive a large A1 poster on Plate Tectonics.

1000 posts on my teaching blog

As well as the 7600 posts on this blog, I've just passed 1000 on my Geography Teacher 2.0 blog. The 2.0 refers to the fact that after a 5 year break from teaching, I went back again for another stint.
All searchable...


As it's the 125th Anniversary of the Geographical Association, they are sharing stories of people who are associated with the GA. Here's my little contribution from a few days ago...

Digimap for Schools Resource revamp

Over the last few years, I've written a number of Secondary resources to accompany the Digimap for Schools service. My colleague Paula Owens wrote a whole tranche of Primary resources too.

The resource area has now had a revamp so that it is easier to access particular resources from the archive.

The new look page can be accessed HERE.

It has resources for a range of subjects, not just geography, which is a reminder that if you are thinking of getting a subscription for your school, you should make a point that it is not just for geography, and have it paid from general budgets rather than your own budget...

A visit from an explorer...

On Friday, we were delighted to welcome Daniel Raven Ellison: a National Geographic Explorer to King's Ely, and my classroom.
Here's the report that I sent in for publication in the school newsletter.

Dan came and spent the day with the geography department, and talked about his work on a number of projects. Much of Dan's work takes place in urban spaces, and explores how we can change them to improve them for people. He has a philosophy of "purposeful exploration" and his message was that we are all explorers from the moment we are born, and we don't need to go to exotic far away places to start exploring.
Dan introduced Year 7 and 8 students to projects including Route 125, where he completed 125 adventures with his son,  and his walk across all the UK's cities and national parks wearing a headset which captured his emotions. He spoke about crossing the world's largest cities, taking a picture every 8 paces.
For Year 10 and 12, he focussed on a project he has spearheaded for the last 4 years, aimed at making London a National Park City. He has the support of the Mayor of London, and is close to getting enough political support for this to happen in 2019. Dan outlined how this plan would improve the health of London's population and help with the theme of sustainability. He shared outcomes from work with universities and architects to rethink the city, which he has explored in a giant 600km spiral walk.
Dan's philosophy can also be seen on the Geography department's webpage, where there is a quote from him. Thanks to Dan for finding the time to visit us - it's taken a while to finalise and get the dates to work...

“Exploration is the physical manifestation of Geography. Under the inspirational guidance of their teachers, King’s Ely geographers not only learn about the world, but how to become explorers of, and place-makers in it.
Daniel Raven-Ellison, National Geographic Explorer

Dan Raven Ellison, and KEJ Head of Geography, Alan Parkinson

Never mind mindfulness

What we need instead is Factfulness.
I've just pre-ordered the book written by the late Hans Rosling, along with Ola Rosling and Anna Rosling-Ronnlund.
It comes out on the first day of the GA Conference. I was privileged to meet Hans at a previous GA Conference.

Manchester GA Branch Lecture - Sustainable Cities

For those within a reasonable distance of the city, you should check out this lecture, being given by Dr. Mike Hardman of the University of Salford.

It will take place on Tuesday the 27th of February.

Ten years ago, I had the pleasure of giving a lecture at the Manchester Branch, and remember the terror I felt when I realised that the three coachloads of students who were pulling up outside the lecture hall had come to see and hear me speak... Seems to have gone down well though as I was asked to go back the following year...

Express an interest on the Facebook page.

Mental Maps Research by the University of Gent

You have a chance to get involved in some research on Mental Maps, with a site created by the University of Gent.
Start by telling them your nationality...

Follow that up with some comparisons in scale...

What is your mental map telling you about the relative sizes of countries?
Change the relative size of the two countries for comparison and see how well you score.
Click the information box when finished to find out more about the project.
I scored highly but didn't get a perfect score. How will you do?

The power of Place

Thanks to Quintin Lake, who is progressing on his trip round the coast of the UK, for this quote on place.
"There are places, just as there are people and objects and works of art, whose relationship of parts creates a mystery, an enchantment, which cannot be analysed" 
Paul Nash, 1949

Ordnance Survey #GetOutside Champion for 2018/19

I'm finally able to announce something which I've had to keep to myself for the last 7 weeks or so...
Back in October 2017, I put in a speculative application to join an illustrious group of people who are selected each year to work with the wonderful folks at the Ordnance Survey to encourage people to #GetOutside and enjoy exploring the amazing variety of countryside that we have in our country (possibly guided with a classic Ordnance Survey map in paper or digital form).
In early December, I received the following e-mail:

There were almost 500 applications last year apparently, and the final list for 2017 included a fair few adventurers, explorers and people who spend their lives in the outdoors, and many of whom are known to millions through their media work. This included Ben Fogle, Sean Conway, Kenton Cool,  Jason Rawles (founder of the Adventurers' Club), and the amazing Sarah Outen.
There were also people who share particular aspects of working outside, or who blog about the outdoors and spend a lot of their time outside, including the Meek Family who were big fans of our Mission:Explore book. There were also people who loved walking, climbing, swimming and other activities, and wanted to share their love of them.
I thought that with my teaching role, my Mission:Explore role, my involvement in fieldwork (I co-wrote a book on it you know) and local place and landscape investigations that I might have something to offer.

This coming year is therefore going to see me getting outside even more than usual, and encouraging everyone to take part in outdoor activities (including pupil at my school, and other schools that I visit), some of which I already have ideas for and others which will no doubt emerge as the year develops, perhaps in collaboration with other Champions. I've enjoyed reading the blogs and tweets from last year's Champions, particularly as they have been reflecting this month on the year just gone and what they have gained from it.

I've been thinking of a few things that I want to achieve during the year, and will be telling you more about those over the next 12 months here on LivingGeography.
I'm looking forward to an event next week when I'll be meeting up with the other champions and finding out a lot more about what we are going to be doing.
I know already that a very good friend of mine is also going to be involved - he'll tell you about his involvement himself.

Here's one of last year's Champions' next venture for example - though I don't suppose I'll go quite that far...

Human Flow - Ai Weiwei

Interesting trailer for a film by Ai Weiwei on migration.

Described here in The Guardian.

Save your local ORPA

A right of way is a path which provides a route which can be taken by anybody, with legal protections.
In 2000 there was the CROW legislation, which added a range of other paths, with the permission of the land owner.
The Right to Roam on open access land is explained here.

There is now a period of time when rights of way need to be protected

Thousands of footpaths, alleys and bridleways across the UK face being lost forever within a decade under a clause in right-to-roam legislation, campaigners have warned.
From 1 January, walkers, horseriders – and even those taking regular shortcuts to the shops in towns – will have 10 years to apply to save any rights of way that existed before 1949 but do not appear on official maps.
Experts on land access rights say the clock is ticking to save routes that many people take for granted as public highways but that do not appear on official records.

These are known by the Ordnance Survey as 'other routes with public access’ (ORPAs).
Get involved with this by helping one of the organisations which is trying to keep the permissions intact.
To get more involved in protecting your local footpaths and right to roam, you could also consider getting involved with The Ramblers.
The Open Space Society also has more detail (PDF download)

Phil Wadey, who is involved in protecting such rights of way, says:
“These paths are all over the place. A lot of them are actually paths that are in everyday use. They are not hidden. We are not talking about paths that have fallen into disuse. There are actually people walking or riding or cycling along them. But they are not on the official map, so they will vanish if applications are not made. People won’t realise until they are gone and then it will be too late”

Image: Alan Parkinson, Footpath sign near the Roaches, CC licensed

Eat your greens

Back in 2012, we launched our Mission:Explore Food book, and I went to Heffers in Cambridge to help launch it in the Childrens' Book area downstairs...

Our book is still available on CC license for the most part (as a PDF)
We will hopefully be working on other books in the future, but all of us in Explorer HQ have increasingly busy schedules and it's been hard to get together for a while.

Mission:Explore Food is billed as one of the most controversial and yet important cookbooks ever written for children and families.
Mission:Explore Food is an activity cookbook that challenges children to go cannibal, cook in acid, make chocolate poos (including nuts and sweetcorn), ask the Queen for a swan and work out the best way to slaughter a lamb. Mission:Explore Food has been created to tantalise children’s taste for adventure and tests their understanding not only of where their food is from, but also of where it goes once they’ve finished eating.
“A children’s book that asks them to question if the pig they are eating has ever seen the light of day, make scary soup and keep a poo diary might sound controversial, but it’s vitally important that children think about their relationship with food and have fun while doing it. We all appreciate that children should know how to cook and eat well, but these are just two chapters in the story of our food. Unlike most children’s cookbooks that ignore the rest of the food cycle, Mission:Explore Food includes activities that encourage children to learn about growing, harvesting, waste and soil as well. An essential ingredient is appreciating that their/our choices effect people and places around the world too.” explains Daniel Raven-Ellison, one of the authors.
There are loads of recipes and activities to try in and outside the kitchen developed not by famous chefs and cooks, but guerrilla geographers who are on a mission to encourage children to explore their local area, forage for food and play outdoors. Humorously and provocatively illustrated by the award-winning artist Tom Morgan- Jones, each page includes a quirky mission to complete.

This is the fourth in a series of Mission:Explore books, published by Can of Worms Kids Press. Mission:Explore won the National Trust Outdoor Book of the Year award in 2012 and was runner-up for the Society of Authors Education Writer of the Year 2012. The series has also won accolades from Pink Stinks for its balanced portrayal of boys and girls from different backgrounds.

“The leading lights of guerrilla geography.” ~ Hay Literary Festival
“A must have book for any adult wanting to grow their own well-balanced child!”
~ Huw James, Science Junkie.
“Oh blimey this book is brilliant!” ~ Emma Freud
Probably the only book I will ever recommend to undergrads, buy for my kids & use as a plate.” ~ Professor Ian Cook, Food expert

Displays: Ice Man

One of my proudest moments was the visit to International School of Toulouse for Practical Pedagogies 2016, and seeing this excellent display.
It was located immediately outside the staff room, and featured student responses to my Ice Man book, published some years ago by Collins. Russel Tarr and Matt Podbury had led the work.
It featured a large version of Otzi buried in the ice, and copies of the task sheets and student work too, all around it... The actual task can be found here on GeographyPods.

UKEdChat Twitter Accounts to follow 2018

For many, using Twitter is a quotidian experience (or other social media sites...)

I started using Twitter around 10 years ago, and have found it the most useful way to connect with thousands of other educators, source resources and ideas, and keep up to date with global events.
My account is @GeoBlogs - if you visit you won't be able to see my tweets unless you follow me. My account is protected.
This does however mean that because I have personally approved all the 4300+ people that follow me, I know that they are real people or organisations, and it is therefore a true follower figure, unlike most other accounts which are open and can therefore be followed by bots and have inflated reach.
It also means that people have wanted to follow me, and they tend to stay following once they have started.
For the last 4 or 5 years I've featured on the UKEdChat list of Twitter accounts worth following, which has grown in size over the years.
Checked earlier and good to say that I'm also on the 2018 version which can be seen embedded below or here.

  Come over, follow me and let's start a conversation...

African Cup of Nations 2018

In previous years, I have used the African Cup of Nations as a context for learning about the continent, and exploring ideas about development indicators.
A search online will unearth a range of resources on these and other themes.
There is a large Geography of Sport area on the GA website with some archived resources.

New Hodder KS3 Geography series

Interested to read today of the launch of a new KS3 series of resources which are aimed at connecting up with the new GCSE specifications.
It's a good author team, who have produced a core textbook, three workbooks, assessment materials and digital resources too. Some of the materials will emerge in time as the course develops and people take it up. I worked with the Hodder team on the OCR GCSE textbooks that I co-wrote over the last few years, and it will be good to see how these have connected up with the new GCSE specifications, which is the big selling point of this ready-made scheme. Take a look at the link and you will see what is available. I've ordered an inspection copy to see what is on offer and will share some thoughts when that arrives. 

Place representation

Loving this idea...
Check the feed for more responses and suggestions of further pieces of music which give a certain (possibly false) impression of a place.

Set as a homework task.

Instructions from Perse Geography: 
Find a music video that exhibits a strong sense of place. Write a 100 word commentary on 
(a) what kind of a sense of place the video gives 
(b) whether this is a fair or unfair representation 
(c) can you find any statistics to prove or disprove this sense of place?

Earth Primer for Mac

A few years ago, I was intrigued by news of an excellent app called Earth Primer which ran on iPads and offered the chance to play with the earth's processes... a sort of geomorphological sandbox. To reach this stage involved 'playing' through a range of chapters which introduced the different elements of the earth's systems, starting with the interior, where you had the chance to play through a number of activities to unlock tools and scenarios.
Tjere were some excellent individual tools, such as shaping sand dunes, and seeing biomes adapt as you raised the temperature, or added a patch of ice.

The reason for posting was to say thanks to Chaim Gingold, creator of the app, for letting me have a preview copy of the app for an early look. It's just as good as the original iPad, but from today, Earth Primer is also available for Mac.  

The price is £14.99, and it is available for Family Sharing.

You'll have the whole world in your hands...

Nick Crane lecture at Latymer Upper School plus Strawberries

Thanks to Miles Golland for the tipoff to a free RGS-IBG lecture being given by Nicholas Crane based on his wonderful book on the development of the British Landscape.

Head to the Eventbrite page to get a ticket for the lecture, which is on the 16th of January.

There's another excellent sounding lecture at the University of Exeter next week too.
Free to RGS-IBG members.

Positive Geographies

I made this with CANVA.
It's an idea I have for this year, of trying to champion those geography stories which are more positive.
It seems that very often we cover negative stories in geography. There's a lot of doom and gloom, and even when we are teaching about something like sustainability, we talk about how it hasn't quite worked....

So I'm on the look out for some positive stories. We could explore stories of Kiva loans which have changed people's lives, or progress being made on the Sustainable Development Goals, or the great work being done by Gapminder and Dollar Street. These are some ideas to get us started on some Positive Geographies.

What positive geographies can you think of?

I'll share the outcomes over on my Quotidian Geographies blog, which is into its 2nd week now, and still in just double figures of daily visitors rather than the 7500-ish daily average readership of this blog.

Earthquakes, Penguins and Place

I am going to be doing a session for the Cambridge and District Branch of the Geographical Association this coming Wednesday at 5pm.
The title for the session is:
Earthquakes, Penguins and Place: constructing new resources for geographers
If you'd like to come along, then please contact me, and I'll send the details to Keith Hicks on your behalf. The session will take place at Homerton College, University of Cambridge
I'll be talking about three projects:
- British Red Cross Earthquake Resource (PDF download)
- Ice Flows Game for University of Exeter
- Inspirational Places, Changing Places (Innovative Geography Teaching Grant funded project) with Peter Knight of Keele University

Hope you can make it...

Swift BaseCamp

I've got a mixed relationship with caravans. I don't like them when they're delaying my journey, but have some fond memories of staying in them on family holidays as a boy, in Skegness.
I was reading the blog of the Meek family which is called Do try this at home. They were part of the team of OS GetOutside Champions for 2017. They are also fans of our Mission:Explore books.

They mentioned that they have used a Swift BaseCamp as their home, and I had a look and was really intrigued and excited by the possibilities. Great compact space with double bed, shower, cooking facilities and a nice big window at the end...

Swift's BaseCamp is a sort of hybrid caravan.
I'd really like to have a go at staying in one of these, and back in the day when I was single and had no children, this would definitely be a shortish term housing option too....

I quite fancy getting away for the weekend in one... although I'd have to get a decent car first as well...

Lost Urban Words

Michael Rosen started this hashtag over the Christmas period: an urban 'response' to the 'word hoard' which was created by Robert MacFarlane in his book 'Landmarks' and to put an urban spin on it.

This was one of the words that was mentioned in the feed: a narrow alleyway also sometimes called a snicket or a ginnel...
Check out the other responses while they remain on Twitter with the hashtag: #losturbanwords

Robert MacFarlane has made much of the lost words from nature, which were stripped from dictionaries a few years ago.
Tom Gauld created an interesting cartoon in response to Robert MacFarlane's original book, and it is called 'Some new nature words'. I won't add it here as it's not my copyright, but it's well worth taking a look at, by clicking the link.
Robert then developed the ideas with some art from Jackie Morris to produce one of the most attractive books of last year: 'The Lost Words'

For those who have bought the picture book, you may want to see a new companion resource.

John Muir Trust has produced a resource to accompany the book, written by Eva John, which provides ideas for using it with young people - an excellent free resource.
Don't forget that we at Mission:Explore also worked with JMT on a resource


Technology is miraculous, but – and – so too is the living world, including the everyday nature with which we share our everyday lives. And this aspect of the world’s wonder seems presently at the margins of many children’s experience, speech and stories.
Robert MacFarlane

Image: Alan Parkinson - Church Twitten, Lewes

Changing Places - a few new resource options

I've been taking a look at this rather good new resource today.
It's written by Alice Griffiths and Simon Ross, and provides a full set of resources and ideas for teaching the 'Changing Places' topic. It has been published by Cross Academe.
I'll be posting a more detailed review in a couple of weeks once I've had a good look through it, as there are hundreds of pages here, and the start of term is not going to be straightforward of course..

On the same day, I also got a copy of Alexandria Barber's excellent Revision resource for Changing Places. You can get your own copy from her TES RESOURCES page.

And for some emerging work that I'm doing with Peter Knight, check out the WIX site I'm putting together...

Dark Sky Tourism

Brendan Conway has produced several excellent StoryMaps and his most recent work is another work of art. This one focusses on the growth in Dark Sky tourism, which was featured on last week's Countryfile. Best viewed full page...
Image: Alan Parkinson, Rollright Stones

Practical Pedagogies 2018

One of the best events I've been to in recent years was the Practical Pedagogies event in 2016 in Toulouse. This year, the event is being run for the 3rd time, with a change in venue to Cologne.
I've put a proposal in for a workshop, and you have a few weeks to do the same via the website.

Check out the rather fine website here and hopefully see you in Germany later in the year.

GA Conference Programme 2018

The GA Conference Programme is now available to download from the GA website.

You can download them a day at a time, or the full programme as PDF files.

I've just printed off the main pages, and gone through them with a highlighter, and as usual there are so many sessions that I'd like to go to, with some clashes on most of them.
There are a few things which I'm involved in over the three days of the conference. My hotel is booked, and I'm looking forward to seeing my 'home' city fill with Geographers.
I'll be at the Public lecture, the Awards ceremony and the wine reception that follows on the Thursday, before heading for some local pubs.
I'll end Friday with the Teachmeet, organised by David Rogers doing the networking which is one of the highlights of the event, and of course speaking to the various exhibitors, many of whom I've worked with.
A few things that I'm looking forward to, or are involved in include:

Friday 6th April
The Presidential lecture from Nick Lapthorn on Geography - a subject for life.
A Workshop being I'm co-presenting with Anne le Brocq from Exeter University on the Ice Flows Game resources that I wrote in 2017 - this sadly clashes with a Secondary Phase workshop called 'The Final Countdown', which looks ahead to the first sitting of the new exam specifications.
Teacher to Teacher sessions and some Research papers.
A lunchtime Networking and celebratory reception where I hope to say hello to lots of people
Bob Digby on 'A' level Geography.
A lecture by Shailey Minocha of the Open University, who I worked with on some research on VR.
A lecture on Marks and Spencers' Plan A project.
A special lecture by Ben Hennig on his Worldmapper cartograms (which were 'born' in Sheffield)
A Workshop I'm co-presenting with Tanith Ludlam and other colleagues from the Secondary Phase Committee on "Making Key Stage 3 really count" (which sadly clashes with Tony Cassidy's session, and a useful sounding lecture on the Arctic)

Saturday 7th April
A session on eco-games
A workshop with Ben Hennig on constructing cartograms
A workshop I'll get involved with co-presenting along with Karl Donert, and possibly other partners from the GI-Learner project. 
A lecture plus session that I'm co-presenting with Peter Knight from Keele University

Hope to see lots of you there...

Image copyright: Geographical Association

GA Cambridge and District Branch lecture

Spent some time working on this presentation today.
It's going to be used in Cambridge next week.

Will share the final version in a few weeks...

Favourite Books of 2017

I read a lot of great books in 2017, and here are a few of the ones that I enjoyed the most...

'Outskirts' - John Grindrod
'Here we are' - Oliver Jeffers
'Oak, Ash and Thorn' - Peter Fiennes
'Ghosts of the Tsunami' - Richard Lloyd Parry
'The Island' - Barry Smith
'Lots' - Marc Martin
'The Explorer' - Katherine Rundell
'Thin Air'and 'Dark Matter' - Michelle Paver
'The Cure for Catastrophe' - Robert Muir Wood
'Reflections on Primary Geography' - Simon Catling
'Snow' - Marcus Sedgwick
'Trace' - Lauret Savoy
Uniform Annual 2017
'Empire of Things' - Frank Trentmann
'21st Century Yokel' - Tom Cox
'Off the Map' - Alastair Bonnett
'Nomadland' - Jessica Bruden
'Vertical' - Stephen Graham
'Land of Plenty' - Charles Pye Smith
'Icebreaker' - Horatio Clare
'Curiocity' - Henry Eliot and Matt Lloyd-Rose
'The Making of the British Landscape' - Nicholas Crane 

I have plenty piled up to read in 2018 too, starting with Jon McGregor's 'Reservoir 13'
After the last couple of years when I had lots of textbooks published that I'd co-written it was a fairly quiet year for writing. I had a chapter in 'Debates in Geography Education' - 2nd Edition edited by Mark Jones and David Lambert.
I also wrote a few articles for 'Primary Geography' one of which will appear in the next issue, and finished off the year with some work on answers for two revision guides for OCR GCSE Geography and a few other smaller pieces and resources, including my Ice Flows work, and Data Skills in Geography work for the RGS-IBG.
I've been working on some plans for 2018, and will be sharing it all here of course... 

For 400ish books for Geography teachers, check out my GeoLibrary blog of course...

3D survey of the country using LIDAR

Read on the train earlier in the week that the Environment Agency are going to be using LIDAR to survey the whole country.
They have already surveyed large areas, but this will be at the highest level of detail, and show features which are as small as one metre.
You can follow their GeoMatics team on Twitter here.

I would love to go up with one of these aerial survey planes, such as the two operated by the Ordnance Survey use, to spend the day seeing the country from above and capturing it in great detail and chatting to the people involved to follow the process through to the changes that might result on the final map.
When the two CESSNA planes are operating, you can follow their paths on FlightRadar using their call signs G-TASK and G-FIFA

The "lidar" - light detection and ranging - technology, measures the distance between an aeroplane and the ground to build up a picture of the terrain, and can be used to detect sudden landscape changes.
Currently about 75 per cent of the country is mapped but with only sporadic coverage of upland areas. The new project, beginning over winter, will cover all of England’s national parks, areas of outstanding natural beauty (AONBs) and sites of special scientific interest (SSSIs) such as the Peak District and the Yorkshire Dales.

Some of this data is already available for subscribers to ArcGIS Online.

Image: the first few stages in making a map face out of bits of old OS maps, or exam extracts. Make a simplified version of your face with an app to reduce it to the key lines, and trace that to create a number of smaller areas. Use tracing paper to mark through on the map, cut out and stick over the areas to produce a map collage effect.

Geographical Association's 125th Anniversary

As we ticked over into 2018, Alan Kinder reminded his followers that this year is the 125th anniversary of the Geographical Association.
There will be a number of events happening through the year to coincide with the 125th anniversary.  It was also mentioned as one of the 125 GeoTips that the GA's Secondary Phase Committee members are tweeting.
The GA Early Years and Primary Committee @EYPPC_GA have also joined in with their own 125 tweet project. Follow their account to see more of what they are up to this year.

And the GA are doing their own project too, sharing the stories of people who are involved with the GA, whether working at Solly Street or helping out in some other capacity (and there are hundreds of people who are the unsung heroes of the GA and work on branch events, working parties or other committees)

They are using the hashtag #125GA and also #WeAreGeography to share stories of people who are connected to the association. Get involved if you can.

Speaking of which, there's this gentleman here. This is an important man.
Sir Halford Mackinder , was one of the co-founders of the Geographical Association.

In addition to the tweeting that I'm doing on behalf of the SPC, there'll be an early opportunity for me to get involved with the celebrations next week. The Cambridge and District GA Branch is having their first event for 2018.

Wednesday 10 January 2018 5.00-6.00pm- Teacher CPD

‘Earthquakes, Penguins and Place: constructing new resources for geographers’ with Alan Parkinson

Faculty of Education, University of Cambridge

Alan Parkinson, currently the Head of Geography at King’s Ely Junior and previously freelance author, trainer and Secondary Curriculum Development Leader at the Geographical Association, will be sharing his work on a range of resources during this CPD session.

If you want to come along, you will need to let Keith Hicks know - let me know if you don't know Keith's e-mail and I'll let him know...

Hope to see some of you there...